• Susan Nicolai

What Employers Miss When They Ghost Job Candidates

I don't know why they don't reply.

Do you know the next line in the story of the old woman who swallowed the fly? It is: Perhaps she’ll die.

I propose that employers who ignore those who “are not moving forward” in the job hunt process are on the path to demise. The ‘Great Resignation’ is causing a shift.

This article isn’t about beating up on employers who must cull through and assess sometimes hundreds of job applications to fill a single role. This article is about a radically different vision of what could be, a blueprint for an even better way of treating job applicants.

Is it

going to require more effort on the part of employers? Yep, it is.

Wait! Before you groan and moan about your overworked bones (I know, you have stretched your team already. But this is so worth it.) The investment in strategic thought and “extra” communication effort around job applicants equates to your long-term wild success. Here’s why:

Job applicants get a “Cultural Reality Check” during the resume submission and application process (and during every step of the interview and onboard process.) It matters.

If you think holistically about your applicants, it leads to a culture of treating employees as whole human beings. Consider that every applicant has a network, and likely a network of people who are connected to your industry.

  • They are the folks who read your blogs, posts, and books.

  • They are or rub elbows with experts who go to your seminars, workshops, and industry conferences.

  • They are or know people who influence decisions within companies about speakers, consultants, practices, products, services, solutions, and more.

  • They likely have friends who are great candidates for similar roles. They will either champion your employer brand or not.

  • If applicants aren’t right for a particular role at this red-hot moment, there will be future roles and evolving needs within your organization. This you know.

With referral and sign-on bonuses getting fatter as companies compete more fiercely for talent, it is time to have strategies in place that treat every applicant as a valued stakeholder. It takes more than a timely, kind, and gentle rejection letter or simplifying the application submission process.


  1. Structure a campaign to keep every applicant posted on the status of your hiring process. Make these emails fun and engaging. Include links to learn more about your company and join groups and causes that your company champions. Demonstrate your culture of caring.

  2. Make the conversation as personal as possible. The more you ask of an applicant the more you should return to them. Consider using video and including the hiring manager expressing appreciation. Be transparent and kind. Give meaningful feedback to encourage, uplift, and inspire the candidate to stay tuned.

  3. Think through each step of the hiring process and ask, “How can this be even more welcoming?” For example, when setting that first interview, can you use a video applet to have the candidates pronounce their names so that the interview team can address them correctly? Can you capture their preferred pronouns?

  4. What can you give back to the candidates who will not be moving forward? Can you offer them some “insiders” access to your culture? Maybe it is sneak peeks at upcoming products, books, or course content. Maybe it’s an invitation to a webinar or Livestream. Maybe it’s a coupon for products or free branded merchandise.

If we begin to consider that every interaction is an exchange of energy, we become aware that companies and their leaders ultimately win by giving.

The question is: do you recognize every interaction as an opportunity? Do you see recruiting as not solely about finding a fit for a role, but about earning your brand a fan and follower who can affect your future?

We have the technology to deliver engaging, perfectly timed, and personal communications. With a little digging, we can find some value that will resonate with anyone in our sphere. No matter how many job applications. No matter how busy we are. It’s a matter of creativity, planning, and yes, a caring resource to execute. Fight for it.

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