More than three quarters (76%) of Brits admit they’ve been ghosted by an employer or prospective employer in the past 18 months, despite over half (59%) having been ghosted themselves, according to new research from people analytics company, Visier.


The study asked 1,000 UK employees who have been job hunting in the past 18 months about their experiences with ghosting, using Psychology Today’s definition of the term as ‘abruptly ending communication with someone without explanation’ in association with the workplace from recruitment through to to starting a new role.


The findings indicate that ghosting has become an accepted phenomenon in the workplace, with 37% of Brits admitting to ghosting an employer in the past 18 months, 30% ghosting a potential employer and 10% to both. This is despite more than a third of Brits stating that they’d be angrier if an employer or prospective employer ghosted them, than they would be if they were stood up by a date.


Hypocritical Britain 


We’re seeing Brits behaving badly, with employees perpetuating the poor behaviours they hate from their prospective employer counterparts. When it comes to these behaviours, job seekers’ willingness to ghost increases steadily with job level seniority, suggesting that the more senior the worker, the more comfortable they are with ghosting their current or prospective employer.


This is already evident in the workplace as employees in the highest levels reported that they had ghosted a current or prospective employer within the last 18 months: C-Suite (95%), mid-level management (84%), first-level management (67%), entry-level (48%).

Professional ‘Ghosters’ 


This research also serves as a stark reminder that ghosting is no new fad. It’s been around for some time and it’s a trend that is likely to pertain, especially as an increasingly buoyant labour market and skills shortages across almost every industry place more power into the hands of employees. In fact, some 61% of job seekers say they feel perfectly comfortable with ghosting an employer or prospective employer.


And, with more job opportunities available because of the hybrid working model (46%), a less personal recruitment process (45%) and the fact that ghosting is so common (37%), job seekers admit that the pandemic has made them more likely to partake in ghosting.


The challenge for employers is that the right position, right salary and a good company culture are not enough. The interview itself must be a top-notch experience to attract prospective candidates to a company. A negative first impression (25%) was cited as the number one reason job seekers have ghosted their employer or prospective employer, followed closely by the job role being inaccurate (24%) and a lower salary than expected (24%).


In spite of Brits’ willingness to engage in ghosting, an overwheming 68% admitted that they are concerned about the negative impact it may have on them and their career. It’s clear that a level of cognitive dissonance is at play here. Despite understanding the potential negative impacts of doing this, job seekers at all levels are willing to do it anyway.


“Purposely ignoring a prospective employer, or employee, is no new trend. However, the ghosting phenomenon in the recruitment process has garnered increased attention as a result of the new hybrid working landscape which has made this behaviour seemingly easier to engage with”, said Daniel Mason, VP EMEA of Visier. “As recruitment teams continue to rethink their hiring strategies in line with the ‘Great Resignation’ now is the time to also implement measures that can reduce the fallout of job seeker ghosting. Embedding people data into every stage of the recruitment and employee engagement process is one way that recruitment teams can interest potential candidates and retain them. For example, by using data to highlight at which stage a job seeker is most likely to leave the recruitment process, more emphasis can be placed on improving the overall experience based on what the data is telling us prospective employers expect”.