In today’s highly-competitive market, it’s a great time to be a job seeker. Business is booming in the data and analytics sector and there are countless opportunities for skilled and reliable candidates.

But a growing issue is leaving employers high and dry, and candidates risking their reputations – ghosting. Employers report more and more job seekers are pulling out of roles in the final days or even hours before they’re due to start. Worse still, some aren’t even turning up on their first day.

In this blog we explore the phenomenon and its impact, and discover the best way to maintain professionalism throughout the process.

An Increase in Ghosting

An Indeed survey of 500 job seekers and employers last year found more than one in four (28%) candidates had ghosted an employer. This was up from 18% in 2019.

The most common reasons for dropping out of recruitment processes were the candidate receiving a better job offer (20%), being dissatisfied with the salary offered (13%) and deciding the job wasn’t the right fit (15%).

Nearly half of the candidates (46%) let down their prospective employers by failing to show up for a scheduled interview. While 7% did not appear for the first day at what was meant to be their new job.

One reason this behaviour is on the rise may be the nature of the current market. In flourishing industries like tech and data and analytics, candidates can find themselves in high demand. You might be involved in recruitment processes for several jobs at once or even fielding multiple job offers, so going silent can seem like the easiest option.

Burning Bridges and Reputational Risk

There are clear impacts of ghosting on both employers and job seekers. For employers, it is very frustrating if a preferred candidate suddenly ends contact without explanation. It means employers might have to restart a whole recruitment process and, having invested time in the candidate who ghosted them, they may have missed out on their next choice.

It is also likely employers will be concerned, thinking something may have happened to the candidate or that they are experiencing a personal crisis. If there is no clear reason for ending communication, the employer will probably feel confused and unsure of the candidate’s intentions.

For the job seeker, it brings a serious risk of damaging your professional reputation with companies and recruiters. The data and analytics sector in Australia is a relatively small market and news about a negative experience with a candidate can travel fast. If someone has had a bad experience with a candidate, they often share it with others.

Dropping out of a role at the last minute risks damaging a person’s reputation in the industry and burning bridges with contacts you might want to rely on in the future. With social media, there is also little chance of being able to “hide”. A disgruntled company can track down a candidate and privately (or even publicly) express their disappointment at being left in the lurch. Ultimately, a candidate who ghosts may be the one who is haunted by the decision in the future.

The Benefits of a Professional Approach

As in every aspect of your professional life, communication is key. At every stage of a recruitment process, it is important to be upfront and honest with the recruiter or prospective employer. If you have concerns or specific requirements, raise them. It might be something that can be resolved or it might not, but the best option is to ask.

Hiring managers understand that candidates change their minds or their personal circumstances change at short notice. Talk to them – there might be a way to find a solution that works for you both. Even if not, there’s still a good way to say ‘no’ to an offer. The call or email saying you no longer want to be considered for the position might be temporarily awkward, but it’s the best for everyone in the long run.

Even if you are considering several offers at once, the professional move is to respond courteously to each employer with as much notice as possible. Waiting until the day before you are due to start to tell a company you’ve accepted another role is unprofessional and won’t help your reputation in the industry.

If a hiring manager has done something that has made you not want to work for them during the recruitment process, give them that feedback. If you’ve had a disappointing experience, the recruiter or company should be told so it can try to improve and future candidates will have a better experience.

With so many opportunities out there, ghosting might sometimes feel like the easiest option. But by acting in the right way, you can leave the situation on good terms and with your long-term professional reputation intact.


If you’re a candidate seeking your next challenge or an employer looking for support with data and analytics recruitment in Sydney, give us a call today. We will guide you through the entire recruitment process, including helping you manage and respond to multiple offers.