Indeed reveals job ghosting is rife: 86% of jobseekers no-show for interviews

According to recent findings from the global recruitment platform Indeed, 86% of UK jobseekers have unexpectedly failed to attend a job interview.

The study, which surveyed 1,500 businesses and 1,500 workers in the UK, revealed that ghosting, originally associated with the dating world, has permeated the recruitment process. Indeed's research indicates that 75% of employees have engaged in ghosting over the past year.

The trend is particularly pronounced among Gen Z (18-24-year-olds) and Millennials (25-44-year-olds), with over three-quarters (79%) admitting to ghosting potential employers. Gen Z, displaying a bold stance, leads in this behaviour, with 93% not showing up for interviews and 87% absent on their first workday, the highest figures among all demographics. Furthermore, 23% of Gen Z have no issue leaving a job without notice.

More than half of Gen Z (56%) intend to ghost again, a propensity that decreases with age. Gen Z cites negative company reviews (14%) and a desire for career autonomy (18%) as primary reasons for ghosting. In contrast, Millennials express regret over ghosting, with 32% feeling anxious and 64% concerned about its impact on future opportunities, often ghosting due to discomfort in directly rejecting a job offer (24%).

Ghosting is now widespread across age groups, with 43% considering it again. Thirty-one percent deem it acceptable to ghost before an interview, and 28% during interactions with the hiring team, often choosing to ignore messages (38%).

Jobseekers justify ghosting by highlighting reciprocal behaviour from businesses, with 20% noting unattended phone interviews and 23% reporting unfulfilled verbal offers. Fifty-five percent view employer ghosting as justification for their actions, a sentiment shared by over a third of companies.

Businesses recognise ghosting as a significant issue, with 89% acknowledging its prevalence and 55% stating it complicates hiring. Currently, with 934,000 job vacancies in the UK, ghosting exacerbates the challenges faced by hiring teams, contributing to increased stress (55%) and burnout (48%).

Salary plays a crucial role in ghosting decisions, influenced by the cost of living crisis (27%) and the pursuit of more exciting job prospects. Thirty-seven percent are more inclined to ghost for better financial opportunities, while workers suggest higher pay (35%), improved benefits (30%), and greater pay transparency (29%) as preventive measures against ghosting. Conversely, only 26% of employers believe higher salaries would reduce ghosting, and a mere 18% attribute candidate withdrawal to insufficient benefits.

Danny Stacy, UK Head of Talent Intelligence at the global matching and hiring platform Indeed, said: “It’s clear that ghosting has become an unwelcome phenomenon for employers, and is having an impact on the time, productivity and wellbeing of hiring teams. Reasons for ghosting may differ between generations, as we’ve seen in the differing perspectives on the practice between Millenials and Gen Z. However, the findings highlight clear ways businesses can do their part to prevent candidates of all kinds from abruptly leaving the hiring process. Workers point to being ghosted by employers as a reason to be able to do the same, so businesses have a clear directive to keep up communication on their end during the hiring process, even if it’s to let a candidate know they haven’t been successful for the role.

“It’s also clear that the financial offer is the biggest carrot for employers trying to attract talent, with pay, benefits and other factors that support the rise in cost-of-living likely to prevent a jobseeker from ghosting. Of course, not all businesses will be in the position to increase their offer, but being transparent about the financial package from the outset is likely to prevent jobseekers from ghosting further along the hiring process.”