Ghosting job applicants has become a prevalent phenomenon within the hiring process. In fact, 75% of job seekers say they didn’t hear back from a job they had applied for.

During a time when unemployment is at a low point, which should be a good thing (see this post for a contrasting point of view), candidates are suffering from a nascent behavior that was once solely associated with online dating.

This ghosting behavior is now characteristic of employers worldwide, who manage applicant pools of sometimes thousands of people.

These people are represented by a line on an excel spreadsheet, a hyperlink on a dashboard, or a digitized resume. The point is, employers are so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of hungry job seekers, they disregard the human behind the hyperlink.

Most times, this is completely unintentional. We live in a world where we have 11 million bits of stimuli (it’s true!) coming our way at any given moment. How could recruiters and hiring managers possibly view all the resumes AND make time to get back to everyone on their status?

Our grandparents saw as many people in one month as we do in one day. Our innate biology struggles to keep up with this avalanche of data, which is a recent development as of the past 20 years, which is a conservative estimate of time.

This is a big reason why at least 30% of hires today are based on referrals. Referrals allow us to bypass a few steps of analysis, which is taxing for our brains, and speed up what could otherwise be a very lengthy hiring process. (Most already are.)

How do we address this problem?

For employers, reduce your barriers and sync up whatever systems you’re using to track your candidates. Ask your IT department to install a widget. Designate an HR Coordinator to send communications on the start date of each new hire to officially close the open req. In this technological age, there is a solution to this problem. You need to take responsibility for it.

For job seekers, accept the current state of things and keep up your search, no matter how discouraging it may be.

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