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Ghosting in the Job Search: Be Remembered for All the Wrong Reasons

Ghost Dog.jpg

The job market is haunted: candidates and jobs can disappear in the blink of an eye, or the flash of a cursor. Unfortunately, ghosting candidates and companies is increasingly common. It’s unprofessional, and at Animal Health Jobs we say it has no place in the animal health industry.

What is ghosting?

Ghosting occurs when one party abruptly ends communication with another party, after establishing a relationship, and entirely without explanation. They disappear, in a puff of electronic smoke, never to be heard from again.

We were dismayed when, in our Animal Health Jobs Autumn 2022 survey of hiring practices in the animal health industry, 30.4% of hiring managers reported that candidates had failed to show for appointments. Simply not appearing for an interview would have been unimaginable in our industry just a few years ago. We were shocked that nearly one in three hiring managers had experienced it.

While our survey did not ask the same question of job candidates, recent multi-industry data indicates that the rate at which companies ghost candidates has nearly doubled since before the pandemic.

Ghosting, whether by prospective employers or candidates demonstrates an unacceptable lack of professionalism that was rare in animal health in the past. What has changed?

Why do people or companies ghost?

Reasons for ghosting vary. Perhaps it’s a reflection of the impersonal nature of electronic communication and social media, where joining someone’s network requires only the click of a mouse, not actually forming a relationship. It’s easier to be rude to someone you’ve never met.

Candidates name 3 top reasons for ghosting:

  • A poor interview process
  • Receiving another job offer
  • Finding out that the job was different than what they expected.

A company’s reasons for ghosting a candidate include:

  • Budget freezes or slowdowns
  • Changes to the departmental structure or job outline
  • A key person in the recruitment process moves on.

All of these situations represent failures of communication: Failure of the company to explain or manage a successful hiring process, or failure of the candidate to communicate a change in their status.

Pitfalls of ghosting in animal health

In a small industry like animal health, ghosting can ruin a candidate’s or company’s reputation for years. As the industry consolidates, old colleagues reappear in new roles. The candidate you ghosted while hiring for your last company might be the hiring manager at the startup you now desperately want to join.  

“One of the fastest ways for a candidate to ruin their reputation in the animal health industry is by disappearing from the recruitment conversation without explanation. Hiring managers and recruiters have long memories.”
Jeff Santosuosso, Brakke Executive Search

Candidates aren’t the only ones who have to watch their reputations: In addition to the animal health industry grapevine, websites like Glassdoor and Salary.com encourage candidates to review and rate a company’s interview and hiring process. They have become regular sources of information for candidates when deciding where to apply. How a company treats its candidates reflects how it will treat its employees; the best talent won’t come near a company that doesn’t treat candidates with respect.

Be a ghostbuster

Ending ghosting in animal health is simple. Each of us, as members of the animal health industry, must stop this unprofessional behavior. We must communicate, whether candidate, hiring manager, or recruiter.

Granted, it’s not always easy to tell someone you’ve found a better offer, or that they don’t fit the role for which they interviewed. But this is business, not kindergarten. Don’t hide in a corner. Don’t be a ghost.


Tired of candidates or managers who disappear? Animal Health Jobs can help you find candidates and companies who communicate. We know the animal health business and the hidden talents. Register your company or submit your resume and join the top animal health and animal nutrition companies and candidates at the premier jobs marketplace in animal health.

Ghosting in the Job Search: Be Remembered for All the Wrong Reasons
Amanda McDavid