March 12

You Could Be Ghosting Your Applicants and Not Even Know It


Agatha Kavanaugh, President of One Haus, explains why closing the loop with those you don’t hire is crucial to your hiring process.

If you think ghosting is only a trend among job seekers, think again. It’s not unheard of for employers to overlook the last – and crucial – step of the hiring process: closing the loop with applicants you don’t hire.

We get it, hiring requires a lot of steps. When you finally find your perfect candidate it can be easy to let everything else fall by the wayside. But leaving loose ends is confusing and discouraging to the applicants who didn’t make the cut. Agatha Kavanaugh, President of One Haus, gave us an insider look at why closing the loop is so important to your hiring process and how to make sure you’re providing professional and insightful feedback.

For every great process, there is a strong start and finish. When it comes to hiring, the rules are no different. Contrary to what some might believe, hiring doesn’t end when you make the hire. According to Kavanaugh, tying up loose ends with candidates only streamlines the hiring process and makes it more efficient.

“By communicating status/interest level at each touchpoint of the interview process, you save yourself and your hiring managers/recruiters the time of having to respond to ‘follow up on status’ emails.” If a candidate doesn’t hear from you after a week, they’ll likely follow up on their own. Having a process in place to inform candidates that a position was filled ensures that your response is well thought out and your company displays professionalism.

“[Closing the loop is] a good way to do business and helps support a positive image of your brand.” Kavanaugh expands, “It shows acknowledgement and appreciation of a candidate’s time. It’s respectful. If someone has invested their time responding to your job ad, researching your company, coming in for an interview, participating in a tasting or stage, you should have the respect to ‘close the loop.’” Word travels quickly in the restaurant industry, and company reputation can be a key factor in whether or not job seekers apply for your jobs.

Sure, sometimes the number of applicants you’d have to follow up with can be daunting. Fortunately, not every applicant requires the same amount of effort to feel appreciated for their time. Kavanaugh broke down the appropriate form of notification depending on how far the candidate got in the hiring process:

  • Applied to the job: “Auto-response letting candidates know their application has been received and someone will reach out within a certain time frame if there is interest in setting up an interview.”
  • Phone Screen: “Email rejection is appropriate and acceptable.”
  • Open-call Interviews: “Letting candidates know at the moment or letting them know that someone will reach out to them within a certain time frame to schedule next steps is advised.”
  • In-person interview: “Email rejection is acceptable, but a phone call is preferred. Offering to provide a reason for the decision (i.e. constructive feedback) is appropriate.”

For those who make it through to the interview process, it’s considerate to offer opportunity for them to ask questions or for feedback as to why they weren’t hired. “Candidates genuinely want to know why they didn’t get the job,” Kavanaugh explains. ”Was it something they said during the interview, a qualification that was not met by their experience, a bad reference, too high of a salary demand, a cultural misalignment (with an actual example of it)?” Constructive feedback not only is appreciated, but it gives a candidate something to grow from and makes your company more respectable.

“The interview process can be daunting on both ends; stressful to both hiring managers and job seekers,” Kavanaugh states. “By closing the loop you complete the process, leaving all sides clear. It’s good business to not leave any unfinished business.” Just like an extra dash of salt can make a world of difference to a dish, taking the extra step to show your candidates you appreciate their time by closing the loop can go a long way for both your business image and the people who want to work for you.

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About the author


Ashley McNally likes to cook, loves to bake, and is always dreaming of her next meal. With over 13 years of experience working in various roles within a restaurant — McNally has made a home in hospitality.


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