job seekers are ghosting us on interviews and job offers

A reader writes:

I recently made a slight career change. I went from working at a nonprofit to working for a vendor I often outsourced work to, so the people I manage now do almost the same thing as the people I managed previously. Part of my job is hiring, but I’m having a much harder time hiring now than I did at the nonprofit. The pay and benefits are better— we start people at more than the max rate at the nonprofit, hours are more consistent, and we offer good PTO, matching 401k, and insurance. I’ve sent out over 30 offers to interview. Nine agreed to interviews. Three didn’t show up, two failed background checks, two didn’t want to travel even though it is in the job description that 50-75% of this job is travel, and we’ve made offers to the other two but neither has responded to accept or reject. I’ve never had so many people just not respond or not show up. Is this the new normal? Was this always normal and I just never experienced it? I’m at a loss and feeling really discouraged.

To some extent it’s the new normal, yes.. In a lot of fields (not all, but a lot), it’s very much a job seeker’s market, and so candidates aren’t jumping at interviews or offers with the same interest that they did previously. Employers are seeing a lot more ghosting: people not showing up for interviews and even not showing up for jobs. It’s a reflection of the increase in options that (some) job seekers have.

If you’re thinking that it’s awfully rude of them to just ghost rather than contacting the employer to bow out … well, employers have been doing this to candidates for years — not calling for scheduled interviews and never getting back to people who interviewed with them.

Now that the balance of power has shifted, however temporarily (and maybe it’s not that temporary, who knows), the tables have turned and the ghosting is starting to go in the other direction too.

It’s rude when employers do it, and it’s rude when candidates do it. But in a lot of ways, employers set up these ground rules themselves when they treated candidates so cavalierly when the market made it easy for them to do that.

Of course, not every employer operates that way! Many managers, including me, have always been diligent about getting back to every candidate who applies for a job. But employers ghosting people has become so very much the norm that it’s no surprise that workers have decided to play by the same rules.

All that said, I suspect there’s a nonprofit/for-profit difference at play in your situation too. When you’re hiring for nonprofits, a much higher percentage of candidates will be specifically excited to work for your organization in particular, and because of that they’re inherently less likely to ghost. So you’re probably seeing that difference at work too.

{ 441 comments… read them below }

  1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    By “didn’t show up”, does OP mean in-person interviews? I’m sure there are plenty of people who get second thoughts about having to go into an office with strangers. Rude of them not to call and cancel, of course…

    1. Brett*

      I’m pretty sure they are referring to virtual interviews. I’ve seen the ghosting and no-show rate for virtual interviews hit well over 50%, probably closing in on 75%. It is actually a worse rate than for in-person. I think a significant chunk of it has to do with technology problems with candidates having to juggle between many different virtual meeting platforms.

      1. OhNo*

        Especially if they are virtual interviews, I’m not surprised that there is more ghosting now. A lot of people view virtual stuff as “less real” than in-person stuff, so I can see it being easier for them to blow it off without expecting any consequences. Then you add in technical problems, and it being less mission-driven as a for-profit, and it being a job seeker’s market… Honestly, I’m amazed anyone is managing to hire new folks at all, sometimes.

        Anyway, Brett’s point just leads to me thinking, OP, that it’s important to keep a list of those that have ghosted you in the past. That way, if their name comes around again, you can at least ask for an explanation.

      2. Jenny*

        I’ve sometimes had issues with video links or technology not working, but I’ve always emailed the person and figured something out, or re-scheduled it. Never just ghosted . . .

      3. TootsNYC*

        I think people find it easier to forget virtual appointments. You don’t have to plan to leave, and then you get wrapped up in something. You might not take the planning/alarm process as seriously.
        So you’ve accidentally missed it. And then you figure you blew it, so you don’t get back in touch.

      4. Anallamadingdong*

        In my experience (which may differ from others of course) we are having more no shows for in person interviews than we had for phone interviews. It was still a lot when we just did phone interviews, but when we switched back to in office, it was like our success rate fell off a cliff. It has become quite stressful. We have raises our pay 3 times in the last year, instituted a referral and sign on bonus. Suspended disciplinary actions for all but the most egregious issues. Its feeling quite hopeless.

      5. TrainerGirl*

        I had a 2nd interview scheduled today, and when I went to set up, realized that the meeting invite was missing from my calendar. One panicked call to the recruiter later, I discovered that the hiring manager decided to hire someone else, but no one bothered to let me know that the interview wasn’t going to happen. I had prepared updated material for my portfolio and had done quite a bit of prep work. I’m just glad that I’ll have a great portfolio for my next interview.

      1. Wendy Darling*

        I accidentally ghosted on a video interview because they require less prep than an in-person interview so I just straight up forgot it was supposed to happen that day. It was during an unexpectedly *extremely* stressful and chaotic week and something came up at work that I needed to fix and I left my phone downstairs so I didn’t see the reminder notification… it just fell through the cracks.

        It’s a lot easier for that to happen with a virtual meeting where all I have to do is maybe fix my hair and put on lipstick for a video call, versus an in-person interview where I have to look up how to get there, figure out transit or parking, plan an outfit, and put stuff in whatever bag I’m gonna carry.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I was late for a phone interview last week because the call would not go through. I thought it was me and was just about to email when it connected. The interviewers said “Yep, we know, it’s a thing, you’re not alone,” so apparently this particular conference platform has issues. Then we had problems hearing each other.

          Technology is great, except when it isn’t!

  2. Anon for now*

    I want to work in the LW industry! However, I also think that job seekers always cast large nets, and with the tables turned, what employers might feel is a competitive salary, benefits, etc, may not be any longer. I do think if the LW is having this many issues hiring that there needs to be some re-evaluation of the compensation and benefits package, particularly if the travel element can’t be reduced (as that much travel is likely much more of a deal breaker for candidates now than it was pre-COVID).

    1. Nicotena*

      I thought this too! A job with lots of in-person travel is a much different consideration now than it was a few years ago.

      1. Malarkey01*

        In the Before times my job averaged 50% travel in a year, with a few months being 100%, and I didn’t mind. Nice hotels and restaurants and a really exciting dynamic working environment and collaboration made up for missing family and the burnout that comes with long trips. After 18 months of no travel I realize that the “wear and tear” on my body/mental/emotional toll and missing family was a lot greater than I realized. Plus, work I though HAD to be done in person apparently didn’t and we found ways to still have dynamic collaborative environments without travel. So if the job changed back or I took a new job my compensation requirements would be a lot higher than they were in 2019 for the same work. I’m lucky that my company said forget the old way- a few occasional trips starting in 2022 is the max we’re doing in the future (and saving tons).

        1. DG*

          Same here – I am eating better, sleeping better, and exercising more than I ever was when I travelled nearly every week.

          However, in my case, stripping away the fun “perks” of the job (fancy dinners, trips to fun places, never paying out of pocket for a hotel or plane ticket) also made me realize I’m not all that passionate about the work I do. I’m sticking around a few months for a promised promotion and hoping to use that as leverage to get a great offer elsewhere.

    2. MK*

      Also, is the salary competitive compared to the market or simply compared to the non-profit the OP used to work for? As far as I can tell by reading this blog, people might take low salaries as part of the deal in non-profit work.

      1. bamcheeks*

        It’s also possible that the lower salary filtered out a lot of the, “Do I fancy this? Hm, maybe” people at an earlier stage. Where there’s a higher salary, people who are 50/50 about the actual work will stick in an application because what the hell, but then do their serious thinking when it comes to a more serious time commitment, whether that’s attending an interview or actually taking the job.

        1. PT*

          I had a boss who was teaching me how to set pay scales for positions within our department, and she was explaining to me that certain roles deserved more pay because they were harder and more labor intensive. (These were pay codes for part-time jobs; you could have a part-time employee who had multiple codes. I had done most of them by this point, so I had a solid frame of reference.) But if you offered too much extra pay over the easier roles, you’d end up with people taking the higher paying jobs solely because they paid more and not because they had any intention of doing the job satisfactorily, and you’d end up with high turnover because you’d be constantly firing employees who weren’t working out.

          1. Koalafied*

            It seems like doing more diligence in hiring would be a better approach to weeding out unqualified people chasing a high salary. I’m sure there’s quite a lot of overlap between “highly talented/skilled workers who will not accept less than $X” and “unmotivated workers who will apply if the salary is $X+ even if they won’t do the job well.” If the company can’t afford it or thinks they can attract talent at a lower level, that’s one thing, but the logic of trying not to make the job overly appealing to try to get unqualified applicants to weed themselves out seems a bit backwards. In my experience, it’s jobs that pay low for what they are that attract more unqualified applicants, because the highly qualified ones get their pick of the choice opportunities and the unqualified ones have to resort to the salary with the lowball offer because they get rejected from the more competitive higher-paying positions.

          2. Bluesboy*

            I live in a place where firing someone is almost impossible, and I remember a boss telling me why we paid a specific role such a low salary.

            It was entry level and gave people a real chance to get some experience before moving onto better things (there was no opportunity for progression in our company).

            He said that they had experimented with higher pay in the past, and it hadn’t worked – because the second step, at many companies, paid less well than we had. So people didn’t take the second step, they stayed with us on the first step. Then they started to become disillusioned, because they had learnt everything they could and had no chance of progression. Morale dropped, as did productivity, but still nobody moved on and we couldn’t let them go.

            So now they try to set a pay rate that will attract good people, but still give them the possibility to earn more somewhere else when they are ready to move on.

            Unless it was just an excuse for crap pay…

              1. MissBaudelaire*

                Yeah, I don’t understand why there was no room for progression? Isn’t that the natural order of things?

                1. Jack Straw*

                  Not if you’re at a small org. My last job there were 8 people who reported to the director and/or CEO. There was zero advancement because there was no where else to go.

                2. Bluesboy*

                  It was a technical role, think of a company with 50 branches and each has 1 IT guy. You have 50 IT guys and only one head of IT. What’s the progression for the IT guys without changing company?

      2. A Simple Narwhal*

        This, definitely. The new pay and benefits might seem awesome for the LW when compared to what they came from, but it could be standard or even subpar for everyone else. There’s no guarantee this is the case, but the problems they’re running into line up with issues that often come with low/under-paying jobs.

      3. OP*

        Our package is better overall then our direct competitors. I was offered my same position at a competitor and they were offering half of what my current company offered me.

        1. Anon for now*

          What kind of jobs are you recruiting for? Are these jobs that require extensive industry experience and associated credentials/qualifications? Or are these positions more geared for more early career applicants? If it’s the later, then I wonder what other kinds of jobs those applicants are applying for, and if it’s a former I wonder if perhaps your current employer has a reputation issue?

          1. OP*

            We are looking for people early in their careers or even right out of college. The first 1-2 weeks are just training so some experience is nice, but not required. We have a pretty good reputation, or at least I always thought so when I was a client.

            1. Name Goes Here*

              One possibility is that if you’re recruiting heavily among people right out of (or even about to graduate) college, they may not understand the professional norms around some of this stuff. E.g. I could see a recent grad who doesn’t realize what 50-75% travel actually means, or a recent grad who ghosts an interview invite w/o realizing that it’s kind of gauche.

              If you were writing from a career counseling center, I’d say that you should explicitly tell grads to respond to things, etc; but since you’re on the hiring side, I’m not sure there’s much you can do here except build in some leeway for higher-than-usual non-responses.

              1. Stevie*

                This is very likely. I know I would have applied to places with 50-75% travel stated in their job descriptions right out of college and thought that sort of ballpark range was an exaggeration/boilerplate language.

              2. Janey-Jane*

                Ding-ding! This is it! Particularly now, students norms are even more out of wack from the last 18 month. And they weren’t super established yet. Being super clear is key – and talk to the career center.

            2. Anon for now*

              Sadly, I think that means you likely have more competition than just your industry for these candidates. If they are early career then it’s very likely that they are casting a very large net across multiple industries. So it’s very possible you are not just competing against jobs in your own industry, but you are also competing against jobs in other industries that may offer better work/life balance, salary and/or benefits.

              I think any job with the level of travel you seeking is a hard sell. I think it’s a much harder sell now than it was 2 years ago.

              1. Splendid Colors*

                I agree that jobs with travel would be an incredibly hard sell right now, just like in-person retail jobs, at least for anyone with any degree of concern about the pandemic.

                Which probably explains why only one of the front desk staff/security at my building takes their mask-wearing seriously. Mask under the nose, gaiter under the nose, open drink on desk at all times so they can say “Well, I can’t leave the desk to have my soda and I can’t drink with a mask on, can I?”

            3. em_eye*

              I know I’m late to this (thanks, Facebook outage!) but have you ever tried recruiting former political campaign field organizers? They would jump at the chance to have a stable job with good pay and benefits doing with that aligns with their values, wouldn’t balk at the travel, and bring a good six months of varied experience while still generally qualifying as “entry-level”. This may be something you’ve already tried or that wouldn’t make sense for other reasons but it seems worth a shot.

        2. JB*

          Talent-wise, you may not be competing just with the companies you consider to be direct competitors; especially if the skills for this position are in demand in a lot of industries. Your candidates may be finding more attractive opportunities.

        3. Starbuck*

          Do your direct competitors have the same travel schedule though? Because that would make a huge difference if it’s less. Your pay might need to be even higher than you think, to make up for it.

          1. OP*

            Yes, if you work in this industry you are doing the exact type of travel. (We all have offices in the same cities and travel in between them on pretty much the same schedules.)

            1. Starbuck*

              Noted! Then I wonder if competitors are having the same hiring issues as you? The other thing to think about (as others have already pointed out) is how this job compares not just to others in your industry, but other entry-level-ish jobs that pay similarly.

        4. Emily S*

          OP — I’m in the medical field and this is happening to us to for the past year 6-12 months. Being ghosted for interviews, people not responding. Five people scheduled to interview, but one shows up. We’ve even hired people who didn’t show up in the first day or didn’t return for the second. Nurses and front office positions. It’s unreal.

      4. Still breathing*

        Exactly. My adult child left a non-profit to work for the government in a very similar professional role and tripled their salary. Had they gone private they could be making six times the government rate with bonuses and stock options ( and have friends who are making that.)

    3. Littorally*

      Right, yeah.

      It’s also worth digging into, I think — obviously, OP knows how the exact conversations with the candidates who didn’t want to travel went down, but I think there’s a possibility that it’s more like the candidates don’t want to take on travel for what this employer is offering. There’s a lot of middle ground between total willingness and total unwillingness to take a job where you’re on the road two or three weeks out of every month. That’s a lot! A good compensation package and an enticing role go a long way toward making that much travel time look palatable.

      1. bamcheeks*

        And the generosity of the travel arrangements themselves. I had a job where I was travelling 3-5 days a week for six months of the year, and our manager was a former salesman himself, and was absolutely adamant that when you’re running a team like that, good hotels, fast and convenient trains, taxis, generous car allowances etc were the bare minimum that made it bearable, not pointless extravagance. Absolutely no booking us into budget hotels or making us get trains with 3 hour changeovers or avoiding peak travel allowed. He was a terrible boss and human being in many, many ways, but I appreciated that one!

        1. Nicotena*

          Yes, in the job I had with travel the nonprofit had rules you had to let their travel service book the cheapest available flights. Not flying direct makes travel 800% more miserable in my experience. I would never take another travel job without confirming they would let me pick the flights I was going to take and wouldn’t be nickel-and-diming me over it. It was insane to have me miss the entire meeting I was traveling to in order for the company to save $50.

          1. Ali G*

            OMG yes. My husband is a consultant and works a lot for the Federal Government. He is forever explaining to them that it in in fact NOT more cost effective for him to take the cheaper flights and sit in an airport for 3 extra hours, because then he has to charge them for 1.5 hours of his time (he bills at 50% for travel). Every. Dang. Time.

          2. Koalafied*

            My employer’s policy is that we should book direct flights whenever possible and not ludicrously more expensive than one with a connection, because indirect flights have a substantially larger carbon footprint and we track our total organizational footprint for some sort of green certification program. I recently came up in a conversation with a friend (who doesn’t work at the same place) who told me that ever since I told her about this policy, she now uses this rationale to mentally justify every time she splurges on a direct flight for personal travel – she’s doing it for the Earth, certainly not just her own personal convenience and comfort! =D

        2. Anonymoose*

          I recently had to travel for work and asked them to pay extra to avoid Texas during Covid. It was an unusual request, yet I had to stop there on my return and had many problems (had to go through TSA again which had a very long lineup and I nearly missed my flight) so I don’t regret my request.

          1. raintree*

            Avoiding Texas transportation systems and their accompanying law enforcement is always a good idea (looking at you, highway patrol)

            Now more than ever

          2. Chaordic One*

            I’m aware of people who made similar requests that involved having to fly to Denver, which is hub that many flights have to go through. At bad old job, we had a former employee who was unable to make a single connecting flight in more than 2 years. She didn’t always missing her connecting flight, though. Often the connecting flights ended up being canceled for weather and reasons.

        3. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

          In the Before Times, whenever my boss had to travel, he had to fly economy and stay at 3-star hotels regardless of destination. He would always return with a sore neck…

        4. Sarah*

          I’m in the travel industry, and this was going to be my suggestion. What is your travel policy?

          Non-stop flights on preferred carriers so they can earn status. Single rooms at business class hotels convenient to meeting or airport. Quality meal budget. Ability to take Uber, taxi vs. public transportation. Incidentals like dry cleaning within reason.

      2. Jenn.*

        I also think that the specifics of what 50-75% travel means makes a huge difference. If I’m two or three solid weeks away per month then two weeks at home, that’s a different calculus than 3 days away from home every single week. Is it drivable travel or within a couple hundred miles of my home base, or am I flying all around the country every week? The type and length and frequency of travel matters A LOT for jobs with travel involved.

        1. Nicotena*

          Ugh and is it always Sunday night flights out? Midweek travel is totally different than when it’s cutting into my weekend. I’m getting flashbacks from these comments!!

        2. WomEngineer*

          It’s worth clarifying if/how travel has changed during COVID. I think it’s understandable if a candidate assumes there less travel than what’s listed.

          1. CB212*

            Yeah, I could see reading that travel expectation in the description and thinking “well but surely not NOW, not in 2021!”

        3. OP*

          Roughly the schedule is leave Monday morning, home Tuesday evening, leave Wednesday morning, home Thursday evening, Friday in local office. For this position, it is all drivable distances.

              1. CBB*

                How far are they driving per day?

                Does the driving take place during normal business hours? If not, do they get paid for the hours they spend in the car?

                Are they travelling alone or with coworkers?

                I know you mentioned this type of travel was industry standard, but considering these are entry-level applicants, is it possible they are having second thoughts about the whole industry after leaning what what this type of job entails?

                1. OP*

                  We are in DC and Monday-Tuesday they drive to southern VA or sometimes NC and back. Wednesday- Thursday they drive to NJ and back. Always with another person and all driving time is during normal business hours and paid for.

                2. CBB*

                  That could be 4+ hours of driving every day, depending on traffic and weather.

                  Everyday: 4 hours driving, followed by 4 hours working, then back to an empty hotel room (or whatever DC apartment you can afford on $22/hr). Repeat the next day.

                  I know everyone is piling on about this, OP, but the job posting should make it clear that this is the job, keeping in mind that entry-level applicants may not realize it’s industry standard.

                  Simply stating “50-75%” really doesn’t capture it.

                3. Aglaia761*

                  I live in the DC area and that commute is absolutely hellish. It’s the worsts parts of 95 north and south.

                  Back in the office at 4pm in DC is the middle of friggin rush hour both coming and going. Especially if they have to go to the office to get the company car or drop it off

                  You’re going to need to re-think that travel schedule. 4 out of 5 days on the road is basically 100% travel…and then we’re in a pandemic….

                4. Zillah*

                  Ooof – that’s a lot. I don’t want to pile on, but I do think that the reaction you’re getting is probably a useful indicator of why people might not love this.

                  That kind of travel would really worry me now in particular. Having to travel but being in one place would be one thing, but that’s just so much exposure via rest stops etc where you really have no control over your interactions and requires a lot of trust of the person you’re in the car with… but also, that kind of travel and spending that much time in a car with another person sounds pretty hellish to me even at the best of times, particularly if it’s not even someone I know well. I get that trading off driving is essential for that much travel, but also, yikes.

                  I don’t know whether you’re likely to get a whole lot of takers on this who aren’t really desperate for a job, but are you at least able to offer alternatives to driving? I’m still not sure that’d be the job for me, but in normal times where I wasn’t worried about exposure to covid, I’d personally be able to stomach a few hours on a train much better than a few hours driving. (I know that YMMV and many people would prefer driving, but maybe giving more options would end up giving you a few more takers.)

          1. LizB*

            That schedule sounds absolutely hellish to me, honestly. At what point does it get laid out like that for candidates? If that could be in the job description, I’m guessing you’d have fewer people applying overall, but a greater proportion of applicants would be serious about the position.

            1. OP*

              It doesn’t say that exact schedule but does include 2-3 nights away. We also go through the exact schedule in the interview. The goal is to have people only do one overnight a week, but we need to hire 2 more people for that to be possible.

              1. desdemona*

                2-3 nights away reads to me like “leave Monday, come back Weds or Thursday”. Not “travel 2-3 different places, staying 1 night in each”. The former is totally doable. The latter sounds like my personal idea of hell. I don’t mind being in different places/away from home, but I hate the act of GETTING there.
                Maybe clarifying the travel schedule more specifically in the ad will help? You’ll filter out people like me.

              2. LizB*

                2-3 nights away per week in two different places is a significant difference, in my mind, from 2-3 nights away per week in one place/trip. Not only is the COVID risk math different, but four out of five workdays per week being travel days sounds incredibly rough. This sounds like a position that you’ll need to offer a truly excellent salary and perks for to get anyone interested, especially in These Times.

                1. Koalafied*

                  Yeah, the thought of getting home one evening just to sleep and then turn around and leave again in the morning is something I could see doing very occasionally, but every single week? Oi. I’m obviously not the target audience for this kind of role, but I think the only way I’d be willing to make a long drive every day Monday-Thursday, every single week, is if I would get half-day Fridays every single week. It would physically take my body the better part of a full day to recover from 4 straight days of travel, and if I had to push through a full workday, that recovery basically just gets postponed such that my Saturdays are essentially gone because I’d never have the energy to do anything with them.

                  Then again, that’s why I’ve never considered working in a travel-heavy field. I could see older workers having a “didn’t know what they were missing”/”I put in my time as a traveling basket-weaver and I’m done now” reaction after staying at home during covid, but it’s fascinating to consider the likely possibility that even recent grads are coming into their first job hunts with such different expectations than previous cohorts.

              3. Quoth the Raven*

                To add on to what desdemona and LizB said above, what time does “home x day evening” mean? Because it’s a completely different to arrive at 6:00 than at 11:00.

                1. TechWorker*

                  Yea. If I ‘lose’ 2 weekday evenings that’s a lot different to losing all 4 and basically never getting any downtime during the week.

                2. OP*

                  We try to make sure they are at their home office no later then 4pm, so that they can go home by 4:30/5pm

                3. Zillah*

                  @ OP – Wait, so they have to come back to the office for half an hour after all that driving??? That also seems like a really big imposition!

              4. Loredena Frisealach*

                I don’t know your industry – but if you’re based in DC, hiring recent college graduates who are willing to travel heavily – you have a pay problem. My niece just graduated and took a consulting job based in DC and she’s being paid considerably more than you are paying with less travel. You aren’t just competing within your industry, you are competing with everyone based in that region hiring new grads, and you’re in the middle of that pay wise.

            2. Anon for now*

              It sounds terrible to me. But, my 20 something pre-COVID self might not have minded it for a year or two. However, if I had plenty of other options I would have gone for one of those. Especially, if I wasn’t receiving any comp time for being away from home overnight.

              1. HoundMom*

                Exactly this. When I was 22 and had limited responsibility (as in no husband, pets, kids), this would have seen really exciting, especially if the locations were places with decent restaurants and safe walking.

                It sounds like the OP is doing all she can to make this a good experience. It may just be that people are hesitant to stay in hotels and go on-site. I feel like we need to retrain our brain on what is “safe” now.

          2. e271828*

            I feel tired just reading that. Away four days. All that driving and the overnights chopping up the week. When I was at the career stage your candidates are, I was taking night classes for advanced qualifications and it would have been impossible with a schedule like that.

        4. OP*

          The travel schedule is roughly leave Monday morning, home Tuesday night, leave Wednesday morning, home Thursday night, Friday in the local office. All travel is drivable distances.

          1. A Non E. Mouse*

            That does not read 50 to 75% travel to me. That’s 75 to 90% travel (in that I’m in the office one day a week, so at most 20% of the month).

            Is it that the job description does not match reality?

            (And no, you don’t get to count Saturday and Sunday as “at home” days, those are already mine).

            1. Malarkey01*

              It’s funny because I’d read that as basically 100% travel. (This could just be my experience), when I read 50%-75% travel I think 2-3 work weeks travel, 1 week home.

              This job is basically constant weekly travel.

          2. snack queen*

            Wow that schedule sounds really rough. With that much travel (and you have to DRIVE which is its own kind of exhausting) to different locations constantly, would it be possible to just have a 4 day work week (or WFH at least) on the Friday? Are they working 8 hours each day including the drive or 8 + the travel time? (meaning they are really working like 50-60 hours a week?) Are these locations any kind of fun or is it boring office parks with hotels by the highway?

            All of these factors mean you might need to start offering a higher salary or other benefits to make it worth it.

            1. Koalafied*

              In one of my previous roles I often represented the company at trade shows/conference expo halls. Those cluster up into two main parts of the year, so most of the year I didn’t travel at all, but there were 3-4 weeks every spring and 3-4 weeks every fall during which I would typically leave on Tuesday or Wednesday and get home on Sunday or Monday. I earned 1/2 day of comp time for every overnight and weekend travel day, and 1 full day of comp time for every weekend working day, and I was encouraged to use one of the half-days I had earned for the first morning after I’d gotten back in town, so that I could sleep in or have a chance to unpack instead of just going straight to bed and then straight to work in the morning. That wasn’t a requirement but my boss wanted me to know that it wasn’t going to be a problem for me to take a half-day every week when I was already missing so much time in the office, and I don’t think there was a single trip in 3 years where I didn’t do exactly that.

              Similarly, my current employer very occasionally (like 1-3 times a year in the Before Times) holds evening/night events and anyone who works an evening event gets to come in late the next morning, whether they volunteered to work the event or their role required it. There’s generally just seemed to be a recognition in both cases that getting home at night and having to be at work first thing in the morning is super unpleasant and should be avoided if possible.

              1. Elizabeth West*

                The one time I worked for a non-profit with conferences, we were required to work the big one, which was three days, and got a whole WEEK off after that. With pay! We also had a three-hour drive, one way. And we had to share hotel rooms, which I absolutely will never do again even though I shared with my high school best friend, who also worked there.

                I don’t mind going to work in the morning if I get home early enough. If I roll in any later than six or seven? Nah. I’ll see you at noon.

          3. Amtelope*

            I wouldn’t describe that as “50 to 75% travel.” Four days a week are travel days. If you describe this as “80% travel: two overnight trips per week to different locations, one day a week in local office,” you’ll probably get fewer applicants bailing once they hear the actual schedule.

          4. Perfectly Cromulent Name*

            I literally said out loud “OMG no! when I read that. I used to be in a travel heavy job and did not mind it at the time, but it was direct flight, week or so on site in a a decent hotel, direct flight home. This was all pre-Covid. The calculous of all even that job would be very different in this pandemic time, but if you ran that itinerary past me in an interview, I’d probably thank you for your time and end it right there. Drivable distances does not make a difference to me. Changing hotels that much, coming home for a day? No. That’s a very disruptive travel schedule. I would not be doing that- not unless you are paying HELLA money, and probably not even then in Covid times.

            1. Aggretsuko*

              Yeah, this just sounds like TOO MUCH TRAVEL to appeal to everyone. Especially these days. I would nope on out.

              Is there any way to change the job so it’s not THAT bad on travel? Driving to a different overnight location every single day? Per week?

            2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

              I’m really wondering how it can be feasible to spend that much time travelling, seems like there’s not even very much time for actual work! What kind of work has to be done that can’t be handled in a zoom meeting?

          5. Nikki*

            Oof, yeah, it’s definitely that travel schedule.

            Even before COVID and as a 20-something, I would have turned down this job. IMO you need to be offering an excellent salary and perks to attract candidates who are willing to travel every other day, especially during COVID.

          6. Librarian1*

            So, that travel schedule is a lot and it’s not something I’d be interested, but the candidates are ghosting before the interviews, so if the exact schedule isn’t mentioned in the job listing, that’s probably not the reason.

              1. Zillah*

                Yeah, if somebody’s googling the company before the interview (which would make sense), they could be finding the information there.

        5. JB*

          Yes, this.

          When I was looking for travel jobs, I’d always ask that question, and I’m pretty sure I lost some jobs/dodged some bullets because interviewers were totally unprepared to further explain travel details.

          They were clearly looking for people who didn’t care one way or another.

      3. Smithy*

        Without knowing more about this job – to be having this much difficulty, if the travel needs are being projected as happening now or soon, I’d bet that’s where a lot of difficulty in the hiring is.

        You’re may be ruling out a lot of parents who previously were more able/willing to do this kind of work. So your candidate pool is likely already more shallow. On top of that, I wouldn’t be surprised if you may also being used by some candidates to get offers who only have the intention of using that offer to get a counter offer from their current employer. Nonprofits are not often well known for giving significant outside of promotions or other even more rare occurrences. Having another offer/giving notice is a rare way to see if there’s any way to get a raise outside of those more official channels. And when you’re getting hit up by all these recruiters for jobs…..

      4. Dezzi*

        YUP! Looking through the comments, the “awesome salary” OP is offering…isn’t actually a living wage for that area. Guess why they can’t find anyone willing to take it? New college grads are making choices about where they want to work and live, they have a ton of options, and they’re going to pick one that lets them afford both rent and food. They’re having more trouble now than they were at the nonprofit because people going into the nonprofit world are a lot more willing to accept those kind of conditions than people in the private sector are.

    4. L.H. Puttgrass*

      I’m really curious what LW’s industry is and what the work involves. But I think part of the issue here is that regular hours, pay that’s better than non-profits, “good PTO, matching 401k, and insurance” is kind of baseline. It’s just what I’d expect of a for-profit company of any size. My guess is that the offers aren’t coming in high enough to make up for the 50-75% travel—especially right now, when travel can look even less appealing than it did pre-Covid.

      Low offers wouldn’t explain the ghosted interviews, though.

      1. Stevie*

        Maybe a sales or client relations position? I worked at a trade association where we held a lot of conferences, and had a fair amount of vendor sponsors for most events. Usually there were a couple reps on site, and it was usually the same reps traveling there each time.

    5. KRM*

      Also maybe the candidates were thinking “yeah that much travel will be fine in mid 2022 but not right now” and then they’re told that it’s yes right now, so they’re not into it. Combine that with other factors and as others have said, you might need to do some reevaluation of your hiring package.

      1. Zillah*

        ^ This is also definitely possible, IMO – I think a lot of people are assuming that a lot of things that are normally part of a job aren’t part of it right now.

  3. Detective Amy Santiago*

    I’m curious what constitutes “failing the background check” and if there is any possibility your organization could relax those guidelines to give you more options. We as a society are pretty bad at helping former convicts reintegrate into society.

    1. darlingpants*

      I was also wondering about that. I’m not saying you should hire someone who lied about their college degree or has a history of embezzling from their employer but… two people out of nine failed? After being impressive enough that you bothered to do their background check? That seems unlikely that they both would have real deal-breakers show up.

      1. darlingpants*

        And by “unlikely” I mean “statistically it seems high for 22% of your options to fail, when I assume the general population level of failing a background check for a professional job is closer to 2-5%.”

        1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          And by “unlikely” I mean “statistically it seems high for 22% of your options to fail, when I assume the general population level of failing a background check for a professional job is closer to 2-5%.”

          While that’s all true, 9 is a small sample size, and even when things are perfectly normal overall, strange things happen with small samples.

      2. JohannaCabal*

        I agree. I can understand not hiring someone who deliberately lied but it may be time to talk to HR about reasons for a what seems to be a stringent background check. It may be that the role is bonded or involves contact with vulnerable populations, in which case I can understand having a strict criminal background check.

        1. darlingpants*

          And if it does need to be really strict, please put the requirements in the job description so people can self-select out before wasting everyone’s time (theirs applying and interviewing, yours reading their application and interviewing, your background check team for doing a background check that is going to fail).

          1. Felice*

            I agree. This is not exactly the same as someone applying for a new job, but I had a friend who spent years doing excellent work, but when the company announced they were going to be doing background checks on everyone, he had to quit. He had been an activist in the ’60s and was convicted of bank robbery. I realize that’s a serious charge, but by that time it was 25-30 years in the past, and he had been working at the company for quite a while. He probably could have talked with his manager about it, but I think he didn’t want to deal with the likely reaction and consequent humiliation, so he just left.

            1. JohannaCabal*

              This story reminds me of when the U.S. tightened the requirements for banking personnel. A lot of institutions were forced to fire longtime employees who’d had no disciplinary issues at all on the job due to decades old minor criminal convictions.

            2. Bamcheeks*

              What kind of activists were robbing banks? I’m not being facetious, genuinely interested!

              1. Nephron*

                In fairness the United States legal system has a partly involved, fully responsible mentality. Felony murder convictions have occurred when the get away driver who did not know about a gun and did not witness the shooting, but conspired to rob a store. If you conspire to do X and the group you are conspiring with does Y, you can be held legally responsible for Y. Sometimes the original action was legal, or a minor crime like a plan to do a sit in at a courthouse, but someone brings a gun and now you went from trespassing to murder. Look up the Chicago 7 if you want to see how group responsibility was legally distributed at times.

                A lot of activists groups had more extreme wings and if you raised money for a group or were on the rolls for membership you could find yourself pulled into serious charges, some of those charges might not be real.

      3. planetmort*

        In my experience many employer background checks are fairly ..crappy, as well. I have a relative who shares a name (very ordinary) with and lived in the same state at the same time of someone with a felony conviction. He fails almost every background check initially. If the checker cares enough to listen to his explanation and check more thoroughly, it all comes out fine, but of course many entities are not willing to do more than to run their superficial initial check. I of course have no idea if that’s what’s going on here, but it’s definitely something that happens.

        1. planetmort*

          And replying to myself, if the candidates are young, and finances are part of the check, they could be failing due to having too much debt and hence a low credit score, which is something else I have seen happen. If that’s the case, taking a more nuanced view of credit could help a lot.

            1. Splendid Colors*

              Though if someone is driving for travel 4 days a week, a pee test might be relevant…

            2. Mannequin*

              I was a manager at a retail chain that had just recently incorporated and one of the new policies they implemented was credit checks, not just for new hires, but all existing employees that were higher than a sales associate. I failed miserably, not because I was irresponsible or dishonest, but because I’d spent so many years at terrible minimum wage jobs with no benefits while dealing with a serious chronic illness. My debt was almost entirely from unpaid hospital bills from the numerous times I ended up in ER because of life-threatening symptoms brought on by flare ups of my condition (and which would never have happened in the first place if I’d had adequate medical insurance.)

              In the eyes of our brand new loss prevention department, this flagged me as some sort of huge risk for theft, even though my own DM (who was awesome, & had been with the company since it started) said that if they’d had run credit checks back when she applied, she would never have gotten her job.

        2. Zephy*

          I guess there’s not really a way to proactively flag that for a hiring manager that doesn’t look sus AF, is there…

        3. JohannaCabal*

          And on the flip side, they may choose to only conduct background checks for their home state and surrounding states because it can be cheaper than a nationwide check. It may have been here or a different forum but I remember a story from years ago where a small employee hired someone who’d been convicted of a crime involving a minor because their background check did not cover states on the opposite coast.

        4. Lenora Rose*

          A friend of mine has a name where all 2 of his names could be first names (Think Jim Joseph Michael). He had been driving cross country a long time, and realised he was too tired to keep going, and also in the middle of nowhere. So he pulled over to the side of the road, with the windows cracked, to nap.

          An RCMP officer driving by of course thought to check ran his plates. Turns out there was an actual mass murderer on the wanted list with a name like Michael Jim Joseph. So the officer saw those three names, missed the order at first, and…

          My friend woke with a gun literally pointed at his ear.

          Thankfully all was cleared up without a tragic ending.

      4. Your local password resetter*

        Two people failing doesn’t seem that strange, so long as it isn’t a pattern. Sometimes you get a coincidence like that.

    2. A Simple Narwhal*

      Echoing what others have said – were these solid reasons and it was outrageously bad luck that you had two of nine fail, or is your background check way too narrow?

    3. OP*

      OP here, one lied about their work history (said they worked for a direct competitor for a year, they really only interviewed there but was never hired). Other person failed a drug test (not weed) and was fired from last job for drinking at work.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        Oof. Okay, so not hits on a criminal check which is what I was thinking when you said “failed the background check”.

        Yeah, those are both solid reasons not to hire someone.

      2. A Simple Narwhal*

        Woof, well those are two very solid reasons to fail a background check! Officially withdrawing my “is your background check too narrow” question above.

  4. CatCat*

    we start people at more than the max rate at the nonprofit

    What do you start people at relative to other for-profit companies doing similar work in the same region?

    1. Observer*

      That was my first thought. My second thought is whether the company has a good record and reputation in how it treats people.

      But also, give a good look at your job description. Is it really clear? Does it have a whole slew of “requirements” such that people reasonably think that the employer is putting in everything but the kitchen sink and any one requirement is not REALLY a requirement?

    2. pancakes*

      A better question: What do you start people at relative to what would be a livable wage in the region? There are massive, very much for-profit publishers in my region (NYC), for example, who are still paying people in the low 40s. It took two years of negotiation for the New Yorker union to get Condé Nast to agree to a base salary of $55,000.

      1. Stitching Away*

        Thank you. People are not locked into the same industry. People can decide they have better options.

        1. pancakes*

          That too, but I was mostly thinking, “for profit” isn’t synonymous with “pays a livable wage.” Wage stagnation has been a trend in the US for forty years for everyone but the highest earners.

    3. Mannequin*

      From their other comments, it’s looks like it’s $22/hr, in the DC area. So, not a living wage, not competitive with other entry level jobs, AND far too low for an 80% travel/all driving position.

  5. Rayray*

    One thing I wonder, are you transparent about salary and benefits when posting the job ad? This is a huge thing that people seem to be fighting for more than ever. I still occasionally lurk on a forum I participated in while I was unemployed and people are definitely fed up with not being told what the salary is. There’s also many job ads that are just bad in general, like saying it’s Entry Level and then asking for 5+ year experience, or saying it’s remote and then saying you’re required to be in office. Things like this are off putting to candidates and like Alison mentioned, the tables have turned for power right now and people are being much more selective.

      1. Llama Llama*

        I don’t even bother applying if it isn’t in the job listing. I don’t want to work somewhere that doesn’t want to be transparent.

        1. JBI*

          Well, they often approach me (I workin an in-demand area of tech). It only takes a second to ask. If they respond with an answer I don’t like or say we can discuss later, I just say I’m not prepared to pursue it

        2. filosofickle*

          In my field I doubt even 10% post salary, so while I love that principle I wouldn’t have much to apply to!

    1. Bee Eye Ill*

      A note about this – Two years ago, I applied for a job that ended up paying $10k less than what I was making. We didn’t get into money until the end of the interview but clearly I was disappointed and walked away expecting nothing. The next day, they called offering me the job at a higher level and for more than what I was making. The jobs, titles, salaries, etc. are not always set in stone.

      1. Rayray*

        It’s true that it’s not always set in stone and this is the very reason we negotiate but job postings should still always post a good-faith salary range. While your own job offer worked out, many people have gotten a job offer only to find out it’s much less than expected and they can’t successfully negotiate any higher. Job ads should be clear in the expected salary range so people know before applying and interviewing.

    2. WomEngineer*

      I agree with benefits, especially if your competitors’ are well-known and/or relocation is necessary.

      1. Juneybug*

        OP – Reading all of your responses (thank you BTW for taking the time), it sounds like you are doing a great job in your hiring practices!!

        1. BRR*

          Yeah it sounds like the OP is doing everything right. I think this is just the way things are now and all you can do is try to minimize it.

    3. Xenia*

      Or about things like the travel requirement. Being blindsided by 50-75% travel in the interview will not make me want to work somewhere

        1. Duc Anonymous*

          The problem could come from the wording. From your upthread comment, the schedule is: “leave Monday morning, home Tuesday night, leave Wednesday morning, home Thursday night, Friday in the local office” and all within drivable locations.

          This would be a nightmare! In a previous position, I had a similar amount of travel but the difference was the amount of time driving (maybe twice a month, it was mostly air travel) and the trips were usually 2-3 days. I could see being interested if it was air travel and the opting out knowing I was going to be mostly driving. You may consider updating the post to include that information.

          1. OP*

            The goal is that each team only do one trip a week or even every other week, but I need two more people to make that happen

            1. Observer*

              Which is fine. But people are looking at the job as it stands NOW. And there is a mismatch between the CURRENT situation and what you are describing in your ad.

              I realize that you are operating in good faith, but it’s a mistake.

          2. JustSomeone*


            Speaking for myself, I would love a job where I traveled by air to one city per week and spent 2-3 days there. I would *detest* a job where every week I had to drive to multiple destinations for one night each.

            If I saw “2-3 nights away per week” without further explanation, I would expect Scenario 1. When I found out it was Scenario 2, I would absolutely no longer want the job.

            1. Sacred Ground*

              And to echo a comment upthread, you might also post about the discrepancy on Glassdoor, where other applicants will see it and maybe nope out after applying. Hence, the no-shows to interviews.

        2. Observer*

          I think that on the whole you are doing a good job. But the posting is not accurate, imo. This is not 50-75%. People are at non-office sites 80% of the time.

  6. JBI*

    I never ghosted, but I remember an interviewer didn’t show up for a Zoom call, no note, no ask to reschedule. I had blocked off some time. 20 minutes later I get a rescheduled invitation for same time next day, which was not convenient. I get a message “Dave couldn’t make, we’ve rescheduled for tomorrow, same time.”
    I responded ” Actually, I’m going to pass. I was on the fence, and I didn’t appreciate the lack of notice (I had to pay my nanny overtime, reschedule another interview to do this), the absence of an apology for being stood up, and the assumption that I would be available tomorrow. Doesn’t bode well for a working environment.”

    1. Purely Allegorical*

      Love that response! I’ve wanted to send stuff like that before but haven’t. Did they ever reply to you?

          1. LKW*

            I suspect that there are two likely scenarios playing out daily:
            1. Whhyyyyy? Why can’t we find people who are willing to be treated as inferiors (which they are) while I make demands that can’t be fulfilled and make promises I can’t (or won’t keep). Who will listen to me brag about how awesome I am?
            2. We’re better off without those losers. We’re a core team of awesome and so what if we can’t grow this business. We’re just refocusing and making that focus laser sharp. Because our team of 10 is all we need. Yeah, we don’t need them.

    2. Rayray*

      This was the right response in my opinion. It would be different if they called you ahead of time and then asked if you had any availability for x or y or z time but they definitely were rude and handled it all wrong.

  7. Bee Eye Ill*

    I agree with what Alison says that the tables have turned. Employers ask you to apply, provide all kinds of personal info like social, birthday, references, and then you never hear from them again. It’s nuts.

    That being said, if you have any kind of internal tracking system for applications it may be worth noting that they ghosted you in case they ever apply again you won’t have to waste your time on them.

  8. Amber Rose*

    One time I canceled an interview and I got such passive aggressive sniping over it that I wished I’d just ghosted them, rude or not.

    Employers are so, so often ungrateful no matter WHAT job seekers do, because of this attitude that an interview is somehow this grand privilege, like they’re doing a huge favor just bothering to consider hiring. Sometimes it’s easier to just accept that you can’t make everyone happy and do what you need to do for your own benefit.

    One huge exception: internal transfers. My husband got ghosted by an interview candidate trying to transfer into his department from another one with the same employer. That’s just bad form.

    1. TechWorker*

      I also definitely felt under pressure to explain ‘why’… once I cancelled an interview (for a grad job) because they sent me a 4 page reading list and I thought ‘yeah no I don’t want the job that much’. I told them I’d taken another job (not true, though I had a standing offer from somewhere I’d interned) and they pushed me to say where, which looking back I suspect they were just digging for who their competition was but at the time felt like they were trying to check if I was lying…

  9. Anon for spam*

    It might be worthwhile checking the method being used to contact prospects – if it’s email, maybe run a check to see if there’s something in the organization’s signature or sending protocols that’s flagging as spam. May not be the bulk of the issue, but could certainly contribute to it.

    1. PT*

      I worked somewhere where the spam filter was that if anyone, in the entire organization, sent a single email to two or more recipients at an outside domain, it risked our spam blocker banning all emails sent to that domain until someone noticed and reported it to IT for IT to manually go in and remove it. So 10 days or so.

      This meant if you, say, sent the staff schedule for the month out to your part-time employee’s personal emails because their position did not require them to have work computer access so they did not have work emails, or hit reply all to a customer who was a parent with a gmail and cc’d the child’s other parent who also had a gmail, or you were running a class with ten students from the community and you sent out the syllabus and they all had gmails, you risked *the entire company* not being able to send an email to Gmail for ten days.

      1. Lady_Lessa*


        I had problems with a domain blocker, but the vendor didn’t tell me it was my company that was doing the blocking. I assumed (and we all know what that does) is that my company email was being blocked. We have another name for “Richard” as part of our domain name.

  10. Former recruiter*

    You guys aren’t offering enough money and/or benefits for the role and experience level required. It’s that simple. No one wants to risk sickness and death for themselves and their family at the rate you’re offering.

  11. Not Today Satan*

    Something I’ve found is, a lot of job ads really don’t try to sell the seeker on the position at all. I’m actually in the position now of having thrown my hat into the ring for a particular job on a bad day at work, and I’ve been offered an interview. But when I pull up the “ad” I’m just, not enthused. And for all I know, it actually is an interesting job working with fun people. But they’ve made no effort to convince me of that at all; it’s just a list of tasks and responsibilities. The title isn’t sexy either. Is it really worth preparing for an interview, or even interviewing without preparing? Idk. I already accepted the interview, but it hasn’t happened yet, and I might withdraw.

    All this to say, employers need to try harder to make their jobs look attractive to seekers.

    1. Rayray*

      For sure. I saw the job ad for my own position (it’s a team of 6) and it was pretty bad. The overall description was pretty spot on but they literally had the salary as $.01 a year. I don’t remember what it was like when I applied but I don’t think it had that. That is suuuuper off putting to candidates and seems almost shady, like they’re definitely hiding the salary but had to enter a value for the system to work. It’s actually a great company that pays fair and the benefits and culture are really great, but that job ad was horrible and not at all enticing to potential candidates.

    2. Elle*

      While I agree in general that job descriptions can be really difficult, I am confused by your desire for sexy titles and fun people. I can’t conceive of a way to have a sexy title or convince my coworkers are fun without it being a major red flag.

      Usually my problem is that job descriptions they are just generalized HR-speak and not actual lists of specific tasks and responsibilities. They just say things like, “Independently solve moderately complex issues with minimal supervision, while escalating more complex issues to appropriate staff.”

      1. LKW*

        I suppose it’s the difference between writing a generic cover letter and one that is tailored to the role and the company. If you’re hiring, there is a role, a department, a project – something that gives you an idea of the work you’ll do and the contribution you might make. There is the opportunity to highlight hard and soft skills.

      2. Not Today Satan*

        I didn’t mean literally sexy, lol. A title that connotes prestige of some kind.

        In terms of “fun coworkers”, again I don’t mean playing ping pong at the start up, but “you will be on a team of 6 analysts passionate about ____ and ______.” Just like, literally anything that makes the position look interesting.

        And to be clear, I’m not trying to pass a law mandating any of this. I’m just saying, it’s reasonable for a person to go, “actually I don’t have enough evidence that this is an interesting opportunity for me to invest hours into this interview.”

        1. Kal*

          I don’t think people thought you meant literally sexy, I think the problem is that when I (and likely a lot of others) think of a title being made “sexy”, I think of titles that add things like “ninja” and “rock star” and other off-putting things like that, that try to make a job seem cooler, more desirable or more prestigious than it actually is.

          1. Not Today Satan*

            All I’m saying is they need to make the job look attractive. This could be by listing a high pay, by describing it in a desirable way, or by giving a title that would not imply a lateral move to their desired candidates.

    3. Sarah55555*

      Interviews are also a lot of work to prepare for. All of it is a lot of work – applications, cover letters, interviews. Employers are expecting people to put together polished and thoughtful work, when they cut and paste job descriptions that won’t even disclose the pay. There was a letter published here the other day that was an employer complaining that candidates aren’t putting enough time and thought into their cover letters, and to me it was a great example of this disconnect.

      1. LabTechNoMore*

        +1 Not only is it heavily one-sided, but the employer is the only one actually getting paid for their time. Yet they’re the ones putting the least effort into the process. (Speaking in general terms. Based on OP’s replies, it looks like they’re being diligent and considerate of their applicants.)

    4. Aggretsuko*

      Hahahaha, I have NO motivation to apply for jobs any more and that is a very good point. I’m so “bleeeech” or “meh” or “sounds like same old crap” when I read job ads.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        And the fact that they all want someone dynamic and highly motivated somehow has a Dementor effect of sucking my life force from my soul. (Chocolate helps for this too)

  12. Jam Today*

    Turnabout is fair play? I mean yeah its a drag when you’re trying to fill a position but the sheer volume of people recounting stories of companies they apply to never bothering to respond to a resume submission (not even a “thank you but we’re going in another direction” courtesy email) to all the way through a protracted interview process and then just falling off the face of the earth should give you something to think about. I have to giggle a little bit at all these employers being really surprised that all these people they’ve treated like sh*t for decades have learned the lesson they were responsible for teaching in the first place.

    1. Ugh, really?*

      Nope, that’s not kind. Individual hiring managers like this LW don’t deserve to be treated like this because other employers are jerks.

      1. JustSomeone*

        I think we should all strive to be more kind, not less. But “individual hiring managers” have been ghosting candidates for years and years. The OP is probably a lovely person, but they are also part of a category that has, overall, been quite unkind to job seekers and therefore established a paradigm where politeness and care are not the expectation.

      2. Jam Today*

        I didn’t say it was kind, I said it made me giggle. Turns out I can be kind of a jerk sometimes, especially when my own job application history includes both of the above and all the permutations in between, by other “individual hiring managers”.

      3. Hengry*

        The difference is LW is getting paid to deal with this, while applicants are definitely *not* getting paid for companies to treat them badly.

      4. Texas*

        “Treated like this” is what employers have essentially trained people entering the workforce now to expect. It’s very possible the candidates don’t even realize it’s not professional behavior because it’s how the people that they expect to be professional behave.

        1. Sacred Ground*

          Yes, this! If it’s unprofessional and rude to ghost someone in business communications, then why have employers been doing just this for years? It seems perfectly rational to conclude that since they have been ghosting applicants for years, therefore ghosting is normal and acceptable in business.

    2. HS Teacher*

      Agreed. While I think it’s rude either way, it’s funny to me to see hiring folks complain about what we job seekers have complained about for years. How the turntables!

  13. Smithy*

    As someone in the nonprofit sector, a lot of time that word is thrown around very holistically for the entire sector – when it has very rarely ever makes sense to lump all nonprofits together to describe one job market in the same way that it might work more for the public sector regardless if someone’s working at the city, state or federal level.

    All of this is to say that while some nonprofits, just like some businesses have been negatively impacted by COVID – others, just like some businesses have seen a huge demand and surge in fundraising over the course of the last 18 months. This has led to a lot of new jobs, increased salaries, etc. Additionally, as the most highly compensated nonprofit jobs were clustered in higher COLA cities – the ability to take those salaries to lower COLA parts of the US has also enabled a lot of experienced nonprofit staff to do a lot of holistic reflection.

    LW, while you may be able to offer more money than similar nonprofit jobs – these candidates may be negotiating with their current/prospective employers to take a job that pays $40k less but they can live in Medium COLA USA and only travel 25%. Again, a hot market with wildly expanding remote work options in a sector where salaries don’t typically cover spreads that you’d see on the for-profit side. This means that if someone can suddenly move closer to family who can cover child care in a lower COLA part of the country – that may radically alter their quality of life and disposable income in ways the nonprofit related job market rarely meets.

    Sure, ghosting on an offer is rude – but the reasons for it may be more so due to a perceived need to take more time to work through these options. Because in the past when you respond quickly and ask for time, particularly time like a week plus – you’ll get told you need to give an answer sooner.

    1. Guin*

      OP does not work at the non-profit anymore. They moved over to work for a vendor. OP is saying that the salary of the job is significantly more than the non-profit paid, but they are getting fewer good applicants.

  14. SlimeKnight*

    I work in the public sector and we are seeing plenty of candidates disappearing. Although we have worked on pay the last few years, we are not competitive. Our governing body became very used to the job market conditions during the recession and for several years after where the employer had all the leverage. They are only now beginning to realize how the roles have reversed.

    For example, we have been trying to fill one of our entry-level positions for the last year:

    First go-around: no qualified applicants
    Second go-around: Four qualified applicants, only two showed for interviews. Offered the job to both and they declined.
    Third time’s the charm, right: We hired somebody and on their third day they didn’t show up to work. Never contacted us and wouldn’t return our calls.

    Now we’re in the middle of try number four. We have a conditional offer but the candidate has pushed the start date back twice. We’ll see.

    Ultimately this is should be for the good in the long time. The organization has actually begun to invest in its current workers and is in the middle of a multi-year pay study/reevaluation. As a result, even with our problems hiring, our turnover rate has actually fallen.

    1. Sarah55555*

      As a job seeker, for a long time there were insane qualification requirements for the most basic entry level jobs. Have you flexed on those? Are you willing to take a chance on a candidate with a less traditional background?

      I was job searching for an entire year recently (was hired Feb 2021) and despite having owned and run my own business for a year I could barely get a call back for Admin jobs. And then after that, I would have interviews where they ignored everything current on my resume and would only discuss my experience as an Admin 14 years ago. Big shock that they’re struggling to find good candidates, still.

    2. SlimeKnight*

      For entry level we are looking for someone with at least 6-12 months of customer service experience. That could be retail, food service, cashier, call center, or front desk/administrative. We will also take someone with a two year degree in the field we work in with no experience. We have always been (partly by necessity because of the area we serve) always been more flexible on our requirements than some of our partner agencies.

      1. Nina*

        okay, so you don’t want entry level. You want 6-12 months experience and you want to pay entry level wages for it.

        1. TechWorker*

          This is a bit unfair – firstly ‘entry level’ usually means ‘entry to x industry’, it doesn’t mean ‘we’ll take anyone’ – especially if it pays better than customer service roles then describing it as entry level seems reasonable. Secondly, how many jobs are there where pay jumps considerably after 6 months? The criteria seems to be ‘have a degree or prove you can hold down a job for a bit’, it doesn’t sound that exclusionary to me…

    3. The Smiling Pug*

      I wish more job ads would make it clear what they were looking for as opposed to “Associate” or “Entry-Level.” Or as mentioned a few other places, they’re looking for entry-level workers, but you have to have 2+ years of experience in a certain niche field.

  15. anonymous73*

    Prior to the pandemic, people had to provide proof that they were applying to jobs when receiving unemployment. Once they reinstated having to show that proof, I think a lot of people are applying to jobs that they may not be interested in to continue receiving unemployment. There could be many reasons, so I’m not just saying people are lazy and would rather sit home and collect money. For me personally, I was out of work for 9 months. I applied to MANY jobs in that time period. I received and accepted an offer in June, but couldn’t start until I obtained clearance…which took 8 weeks. So I continued applying for jobs because I had to in order to continue receiving unemployment. If anyone reached out for an interview, I respond and tell them I had already accepted an offer.

    Ghosting is ALWAYS rude, whether it’s an applicant or a recruiter. But it seems to be the way of the world now.

    1. LQ*

      People say this a lot but I think in general it doesn’t make a ton of sense, especially now that a lot of the additional programs are done. There’s no longer the extra $300 on top, so nowhere is unemployment going to pay you more than you were making, which was possible in some part-time very low-paying jobs during the pandemic (your state may vary). No longer is there the federal program that covered traditionally uncovered folks with a …*depends on your state* base amount.

      Even in states that normally require it and are back to that it I think that people would not respond earlier if they were just doing it for unemployment. Unless you have a particularly vindictive set of employers who constantly flag these things, which is a lot of work for them, it’s really weird that someone would go through with scheduling an interview, or going further in the process for just unemployment. I think it also short changes some of the other systemic problems.

      1. Metadata minion*

        I don’t think it makes sense to apply to random jobs in order to keep getting unemployment so you don’t have to work, but it might make a lot of sense to keep applying for random jobs if you’re holding out for getting an actually good job but you’ve applied to all the relevant openings already.

        1. fueled by coffee*

          It also might make sense if, say, a parent needs to stay home all day because their kids’ school is online or daycare keeps having to close so the staff/kids can quarantine, but the family finances can’t make it through on one paycheck.

          I’m not saying that this ghosting is unemployment related (especially given the discussion of the travel requirements above), but I do think there’s a lot of complicated structural stuff going on right now.

      2. anonymous73*

        I realize it doesn’t make logical sense, but why are so many places in desperate need of employees? Did people figure out how to grow money trees in their back yards? Because if so many people are holding out for better opportunities, how are they supporting themselves?

          1. EatenMess*

            And others have taken the pandemic as an opportunity to reassess their lives and what’s important, and their job didn’t make the cut.

    2. J.B.*

      If you apply and turn down an offer, the unemployment used to end. That would be a risky strategy. Much more likely that they got other offers.

  16. CBB*

    There’s no excuse for ghosting.

    That said, I can imagine someone not fully realizing what “50-75%” travel means when they apply for a job. It could mean 3 overnights during the week, or it could mean being overseas for 3 weeks of every month.

    I would be ok with the first, but would quickly lose interest (regardless of compensation) if I discovered it was the second.

    1. OP*

      The travel schedule is roughly leave Monday morning, home Tuesday night, leave Wednesday morning, home Thursday night, Friday in the local office.

      1. Angelinha*

        Do you put this in the job description? I would be super clear about this, it’s relatively uncommon and this might be where you are losing (some) people. They might be applying even if they don’t want to travel because companies often misstate the travel requirement in the JD. I usually assume the company is way off base with their own travel estimate, which might not be fair but my current job was listed as 50% travel and I’ve spent exactly 1 night away in 5 years. When I asked what the travel would look like in the interview, they said daytime site visits, in-state, once a month (so….also nowhere near 50%).

      2. Anonya*

        This sounds like it would lead to an undesirable quality of life. That’s a lot of ups and downs and shifting around. You’re home to sleep and not do much else. That’s not really an acceptable tradeoff for most people.

        1. Aggretsuko*

          Yeah, I would HATE this. Is it THAT required for the job? Could the job be reconfigured to be more humane? Do some Zoom meetings instead of all that in person (ha hah)?

      3. CBB*

        I don’t know if it explains the ghosting problem, but that particular schedule might be very different from what a lot of people have in mind when they read “50-75% travel”.

        1. lost academic*

          This. Just because you get to sleep in your own bed half the time doesn’t mean it’s 50%. That’s also a particularly hard way to do travel. Maybe it’s necessary for the role, but maybe that means the role needs to be reconsidered. I like travel and I’ve definitely done up to about 25% travel but I sure wouldn’t do it now.

        2. No Longer Gig-less Data Analyst*

          Yeah…4 days traveling/offsite and 1 day in the office wouldn’t read 50-75% to me as a job seeker. Is this the schedule every single week?

          My daughter is an entry-level college graduate with the kind of experience you’re looking for, and she would run screaming from this kind of schedule. She got a very well-paying job with benefits in a call center for a medium-sized regional bank, with no travel or wonky schedule.

        3. Global Cat Herder*

          Agreed. You’re traveling on 4 out of 5 workdays, which makes it 80% travel.
          The actual act of travel can be draining. That you get to sleep in your own bed and then get back up and do it again doesn’t erase that you traveled that day and will travel the next day.

      4. Leela*

        this is an extremely disruptive schedule, is there really no way to collate the travel? Candidates likely know their quality of life will take a pretty big hit. You might find someone who wants this and it’s fine if they do, but this is about the worst travel schedule I could ever imagine

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          Yeah… I think that’s the biggest issue here. OP, I think you’re already being pretty transparent, but I think you should evaluate how you present this travel. All of that driving is a turn-off for a lot of people, not to mention the nights away. That’s not 50%– you have to look at the work week, not the whole week.

          1. Leela*

            yeah, they’re basically only home for sleeping two nights, with one day in the office. this is essentially 1/5 days in the office with all other days involving travel. That’s much more than is being advertised!

        2. OP*

          The goal is that each team would only be doing 1 trip a week or even every other week, but I need two more people to make that happen

          1. Kal*

            That goal is fine, but right now anyone who accepts the offer is only going to be able to really be home for 1 work day out of 5, and only really have any personal time on the weekends, and a very significant amount of their days are driving (which is far more exhausting than travel where you can be a passenger). Given your existing trouble hiring, that pattern could go on for quite a long time as well. Add in that even once you do hire more people, there’s still going to be holidays to cover and people who might leave, and it still is a schedule that a lot of people just will not want. So in order to find the people who will actually be okay with this, you’re going to have to be very, very honest about the exact schedule.

            It may also be valuable to look into adding in bonus pay of some sort for the extra travel, so you’re not offering the pay you’re planning for the eventual goal of only 1 trip per week or two to someone who is doing double to quadruple that (a good way to make the first employee upset that they had to do all that for the same pay as the new employee who is travelling far less). That sort of structure could allow for the additional pay to go back to baseline once the trip frequency for an individual is reduced to the planned baseline, and could also help with the eventual issue of future coverage for people being out or leaving.

        3. Aggretsuko*

          Yeah, even if you GET people hired, I imagine they would burn out fast on this lifestyle.

          1. James*

            It takes a certain kind of person, yeah. And it’s more disruptive than people think. I’m currently planning on couples therapy to handle the transition from “away most of the time” to “home half the time”–my spouse and I are so used to being separated that coming together is going to be a huge ordeal. Plus you get to a point where your entire life fits into the trunk of your car, and your time home is entirely dominated by chores.

            For my part, I hate doing certain work and NOT traveling. If I’m working 12 hours a day I don’t want to come home and have my spouse dump a To Do list on me. It depends on the type of work, though; if I’m doing office work I don’t mind working from an office (I detest working from home).

            That said, there are some lines of work where such schedules are inevitable. I haven’t seen anything that states the line of work the OP is in; everyone is just assuming that the OP is wrong about the needs for traveling. If the candidate needs to be onsite, they need to be onsite–and if that requires travel, it requires travel. Either do it, or decide the field isn’t for you. Sorry, but some lines of work don’t bend that way–you can’t pound a nail, dish out food, or treat an infected wound without being there.

            1. Koala*

              I haven’t seen seen a bunch of people say the travel isn’t necessary, much less every commenter. It looks like most people discussing the travel are saying the pay and travel expectations don’t match.

      5. Delta Delta*

        This sounds terrible. Gone 80% of the week is likely a tough sell, especially with Covid raging.

        1. Massive Dynamic*

          Yeah, that is definitely 80% travel. I saw upthread that you’re putting salary + benefits right in the ads, which is AWESOME. To further transparency, what is your general COVID policy? What’s your vax rate, what’s your vax policy, and even with a watertight office of fully vaxxed folks, how would you support an employee risking exposure most days of the week? What’s the sick pay/quarantine policy like?

          1. Radical Edward*

            This. All of these questions, plus a few others around PTO and scheduling, have become deal-breakers for me – and it’s frankly astonishing how many employers ghost ME when I try to ask just one of them pre-interview (although it’s certainly accomplishing my other goal of saving both parties some time and effort).

      6. DataSci*

        Personally I would consider that to be 80% travel – I’d be okay with rounding it down to 75% but not “50-75%”. There are four days a week where they’re someplace other than the local office. Having them home for two nights with travel on either side and counting a night at home as a day without travel would seem to me like you’re just trying to either be deceptive about the amount of travel or save on hotel costs.

        1. Sleet Feet*

          Especially if they don’t get OT for their travel. I would consider this closer to 90% travel personally if the evening arrival and early mornings are before 8am and after 5pm.

        2. Twenty Points for the Copier*

          Yeah, it sounds super exhausting to travel home only to unpack/pack/sleep/wake up and hit the road again. I don’t know that 50-75% travel is that misleading here, but the wear and tear of that specific schedule could be increasing the # of people dropping out of the process.

      7. Starbuck*

        Wow, if it were me I would definitely expect additional compensation for all the time spent away from home. That’s also way more than 50% travel, if that’s the schedule every week!

        1. Kiko*

          Oof. Yeah, at 80-90ish% travel with that sort of schedule, the pay needs to be beyond “competitive”. It needs to trump the inconvenience and health risks that come with disruptive travel like that. Without those benefits, you’re just setting up your future employee for burnout.

      8. CommanderBanana*

        Yeah, no. I left my last job because it went from traveling once every six-eight weeks to being out of town every other week, practically, because several of my coworkers had babies and didn’t want to travel (fair) and the solution, instead of finding other staff to travel, was to just dump onsite staffing on me for nearly 2 years (not fair). And most of our events ran over weekends, so I was missing out on things like events at home or friends’ milestones.

      9. Little Lobster*

        This sounds AWFUL. There’s no amount of money you could offer that would make up for how disruptive to my life this would be. And characterizing this as “50-75% travel” implies that there’s a chance that this is “50% travel,” which is really dishonest. This is 80-90% travel. No wonder you’re having trouble filling this role.

      10. Blllllpt*

        Yikes that’s rough, your sleep is gonna suffer big time.
        Get home late Tuesday + leave early Wed then get home late Thursday + come in Friday at the usual start time (you don’t say when they’d get back but imagine coming home at 9pm or 10pm then having to come in at 8am the next day).
        I think if that isn’t spelled out immediately you’re losing people with that schedule especially in today’s market where candidates have options and don’t need to jump on the first thing that comes along.
        I can’t imagine anyone who would enjoy that schedule honestly.

      11. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        I think you need to change your description to “75-95% travel” since someone is only home for 24hrs 1 day a week (Thursday evening to Friday COB). Or, instead of percentages, something like, “Work is off-site 4 days a week at different locations with no (or few or whatever) overnight stays”. That way you can weed out folks like me who were fine with 50-75% travel when it was a smaller number longer trips, but would not be up for multiple days of long drives back-to-back every week. Other folks would hate my old schedule, but love the out and about all day out of the office and home all night

      12. Dezzi*

        OP, that is an absolutely hellish schedule you’re describing. I’m sorry, but what you’re offering just isn’t enough to make the quality of life (or lack thereof) worth it, especially in the DC area. Plus, being in the local office one day out of five every week is not what people are going to have in mind when you say “50-75% travel.” People are going to feel misled by that description once they find out what the schedule actually is, and applicants who feel like they’ve been purposely misled about something as basic as the schedule/travel requirements? Are a) going to wonder what else you haven’t told them, and b) not feel like they need to explain to you why they’re dropping out.

        I would definitely look at changing the job postings to make sure they’re accurately describing exactly what the travel is going to be. You’ll probably get fewer applicants that way, but you’ll also stop getting people who are going to be like “wtf, no” once they find out about it.

    2. PT*

      My cat can be home alone for 3 days a week. Someone can pop in on Day 2 and scoop her kitty box and put out more kibble, and she’ll be fine until I get home. She can’t be home alone for 3 weeks! That would require pretty extensive pet sitting or even boarding.

    3. Gerry Keay*

      This is *not* the scenario being described, but directly replying to your comment, I actually think there are excuses for ghosting — if a prospective employer was being cruel, abusive, or bigoted, I think a candidate is well within their rights to ghost. Barring that, I think everyone — employers and candidates — should communicate when they’re not going to move forward.

    4. EmilyG*

      I was scrolling down looking for someone to mention the travel! Yes, this would be rough even without covid. But I could also see people’s willingness fluctuating based on the latest covid news and/or the opinions of household members about having someone in and out of the house/hotels/airports. What if someone applied before delta hit your region, and then later felt a lot more like “yikes”?

  17. learnedthehardway*

    My spouse was commenting that they are having the same problems – in retail, however. Their ability to flex on salaries is next to nil, just because of operating costs. They’re worried they will be under-staffed for the holiday season. Being more flexible on the quality of candidates isn’t a good option, either, because you have to have people who can interact with the public, learn the product, sell merchandise, etc. etc.

    1. learnedthehardway*

      My spouse also has had 2 new employees work just long enough to be able to claim unemployment insurance, and then quit. He’s had to deal with calls from the unemployment office asking if he is sure the person could have continued the job, as if they were trying to find reasons to let the person collect unemployment, when they shouldn’t be allowed to do so (here, if you voluntarily leave a role, you don’t get to collect unemployment). He’s pretty frustrated with both the unemployment offic epeople and the ex-employees.

      1. Koala*

        …or maybe they were calling because they’re required to confirm? Not everything is a conspiracy.

      2. pancakes*

        Does he think the unemployment office shouldn’t be calling employers for verification? Either way, having to “deal with” unemployment is a pretty basic fact of being in business in the US, and answering a few questions isn’t a huge imposition.

  18. kk*

    I also wonder if the travel aspect playing into the difficulty in hiring. I recently left my job of 10 years, and I’ve heard from the grapevine they are having trouble filling the role. When I was there it was about 25% travel, pre-pandemic. They realized they wanted someone who could travel up to 40% of the time. They have heard that they aren’t able to get the candidates that they want because the travel requirement is more than most employees want. I have my suspicions about other reasons why they can’t fill it. I also know that they had three folks asked to come back for final interviews and two dropped out because they didn’t like what they heard in the first round so… Good luck to them, I guess.
    Also, yes, tell people the salary range for goodness sake.

  19. Slow Gin Lizz*

    My boss (at a non-profit) called a candidate for a scheduled interview a few months ago and said candidate answered the phone and then responded with, “I can’t talk right now” and hung up. No idea what that candidate was thinking and if they simply forgot they had an interview or what, but they obviously could have responded much less rudely. It happens, of course, but it was the first my boss had experienced it herself.

    1. LKW*

      Was there any follow up on either side? I’m just curious if there was any explanation for such an abrupt response.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        I don’t recall if my boss emailed the person after the fact but afaik we didn’t hear back from them at all. So weird.

    2. Sleet Feet*

      That … wasn’t a rude response.

      I can’t talk right now and disconnecting is perfectly valid and not rude. It’s not like they told your boss to eff off.

      1. Me*

        Except it was. The boss didn’t cold call them, they called them for a scheduled interview. The person agreed to a phone interview at this time.

        If you are in that dire of circumstances where you can’t talk so much you must immediately disconnect, then don’t answer the phone.

        Answering to say you can’t talk and then hanging up on the person is very rude.

        1. Sleet Feet*

          I don’t see it that way. I can see plenty of circumstances where I would have to cut the person off and explain later. If the boss called me during the scheduled slot – and I was unexpectedly in a fender bender, or at the Dr, or any number of things then I might answer let them know I’m not available them disconnect. Expecially of I am waiting on a call or the ringing may disturb others I’d probably rush them along so they don’t keep trying to call.

          If I then had a moment and went to my computer to find some diatribe about how rude I was for not keeping our appointment and how dare I hang up on them etc. I’d probably ghost the employer and not bother explaining the situation.

          It’s ok to not be available and to let someone know you aren’t available – even if it was a planned time. I would expect the person to explain at their nearest convenience, but dismissing someone as rude for abruptly ending a conversation strikes me as really entitled.

        2. Overeducated*

          Agreed. I had to answer the phone for an interview once by saying “hello, I can’t talk, there is a medical emergency” and hang up. (By that point the paramedics had arrived, so I was not directly providing aid to the person affected and could pick up briefly, but I certainly wasn’t in a position to do a phone interview.) In an actual emergency, manners aren’t the biggest priority, so one can be forgiven for just saying “can’t talk,” but it still needs to be explained later.

    3. Art3mis*

      I once had to do that to someone (not for an interview) because I had a Sherriff’s deputy standing in my kitchen. Sometimes you literally need someone off the phone as fast as possible.

  20. Crazy Cat Lady*

    I am in HR for a well-known national non-profit and we are experiencing the exact same thing. This is the first time that we have really struggled to hire in my 15 years of working here. And what I am hearing from my cohorts in the same industry, this is a problem for them as well. And we are not able to offer the same salaries as many for-profits and in an employees’ market, that makes us even less competitive. So, while I agree with Alison’s assessment, just wanted to share my experience related to non-profits.

  21. my 8th name*

    I’ve seen this play out outside of the work setting (I.e. filling vacancies in a rental house). Once had someone be a no-show, claim a medical emergency, and then ask to reschedule. Then they were a no-show the next day and when we reached out to see what happened, we discovered that they blocked us. I think it’s just a new confrontation avoidance trend and it’s tacky. You don’t want to work here/ live here/ volunteer here. Just send an email like an adult. It would take all of 2 minutes.

    1. my 8th name*

      To be clear I was a renter looking for a housemate when a vacancy opened up. Not a landlord.

    2. Rayray*

      This is definitely a skill that many people seem to be lacking these days. It even happens when you’re trying to put a social event together. In my early-mid 20s (I’m now 32) I would send out invites for movie nights, game nights, or even to just go out and do something and most people would just ignore my invite rather than sending a simple “Hey, thanks for inviting me but I won’t be able to make it”. I remember being just so perplexed why it kept happening and my feelings were genuinely hurt. One time
      The topic came up in conversation with a friend because someone else had invited her to do something and she wouldn’t respond because she said she felt bad saying no. She didn’t see it as ignoring someone might make them feel worse or that it’s incredibly rude to leave them hanging, she just was avoiding confronting it and just being honest.

      1. Archaeopteryx*

        Yes socially this is SO rude! Even one-on-one, if someone gives a “maybe” and then can’t make it but never lets you know, they’re forcing you (the polite one) to hold that schedule open for their maybe, when a confirmed “no” frees you up to do something else. I feel like a lot of people are willing to admit that it’s a confrontation-avoidance thing (for the mildest confrontation imaginable; how hard is it to just say “I can’t this weekend; but thanks for the invite!”), but because there are memes about it / it’s a common bad habit, people don’t actually try to overcome it anymore. It’s really inconsiderate to the other person.

        And hard agree that someone ignoring your message is a harsh / borderline demeaning cold shoulder, whereas saying “I can’t but thanks!” is totally neutral. As you can tell I have strong feelings about how childish this is to do to your friends.

        1. M*

          Honestly, I’m seeing this in wedding planning. So many friends (and myself) are getting married in the near future, and everyone is struggling to get people to RSVP. I mean, it’s really so much easier for the couple if you just answer, even if you say no. Not responding indicates that either you don’t care enough to respond, or you just think your convenience is the most important factor in the planning process. I feel the same about inviting people for dinner or other things. Just tell me if you’re going to be there!!

          1. Rayray*

            Yep, people just can not commit to
            Things anymore and also can’t just say no even if they know they won’t be going.

      2. talos*

        I do this occasionally, and a big part of it is that a lot of my invites to do stuff come in medium-large group chats, where it’s rude to pollute the chat with messages saying you can’t do a thing–the only time anyone wants those is if you were assumed to be coming and that assumption turns out to be wrong.

        I sometimes bring this etiquette elsewhere, where it’s less useful. But it’s not rude in all contexts.

      3. Aggretsuko*

        This keeps happening to me and it makes me so mad. You ignore my invites twice? Forget it, you don’t get invited EVER again, whereas I might consider if it if you just told me “No, but maybe another time.”

    3. mreasy*

      I also think enough people get horrible responses when they do decline that they’d rather just not risk it.

      1. HS Teacher*

        This. I definitely avoid confrontations now, but it’s because people are so unnecessarily nasty to each other. I’d rather not even deal. And if it’s for a job I’m no longer interested in, I could see myself blowing off an interview. It happened to me so many times when I was job seeking that I don’t feel like companies are owed any more respect from me than they showed me.

      2. my 8th name*

        I’m my situation, what could we have done? Demanded they move in? When people move their schedule around to be available to give you a tour, the least you could do is let us know you are uninterested. We also had in person ask to speak to the property manager and then ghost us which was frustrating because we could’ve offered the room to someone else. It’s just really inconsiderate and I don’t subscribe to the idea that we don’t owe people common courtesy.

  22. BJP*

    OP, you have a dilemma. I am sorry people are ghosting you. Some thoughts:

    1. In the comments, you say *your* salary is 2x as high as the competitor, but is it the same for the people you are trying to hire? How does their pay stack up to the other private-sector competitors — both in your industry and in other sectors to which they can credibly apply? (For instance, if I am a childcare worker making $12 and I can make $17 at an Amazon warehouse, I might switch sectors.)

    2. Are you trying to hire in a field that has been hard-hit by COVID? There are 700k dead Americans, and part of the labor shortage right now is that people in many of these high-risk fields literally died during the pandemic. Your labor pool might also be experiencing extreme burn-out.

    3. Is this a job that requires a college or specific degree? If so, you might want to start recruiting directly from programs that are graduating people with these qualifications as “a great first place to work,” highlighting the salary and benefits package. Can you also cover relocation?

    4. I wonder if you could reach out to some of the people who ghosted you and try to get a sense of why. Is there a way to send an anonymous survey? If the problem is entirely the travel and there’s no salary that could make up for it, think about how necessary that travel is. Is a remote worker better than no worker at all?

    1. AndersonDarling*

      Also, is the hiring process taking so long that candidates have already found a new job and moved on? If your hiring process takes 3 months from posting to offer, then other companies are hiring your best candidates before you can.

      1. BJP*

        Yep. My spouse is in a field where there is a talent shortage right now (a specific field of engineering). He recently applied for a job through a recruiter, got an interview the same week, interviewed, and was offered the job at the end of the in-person interview. He received another offer within days of interviewing at another company. Employers are moving fast fast fast, and then they want the candidates to accept fast fast fast so they don’t lose out on their second choice candidates.

        1. kk*

          This especially true in tech/engineering. My husband also went from learning about the job through a recruiter to being hired in less than a week.

      2. darlingpants*

        I’ve been part of about 10 interview panels this spring and summer, and I would say 6 of the candidates accepted another offer 24 hours-5 days after we interviewed them. I referred a friend to a different division and to get him to sign on they had to do all the interviews before his manager technically started on a Wednesday, then make the offer by Friday, then he accepted Monday, because he had a deadline for another (less desirable) job on Tuesday. People are moving really fast!

    2. OP*

      The non- profit started at $12hr, our biggest competitor offers $18hr, we offer $22hr. I don’t think our industry was hit super hard by the pandemic, but that could definitely be a possibility. We prefer someone with a degree, but it is not required if they have transferable skills. We have posted on Hand Shake and have reached out to some professors as well. I don’t think we cover relocation for this position.

      Unfortunately this isn’t a position that can be done remotely, it requires a lot of hands on activity.

      1. Not Today Satan*

        $22 an hour for that amount of travel seems really low, unless you pay for every hour in a hotel or travelling. In my region I’d expect a minimum of 75k for that amount of travel.

        1. Gerry Keay*

          Massive agree. Under $50k/year with that much travel? In this economy? In this pandemic? Absolutely the f not.

      2. BJP*

        OP, that works out to $45,760 per year assuming they are paid 52 weeks a year (i.e. have paid vacation / holidays). Reframe this in your head: you’re not competing for workers who make $12/hr, you’re competing against other jobs that pay $45k. How does that stack up to housing costs in your metro area? “Affordable” housing should be no more than 30% of take-home pay, so that works out to about $1k/mo.

        Relocation is a one-time cost; you could potentially tack on $1-2K in relocation to sweeten the deal for new graduates, allowing you to recruit from a broader geography. Some people do not have the cash to cover the actual move to start a job (security deposit, movers, etc.).

        If your potential hires have kids, there is still a daycare / childcare crisis in this country. A Mom would likely not be able to do the travel (since Moms tend to assume the bulk of the caring burden even with other childcare) and a Dad might get some *severe* side-eye from their spouse about being away that much.

        Bottom line: You need to expand where and how you recruit. Draw a 200-mile radius around your HQ, and contact every college and university in that circle. Emphasize the salary, benefits, and see if you can’t get some one-time relocation cash thrown in there. Start going to college job fairs and being visible as a place to work. Don’t just spam professors (they hate this) — work with actual career services / placement offices.

        1. Radical Edward*

          I think BJP nailed it. If recent grads are a big part of the candidate pool for this work, then connecting with career services at local/regional universities is important. Relocation bonus is a great idea too; I would have loved to move to another city or state after graduation but without some form of compensation it was literally easier for me to take a job overseas than one five hours away by car.

          Rewording the description of travel requirements sounds like a good idea too, based on your previous replies. As someone who has read countless job descriptions in a variety of fields, if I were to see ’50-75% travel’ listed next to the schedule as you described it, right off the bat I wouldn’t feel like I could trust that employer because it’s clear to me that their perception of what constitutes ’50-75%’ is verrrry different from mine.

      3. LKW*

        OK – a couple of questions & things to consider:

        1. Younger people are likely more able to travel that much, but a lot of people got pets on lockdown and can’t leave them for that long.
        2. I’m assuming all travel and associated costs are paid. Are you giving people the points from whatever reward systems they sign up with? If so, if the points go to the person – then put that in the ad. 8 hotel nights a month isn’t huge, but it adds up, especially since it’s 8 separate check ins. Same thing with rental cars. If you expect them to put the mileage on their cars, what are they able to charge back to the organization for gas/wear & tear?

        $40K-ish a year is frankly, not great – sure better than your competitors but not a lot to afford an apartment, car and still eat.

      4. Metadata minion*

        Honestly, it sounds like your industry is pretty drastically underpaying people across the board, given how much travel is involved. Your company may have great wages compared to your competitors, but recent grads are probably looking at the job posting and realizing there are other options in that salary bracket that don’t involve constant travel.

        1. Sacred Ground*

          So much this. I was job searching this summer in a high-COLA area. Jobs similar to what OP is describing (lots of driving AND customer service) paid $15-16/hr, which is just above minimum wage in my state, and required background checks, spotless driving record, and drug testing. I ghosted a few of these after applying. Now I’m working as a prep cook in a restaurant (no driving, no customer facing, no drug tests or background check beyond references) for $20/hr. And those driving jobs, per the job postings, are still unfilled.

      5. Koalafied*

        This may be more detail than you can give without getting too identifying, and isn’t likely relevant to your ghosting problem, but I’m super curious about what kind of work this is and whether they travel alone or with a colleague. $45K is a pretty decent/common entry-level salary in the major city where I live, but would be a fairly low one for so much travel…which made me realize, I don’t think I’ve seen very many entry level positions that require so much travel. It seems like it must be a lot harder to onboard inexperienced people new to the workforce when they’re out on their own 4 days a week compared to a seasoned pro who comes on board already knowing a lot about the industry and the work, unless maybe there’s a more senior colleague who travels to the same location and is able to provide training/onboarding support in the field.

      6. midnight cake*

        You want someone to give you multiple full days out of their week traveling for less than $50k a year? Would you want to give up your friends/family/hobbies/pets/whatever that often for that pay?

        1. Aggretsuko*

          And they want like 3 people to be doing this? Good luck with that. This sounds like a job that’s just not reasonable for most people to want to take.

      7. Anon for now*

        And, I suspect there lies the problem. The salaries are low enough that you are competing for talent not just in your own industry, but basically across every industry that is recruiting new grads and early career employees. And, I would bet no one else has this type of brutal travel schedule. I think the wage is more reasonable if the travel is twice a month as you noted you are hoping you might be able to get to, but it’s not yet that.

        For a job, where I’d be required to travel 80% of the time, even as a new grad I wouldn’t have done that for $22 an hour, especially when I could have gotten almost any job that paid a similar amount.

        It sounds like you are doing almost everything you can. And, I suspect your competitors are also struggling to attract talent as well, even if they don’t say that they are.

      8. Dezzi*

        I would absolutely not take that salary for a job that required 50-75% travel in the middle of a GLOBAL PANDEMIC. Would 45k be enough to convince you to risk your life (and the lives of everyone you live with) on a regular basis?

        That aside: 45k/year is not enough to cover the childcare arrangements that kind of travel requires, especially (again) as we’re in the middle of a GLOBAL PANDEMIC that has wreaked absolute havoc on peoples’ ability to find childcare. So you’re essentially ruling out parents or anyone who might be planning to have kids any time soon. Would you take a position that couldn’t be done online and required 50-75% travel if you had a child who could be switched from in-person school to online classes at a moment’s notice? Or whose daycare could close for two weeks at any time (not to mention, kids aren’t being allowed at daycare/preschool with so much as a sniffle these days, so you’d better be able to make alternate arrangements at the drop of a hat)? If you don’t have children: would that salary be enough for you to be willing to give up as much of your life as you would have to give up to travel that much?

        The world has changed in the last year and a half, and no one who has other options is going to take that salary for that job right now….and most people *are* going to have other options.

        1. Dezzi*

          Pandemic and childcare issues aside: people are going to make assumptions about what working for your company is like when they find out you’re paying that salary and requiring that much travel for an “entry-level” position (and if they don’t make those assumptions themselves, the people they talk to about the job before accepting it almost certainly will). Those assumptions are *not* going to be in your favor. I would advise you to think long and hard about what you’re asking of your employees. What is morale like in general? If I’m off-base and things are actually great–you need to do a better job of conveying that to applicants/potential applicants. Are you explaining to people what the promotion track looks like, how long they’d be expected to stay in this role before moving up to do something else, and what the positions they could move up into look like? Is there room for advancement in this role, and are you making that clear to people, or are they just assuming that if they came to work for you they’d be stuck for years in a low-paying job that’s going to prevent them from having anything like a normal life in the meantime?

      9. Ursula*

        I agree with the others, OP. High travel jobs are some of the hardest out there and are going to be the ones that people stop going for first. So even though your starting salary isn’t bad given the market right now, I expect that the premium you’ll have to pay to get people to travel has gone up way more than typical wages have gone up.

      10. Sarah*

        OP, I read in a different comment that this is in the DC metro area. If that’s the case, you are grossly underpaying people for this job. Other work that has this level of travel like accounting or consulting are starting undergrads in our area at 65k. You are 20k lower. You are starting people at a salary I started at 15 years ago with a much better total package. You desperately need to do a salary survey. DC has almost a 0% unemployment rate for white collar professionals.

      11. Mannequin*

        We live in a high COLA area that isn’t as high as DC and my husband makes $21/hr + excellent benefits and he *drives a forklift in a warehouse*.

        Y’all paying unskilled manual labor wages for a job that requires an insane amount of travel + an unreasonably high risk of exposure to covid.

        That’s your problem in a nutshell.

  23. eons*

    In Canada, if you’re on unemployment, you have to report every two weeks and say that you’ve made a “reasonable effort” to find employment. People often will send out resumes and schedule interviews knowing that they won’t attend just so they can legally say that they have “made an effort”. If there is something similar in your area, that could be a reason why this is happening.

  24. AndersonDarling*

    I’ve had that happen as well. I’m sit down and apply for relevant jobs, but when one of them reaches out, then I really take a hard look at the job ad. I tend to think the response was from that one awesome job, but then I look it up and am disappointed when it’s a boring job ad.
    I don’t need a flashy job description, but there are key phrases that resonate with me and make me think the job would be a good match. Things like “This position will take ownership of their work” or “Looking or someone who can communicate complex information.” When the job ad is just a list of responsibilities, then it makes me think that I’m just 1 of 100 on a list of generic candidates.

  25. CatPerson*

    Once I was ghosted by *my own manager* on a job *she asked me to apply for* on her own team! I interviewed for it and everything. Finally I contacted Recruiting (“has this job been filled, I have not heard anything?”) and they made her meet with me. That was on a Friday and the person they selected was to start on Monday. I guess she was just planning to let me figure it out myself when she started.

    I have had some really bad managers in the past!

    1. Sarah*

      Yeah, my boss announced in a large staff meeting the person he was bringing in from outside for a job I had applied to and kept being told they were still arranging interviews for.

  26. WomEngineer*

    Questions for OP: Are candidates providing reasons for declining interviews? If not, is it possible to survey their experiences with your hiring process?

    Also how long is it taking between the time a candidate applies and the time they hear back about an interview? As a recent job seeker, I usually heard back within 2-3 weeks if they wanted an interview. A lot can happen in that time.

    1. OP*

      I don’t think I’ve gotten anyone actually say no to the interview, just no responses to the interview offers. I check our indeed account and our website portal pretty much everyday, so I’m sending interview offers within 24-48 hours of receiving an application at most.

      1. Koalafied*

        Have you tested sending an email to say, the Gmail or Yahoo account of someone who doesn’t work at the company? With non-responses being such a big factor my mind goes to the possibility that your messages are being caught in a spam filter. This could be true even if test messages you send to yourself or a coworker go through without issue, because nowadays email spam filters give a lot of weight to your individual behavior in determining what’s spam or not, so someone routinely opening and engaging with emails from or mentioning your company by name could easily be receiving messages that are going to spam for people who rarely or never do.

  27. Forkeater*

    Another thought, I’ve noticed a shift in my interview this year, where I am told nothing about the job itself in the interview – these are not phone screens either but actual search committee emails. In the past when I interviewed I feel like it normally had a set script: first the interviewers would tell me a little about the company, the office, and the role. Something more than in the job posting. Then they would ask me the classic “tell us about yourself” opener and I would summarize my career and interest in the position, then we would move onto formal questioning with some chance for me to ask questions at the end. Now my interviews are 100% answering their questions and zero them telling me about themselves or the job. If I got an offer from a place that interviewed like that, I would not accept. You’ve got to woo me a little, I’m mid career making six figures with great benefits. Why should I make a change now?

      1. Former Usher*

        I was too busy agreeing with your content to notice any typos. My most recent interview was like this (ultimately I was offered and accepted the job, but had worked there before). Panel interview sessions were the worst; just a loop of each interviewer taking turns asking me questions.

    1. irene adler*

      No room for me -the candidate- to ask them questions!

      At many of the big companies I interviewed at, they would book back-to-back interviews of 30 min each with each one of the interviewers. At each interview, I was peppered with questions. As the time grew close to the 30 minute mark, there was no slow-down of these questions, no indication there would be time for me to ask questions. Then the next interviewer showed up while the current one signed-off (zoom format).

      No chance for me to get in any questions. I did ask -at the beginning of the interview -if there’d be time for my questions. I was told there would be- but instead they took up all the time with their questions.

      And we can’t run over the 30 minutes allotted for each interview!

      Only thing I can conclude is that they are hiding something. I wonder if they are concerned that I believe this about them.

    2. Not Today Satan*

      Yeah I’ve had 4 interviews in recent months and only one of them opened with the “let me tell you about the company and the position” thing. Then at the end they’ll ask what my questions are and I’m like…. what is the hecking job?!? I’ve obviously read the description but those don’t mean much.

    3. Khatul Madame*

      What would they tell you about the company that you can’t find yourself on the company website? People will not air the org’s dirty laundry at your interview.
      Clarification of the job would be nice, I agree… except many jobs change even in the short time between interview and the first day of work.

      1. Forkeater*

        IDK, I’ve been working for 30 years and interviewing for most of those years because I like to see what’s out there, and everyone until this year has opened with info, if not about the company, at least telling me more about the department, which is not necessarily listed on the webpage. How big it is, how it fits into the company as a whole, and then about the role will be how it fits into the department. I’m not looking for dirty laundry, I’ll tap my network for that, I’m looking more for organizational structure and priorities. Certainly I’ll ask those questions on my own but people used to volunteer information about their organizations and now they’re not.

        1. Watry*

          And sometimes it’s not even that. I have the exact same job description as a friend of mine in another department, but our actual jobs are wildly different. When I first came on, my job description was the same as one of my immediate coworkers, but she does a restricted version of my current position and I was basically data entry.

  28. DG*

    Something similar has been happening with our intern pool. We hire rising college seniors or graduate students one year out from graduating as interns, and give them offers at the end of the summer to come back full time the next year. I know of at least three who have signed and accepted an offer with us, only to end up taking a full-time offer elsewhere, which leaves us scrambling to fill a spot we thought we had someone allocated to.

  29. Two Chairs, One to Go*

    It’s been mentioned already but 75% travel is a lot, especially right now when many are still avoiding travel. That might prompt people to self-select out of the process resulting in less applicants overall.

    1. AnotherAlison*

      Agreed. This is entry level. The OP is comparing salaries to the non profit and competitors. Entry level people have tons of options because they aren’t constrained by experience in an industry or role. Unless Someone was a self selected travel fan, I can’t see someone picking 75% travel vs 0% travel for a dollar or two less. I am at the other end of the career spectrum, but observations seem like the job market is extra strong at this point on the pay scale.

      Even my own brand new job moved very quickly and offered a highly competitive salary ($40k more than my existing job).

      1. CBB*

        Entry level people have tons of options

        That’s a really good point. Especially considering that a lot of young people have the option of living with little-to-no income. If my 20-something child were offered LW’s job (on the road 4 days a week, $22/hour), I would advise him to keep looking, even if it meant him continuing to live with me.

        (To be clear, I would advise him to decline politely, not ghost.)

      2. Kiko*

        And the very type of person who would be into this level of travel are the people who go into consulting (among several other careers). But, consultants typically pay entry level people ~60-70k depending on location. OP mentions their salary range is about ~45k. That’s a huge difference for a fresh grad.

  30. pancakes*

    It’s very good that some employers have decided to invest more in compensation, but I’m wondering if some of these ghosting incidents don’t involve people getting sick. Officially around 700,000 people in the US have died of COVID. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if it eventually becomes clear that we’ve been under-counting. We know for a fact right now that several states are not cooperative about providing data.

      1. Liz*

        Agree, plus the hundreds of thousands of people struggling with long COVID. I’m guessing that between the dead and COVID-disabled (accounting for the fact that some victims were already retired or outside the workforce) we’ve lost about a million workers in less than two years.

        1. Lynn*

          I would agree.

          At least in my social group, I am also seeing a lot of people who might have been willing and able to work another 10 years who are instead figuring out how to retire now, or how to retire the minute they get laid off instead of looking for work. I am part of this group-if I get laid off, I will retire rather than seriously pursuing another job.

          I am not sure if my group is an anomaly (it requires a certain level of income/savings to be able to consider this) or if it is fairly widespread.

          1. Loredena Frisealach*

            This. I just changed jobs for a promotion/increase in pay – but the truth is I’m burnt out and reconsidering my life. I’d like to work another 5-10 years from a health insurance perspective, but from a life one even 5 is a painful thought right now. If I were to be unexpectedly laid off I’d be seriously considering early retirement!

        2. pancakes*

          That too – “still alive” and “ready to return to work” aren’t necessarily the same!

    1. AnonPi*

      Well and I’m wondering if part of the problem is this job requires a lot of travel, something generally advised against due to COVID unless necessary. People may be initially applying, then reconsidering once they think about it.

      1. pancakes*

        Definitely a possibility. It’s not my intention to suggest that illness is the only possible explanation for why this happens.

  31. irene adler*

    Nine out of 30 responded to an interview invitation?

    That seems low. I would expect some to ‘ghost’ AFTER an initial interview, as they have learned about the position and decided it is not for them. Not polite to do this to a prospective employer.

    Wondering if there’s some “bad reputation” information out there that folks are aware of- that the LW may not know about. So they apply, and once an interview invitation is issued, they do some checking (like Glassdoor reviews or local ‘lore’ about the company) and then decide not to pursue.

  32. Nicole*

    I’m so glad workers are finally getting the upper hand. I really hope this trend continues and hopefully we all come out better off in the end.

    1. kk*

      Same. I’ve got very little sympathy for employers right now. I know it’s ultimately harder in practice on the employees who are short staffed, but I can’t help but have a little schadenfreude.

    2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Maybe this will help employers clean up their act. Honestly, in all my years working and interviewing for jobs, I’ve only had a handful of companies get back to me after an interview. I’ve had so many just go AWOL after an interview that, until I started seeing it referred to on AAM as ghosting, I thought that it was normal employer behavior, and that a company getting back to a candidate to say they were not proceeding, was going the extra mile and never something to be expected.

    3. The Smiling Pug*

      This +100. This is one of the many reasons I’ve started a personal venture, a podcast, because I knew that I needed another set of skills to fall back on after I leave my current job.

    4. Art3mis*

      Agreed. And it’s not been just years that employers have been doing this, it’s been decades. I realize it’s not OP’s doing, but at the same time I’m wondering where I left my tiny violin.

  33. Macaroni Penguine*

    Hi OP, is your organization listing the salary range on your job postings? Showing that information up front may reduce the number of No Shows. Prospective candidates can opt out early by not sending in a resume in the first place. Also, why are some candidates failing their background checks? If the job needs something like a clear Vulnerable Sector check, also list that mandatory requirement in the advertisement. I don’t know if this is the new normal, but there could be ways to increase the quality of your candidate pool.

    1. OP*

      Salary and benefits are listed in the job posting and we call out needing to pass a background check and drug test. The two that failed- one lied about working for a competitor, they interviewed him but didn’t hire him. The other failed the drug test (not weed), and was fired from last job for drinking at work.

      1. Loredena Frisealach*

        I think your job posting should probably also state something on the lines of — currently 80% but with a plan to reduce to 50% in the next 3 months. Because honestly? I used to travel Monday – Friday and I was ok with it when it was fly out/fly back — but the day trippers, which is what your job is, were paid *significantly* more because that type of travel is brutal. I made much more than you are offering, and would NOT have agreed to that travel schedule unless assured it was a short-term situation.

        1. Macaroni Penguin*

          Yeah, based on other comments, this job sounds like it involves a lot of travel. The job structure itself may not be particularly appealing. Especially if the travel expectations and hours of operations aren’t precisely described in the job posting. I’d be less than enthused if I applied for a job expecting 50-75% travel and it was actually 80%.

  34. Ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

    So many ppl are averse to phone calls or emails. My own two post-millennial children have me proofread every “official” email then send but have no issue communicating on Reddit or other forms of chat.

    If you have a employer-provided phone, offer the candidates the possibility of texting to let you know of cancellations or changes. Not sure if that would work. (But if the requires communication by phone or well worded emails, this aversion to phones/emails won’t make them good candidates!)

    While this tit for tat behaviour towards employers who seemed to hold all the cards before may feel satisfying on some level, I wonder if it will bite future job seekers down the line. Or, maybe everyone will eventually stop ghosting.

    1. Mannequin*

      My take is that if employers don’t like being ghosted, it’s a clue to start treating job seekers with a LOT more respect.

  35. CleverGirl*

    Honestly I LOVE seeing potential employees treating employers the way employers have been treating their candidates for years! And then seeing the employers get all upset about it like they haven’t been behaving exactly the same way. (I mean this in general, not about everyone or the specific OP, because some hiring managers, like Alison, were never like this.) I really really hope that employers learn a lesson from this and start respecting job seekers a little more (although TBH I’m not optimistic).

    1. Be Better*

      It’s wrong to ghost people. Just because someone else does something bad doesn’t mean it’s OK to replicate the bad behavior. What happened to treat people the way you would like to be treated.

      I don’t even know how to respond to someone who LOVES and is encouraging this behavior.

      1. Gerry Keay*

        I think your comment of “treat others the way you want to be treated” should be directed at *employers,* not candidates. If employers wanted to be treated better, they shouldn’t have spend the last 3 decades treating candidates with such little humanity. You can’t treat an entire class of people like crap for decades, strip them of workers rights and protections, and then be upset when we don’t show enough deference to the people asking us to beg for work.

      2. CleverGirl*

        I didn’t say I was encouraging it, just that I love seeing it happen and the way employers are suddenly losing their minds about being ghosted when they’ve been doing the exact same thing to people for decades. It was fine when they did it to people but now that it’s being done to them they are suddenly getting all upset about how rude it is.

        Back in 2018 my husband had a series of interviews with a company, culminating in a day-long interview where he met with like 8 different people and the team he would be working with, got a tour of the facility, saw the cafeteria, etc, and then…. nothing. Even after that amount of effort on their part for an interview they couldn’t bother with an email or phone call saying “we went with another candidate.” Even when he followed up asking about it he didn’t get a reply. I think it would be appropriate karma if this company were getting ghosted for interviews now. Honestly, I hope they are.

        I also think a company ghosting a candidate is MUCH more harmful to that individual’s life than a candidate ghosting a company. Most people are lucky if they are seriously interviewing with more than one place at a time, while most companies interview a giant group of candidates at the same time. One or 2 candidates ghosting isn’t going to ruin anyone in the company’s life, but not be able to get a job (and being treated like crap by the companies you apply to) can cause someone to lose their house, healthcare, and not be able to support their family. So it may be “wrong” but the level of wrong is different depending on who is doing it.

        1. Jam Today*

          As someone else above pointed out, hiring managers are being paid to deal with this. Job applicants are definitely *not* getting paid to deal with getting jerked around by shady would-be employers.

      3. TyphoidMary ( username seems in bad taste now)*

        when there is an imbalance of power, the equivalency no longer stands

    2. pancakes*

      I would like to see the balance of power between employers and employees shift drastically, in all sorts of ways, but rudeness on either side seems extremely unlikely to get us there. What people take away from being treated badly, in general, is that being treated badly is commonplace. Very few people take it as a cue to hold themselves to a higher standard.

      1. CleverGirl*

        Sure but the fact that job seekers can afford to be rude means that they have lots of opportunities right now and they don’t feel like they have to grovel and suck up to any place that will generously grant them an interview. And I love that that is the case right now.

        1. pancakes*

          I hope that’s the case, but I think it’s too soon to tell. A couple of articles and anecdotes here and there don’t necessarily signify a serious or long-lasting shift in the power balance.

      2. TyphoidMary ( username seems in bad taste now)*

        actually rudeness has historically been one of the most effective ways to promote social change.

        1. UnionPres*

          Yes! It’s like the statement “well-behaved women rarely make history,” but it’s true for any demographic and progressive movement. Generally, any behavior, no matter how polite or civil by the have-nots to challenge the status quo, will be labeled by the haves as impolite. Just look at how employers lose their minds when employees try to unionize. Them asking us to be “polite” and “civil” to them while they trod on our rights is a false equivalence.

      3. Sacred Ground*

        I don’t see it as rudeness. I see it as conforming to a new business communication standard in which ghosting during the hiring process is now acceptable. It has become so because of employers doing it ALL THE DAMN TIME.

  36. JB*

    I did ghost a company one time after the hiring manager (no HR, apparently – it was some kind of start-up):
    1. Was unaware and confused in the phone interview to discover I had not applied to the position (his boss had hired a head-hunter who had reached out to me/pulled my resume from Indeed)
    2. Spent most of the interview telling me how he likes to call all of the people on the team his ‘ninjas’ and how they needed a ‘statistics ninja’, never really explained what the role would actually do (this was also not explained in any clear way by the headhunter who connected us, so I got the impression they really weren’t sure what they wanted).
    3. Asked me for available days for a follow-up interview and then scheduled it for specifically the one day I told him I would not be available.

    I don’t make my resume publically available on Indeed any more because the whole situation was so obnoxious.

      1. North Wind*

        Yes, I’m reading the comments where folks are saying that job descriptions are boring and candidates need to be wooed, and I’m thinking oh god please no more job descriptions trying to sound cool, saying they need a master data ninja and promising a fun environment with ping pong tables and a Chief Popcorn Officer.

        (I’m guessing that’s not what the commenters mean, but worried it’s what the job description writers will hear).

      2. CleverGirl*

        I got an email from a recruiter once saying they were looking for a “Data Analytics Jedi” and I laughed and laughed and laughed.

    1. Leela*

      I don’t make my resume publicly available on Indeed anymore because I keep getting really desperate recruiters hiring for a field I haven’t worked in for years, in a country I no longer live in, and even then, the people who did take my resume off of Indeed keep it in their system and I kept getting my inbox flooded with requests from those recruiters even if I’d said many times “please remove me from your system, I don’t work in that field anymore, I don’t live in that country anymore”

  37. Salad Daisy*

    I got a call on a Friday afternoon from a law firm that found my resume online. They described the job, I said I was interested, and they did a very brief phone interview. Then they asked if I could come in the following week for an in-person interview. I said yes, and they said they would call me back on Monday to set up a time. Then……nothing.

    It’s not just job-hunters who are rude.

  38. Bookworm*

    I agree it does suck as someone who has been on the other side (job-seeker who has been ghosted after interviews with no explanation).

    But with respect, employers have brought this onto themselves. This is a lack of etiquette that’s really obnoxious. If it’s just going to end this way, why should a job-seeker bother with all the effort? It’s intellectual/physical/financial with interview prep, travel to location (pre-COVID and maybe even now), dry cleaning and/or other related expenses. If employers can’t be bothered to send a form email then why?

    I would also ask if there might be something, anything in the job description or organization that might give them pause, too. I once had a super rude VM left for me complaining she had to look up my phone number on my resume to confirm she was, indeed, calling the right person. I did send an email to reply to let them know, “no thanks” but my point is: maybe there’s something that comes up as a flag for the applicant after when it’s all said and done.

    This is a two-way street and employers are finally getting a taste of what it’s been like.

  39. LizzyLou*

    Yeah, given how many jobs I took the time and resources to apply to, research and show up for an interview who then never bothered to thank me for my time or let me know they filled the position, I can’t even summon up a little bit of empathy for this.

    1. The Smiling Pug*

      This happened to my mom one time before she retired. She had a phone-interview on a Friday, and they told her to show up in person on Monday. The business was across town, so she walked to the bus stop, changed buses and got there on time, only to be told by the Hiring Manager, “We’ve filled this position.”

      1. Former Young Lady*

        I took time off work once to interview for a job across town. I didn’t have a car, so my best friend drove me as a favor, and I planned to grab transit back afterward.

        They hadn’t told me on the phone that it would be a 15-minute “group interview” with other candidates, followed by another 15-20 minutes waiting my turn to speak to the hiring manager. When she finally called me in and sat me down, she abruptly explained that my stated scheduling availability (from the original online application) wasn’t compatible with their desired coverage, so they wouldn’t be moving forward with me. Then she asked if I knew my way out.

        I wonder what they did to the rest of the poor suckers in that group interview.

    2. datamuse*

      It honestly boggles me that employers do this. The software we use for processing applications at my work literally has a button you can click to e-mail everyone who wasn’t selected (and if I’ve actually interviewed them, I write them a personal e-mail thanking them for their time).

      Academic hiring processes take forever and I have limited ability to affect that, but at least people’s applications don’t disappear into the void.

  40. Skippy*

    Ghosting has just gotten so much worse on both ends. I’ve done several job searches over the last 15-20 years, and this most recent one was the absolute worst when it came to employers failing to reach out, even after multiple rounds of interviews.

    This was also the first time I’ve had hiring managers or HR staff fail to even show up for a scheduled phone call or Zoom meeting, and then completely ignore my follow up emails.

    I’ll never quite understand why people think it’s so hard to write a simple email that says, “sorry, not interested.”

  41. berto*

    It’s everywhere, I am in the private sector and we have the same problem. Guess what, we underpay. get 1-2 LinkedIn messages a week from recruiters who never follow up and never return messages when I reply. One guy scheduled a phone call and no-showed twice. At this point I won’t even respond to anyone who reaches out to me unless they can commit to at least an initial conversation.

    1. The Smiling Pug*

      And it’s behavior like this that makes me cry at the thought of seriously job-hunting. I’m already stressed, I don’t need no-show prospective employers compounding that. :(

  42. Bethie*

    We have had something similar in one of our divisions, mostly due to pay and education requirements. Needing an accounting degree in a major southern city and paying 20-30k less than what other for-profit agencies pay. We recently gave an offer to a contractor who turned it down, because he’s young/single and would rather have the salary that comes with contracting that the retirement/benefits. I could make a ton more in the private sector, but I am not young/single and need those benefts! But I have started asking the interviewers what they like about their job. What does it fulfill for them. Because I love my job and want to move up, but not at the expense of doing something that sucks. And my job is super fulfilling to me personally.

  43. Bethie*

    Just to add, and its probably not 50% of people applying. But we hired a guy who didnt show on the first day. Turned out he died. I didnt interview him, but my boss spent days trying to find a contact person for him so we could send flowers.

  44. A_Jess*

    I understand the frustration but my sympathy is kinda limited.
    I once was ghosted by a prestigious (wealthy) university after a half day of in person interviews with about 20 people.

  45. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

    We’ve had it a fair bit too, but not to a worrying extent.

    One thing I think helps is being as transparent as possible about the job both at advertising stage and at the ‘we’d like to call you for interview stage’. Our lot have put together (I have to run this stuff past HR) a more detailed job description that used to just mention ‘travel’ but now includes stuff like ‘typically one day a week spent driving to a site up to 80 miles away, no overnight stays needed’.

    Also at the interview offer stage we put in details of our company’s Covid protection and safety procedures – like how we mandate masks, distancing, really really want people to get vaccinated- it seems to make people feel a bit safer.

  46. Sleet Feet*

    You mention paying more then the max did for the non profit… that’s not a sign you have good pay or benefits.

    I only bring this up because everywhere I have ever worked think they have grewt pay and benefits when they really don’t.

    I do back office work that typically takes 40-45 hours a week and requires a bachelor’s degree and 7 years experience. I make $80k, get 5 and half weeks of PTO a year, 5% 1:1 401k match, 5% employer deposit in 401k regardless of matching, the employer covers 90% of the insurance premiums, has 2 weeks paid maternity leave, an annual 6% bonus, COL adjustment of 2%, and annual raise of around 3%. This is in the US and is what I consider very competitive in today’s market. There are a lot of other side benefits as well. I live in a cheap city with affordable housing.

    Lastly please take a look at what the application system is requiring. I’m more likely to bail if: you want an application, cover letter, and resume before you even talk to me. You want a personality assessment. You want to jump straight to an in person interview without a phone screen. You gave me less then 3 days notice about the on site interview or where cavelier/non apologetic about changing the time within the last day. You have missed a call or appointment with no acknowledgement. You have sent a skills test I suspect will take more then 3 hours to complete.

    But honestly even if you are an amazing employer with a great application experience you may still get ghosted in this market. I just wouldn’t expect it to be such a large portion. I think that’s a sign the application process is off putting somewhere.

    1. Scooter*

      What’s the timeline for the hiring process? I recently changed jobs. I grew frustrated quickly with organization that did endless rounds of interviews or the process took months. If you take too long, you’re losing candidates to organizations that can move through the process and make a decision quickly.

    2. Guin*

      Isn’t it standard to submit an application, cover letter, and resume BEFORE the employer calls you? How would they know you’re applying for the job?

      1. allathian*

        Cultures vary, in some places it’s standard practice to put the hiring manager’s or an HR employee’s phone number on the job posting, usually with stated times when these people are available for a “phone screen”. In such cases, interested applicants are expected to call before applying, and to reference the call in their cover letter. Saves a lot of time if you call and decide that it’s not worth applying…

  47. ExhaustedEditor*

    I’ve seen this too. One person interviewed, seemed eager and then disappeared.

    The other applied, we reached out, and never replied. Although in that circumstance I get it because that person was waaaaaay over qualified for the position they were applying for, and it represented a huge career change for them.

    It’s annoying because we’re short staffed. It’s an industry-wide thing, COVID made it easy to get what were usually in-demand jobs, so the lower-level orgs can’t find candidates.

  48. CommanderBanana*

    My, how the turns have tabled.

    My org recently got blasted on Glassdoor for a similar reason – having someone go through three interviews and then just ghosting them.

    1. cncx*

      this is why when i got rejected for a job where i was shortlisted and not ghosted i made it a point to go on glassdoor and give the company props because they stuck to their timelines (told me their decision the day they said they would make one), only three interviews, total transparency, no extra paperwork…i wanted people to know that even though i didn’t get the job they respected applicants.

  49. bf*

    I’m also experiencing this and have been for about 6 months. I’m hiring for multiple hourly entry-level manufacturing jobs, well above local minimum wage with PTO, benefits, etc. If I reach out for an brief phone interview, only 50% respond. If I set up the interview, it’s no longer shocking when someone doesn’t answer the phone. We also do a paid trial shift to ensure the skills are there for the detailed hands-on work our team does – if I offer a trial, barely any one shows up. THEN once I offer a job…. nothing. No response. I don’t get it. :(

    1. Observer*

      Honestly, I’m not surprised that you are having issues. Unless someone is unemployed, trials are a bad idea for most people. So, it’s not surprising that people don’t show.

    2. Gerry Keay*

      Please reconsider trials, they’re terrible for employees. The options are “quit my job for something that might not even work out” or “eat up my vacation time that I may or may not have to audition for a job that might not work out.” If there are necessary hands-on skills, do an assignment or a skills test *during* the interview process.

    3. Perfectly Cromulent Name*

      A trial shift? No. I’d have to take a day off to do that, and that might be difficult to do.

    4. CCC*

      I work in career services at a community college in a manufacturing heavy area. In case it helps at all, here’s the feedback I get from job seekers interested in that kind of thing. Your competition for workers isn’t other manufacturers– it’s Amazon and other warehouses. If your pay isn’t significantly higher, then your working conditions, management, overtime policies (particularly mandatory overtime), scheduling policies, opportunities for further education, promotion opportunities, safety, etc. have to be fabulous (and you’ll have to advertise your openings and perks like mad). Here, Amazon is paying a $3k sign on bonus and more than twice the state minimum wage. If you can do well what Amazon does poorly that would be potentially really attractive.

      Also, why do you need a trial for an entry level job? Why aren’t you just doing a skills test?

      1. Observer*

        Also, why do you need a trial for an entry level job? Why aren’t you just doing a skills test?

        That’s such a good question that it makes me wonder about the attitude of bf’s employer.

    5. Dezzi*

      You’re expecting people to use their (potentially very limited, especially if they’ve had to take a bunch of time off for COVID-related reasons) PTO to come do a trial shift for you? Seriously? And how much notice are you giving them to set that up? The vast majority of people can’t just take time off from their current jobs at the drop of a hat, and if you’re coming off as someone who doesn’t understand that….it’s not really surprising that you’re not getting people wanting to work for you.

    6. Chaordic One*

      A trial might work for someone who is unemployed, but it isn’t going to work for someone who already has a job. They aren’t going to take the risk that it won’t work out and I don’t blame them.

    7. Mouse House*

      Out of curiosity, does your liability insurance know you’re putting people into a manufacturing environment with no safety training? Because that seems like a terrible idea. If I were a potential employee and found out you were being that cavalier about workers’ safety, you’d never hear from me again either.

  50. Koalafied*

    Is the trial shift mandatory? I’m wondering how that would work for someone who’s already employed, if they’d have to take PTO from their regular job or squeeze it in on top of their existing full-time work, that could be turning people off.

  51. Lizy*

    Something I haven’t seen mentioned yet… are employees required/encouraged to work in the evenings after they get to the hotel/destination? Are they allowed flex-time for when they travel (i.e., travelled M-Th, so they can take off Friday). And as a lot of others have said – that’s a LOT of travel.

    If I interviewed for this, after thinking it was 2-3 days of travel a week, only to find out it’s really more like 3-4 days PLUS 2-3 nights of travel, that’s a very different story, and I’d be seriously reconsidering. It may not necessarily be the travel itself, but more that the travel is overnight. Throw in that you still expect them to be in the office Friday and… that’s a lot of time spent away from home.

    Could any of the travel actually be done in 1 day, cutting out an overnight stay? Or, could the person NOT work a full day on Fridays (or whatever day)? If you can allow for a bit more flexibility, you might have more luck in hiring.

    Also, if your focus is on “younger” hires, you may want to consider promoting the benefits of travelling, too. Think outside of the box! For example, throw in event tickets as a perk. Going to Kansas City in June? Make sure it’s on a night the Royals are playing and gift the employee a ticket to the game. Or, since it’s driving, make it clear/known that they can have someone else go with them, and be sure to provide a ticket for them, too. I’d feel a lot different about travel if I knew my company was trying to make it as pleasant as possible. Bribery – it’s not just for toddlers. ;)

    1. Kella*

      I believe the OP said further up that all traveling is done during business hours and is paid time. The trips sound to be around 4 hours of driving so the only way to pack that in one day is to make them drive outside of business hours, and 8 hours of driving in one day PLUS work would be terrible!

  52. Prefer my pets*

    So the letter (presumably job announcement) says 50-75% travel which is already verging on crazy when we aren’t in the midst of a pandemic. Then in comments you say the travel is actually 4 out of 5 days (every day except Friday) which is actually 80%.

    Prepandemic, you’d no doubt get a fair number of applicants who were fine with that since it’s entry level and they quite probably have roommates and limited constraints like kids & pets.

    In a pandemic, people are now making the calculation of “do I want to substantially increase my exposure to delta and risk getting long covid even if my vaccine protects me from death?”

    That’s going to reduce your pool to a) those who are desperate and will jump at another offer and b) those who aren’t necessarily the sharpest tools in the shed to start with & who don’t have much concern for others as their general baseline.

    I’m sorry, but I really think the reality of hiring for a position with travel pre & post pandemic hasn’t been accounted for.

    1. Loredena Frisealach*

      “In a pandemic, people are now making the calculation of “do I want to substantially increase my exposure to delta and risk getting long covid even if my vaccine protects me from death?”

      That’s going to reduce your pool to a) those who are desperate and will jump at another offer and b) those who aren’t necessarily the sharpest tools in the shed to start with & who don’t have much concern for others as their general baseline.”

      This is an excellent point! I’m fully remote, and while theoretically I might have to travel to a client site I know that my current client doesn’t want that – so I’m guaranteed no travel till Oct 22. But so long as we are in a pandemic, I would not take a high travel position. Someone who is entry-level might be more willing to consider it – but the more we hear about how virulent the delta variant is the less likely that becomes!

    2. MarsJenkar*

      That goes double or more if any of the travel includes especially at-risk areas of the country. I’ve gotten vaccinated but I don’t want to put myself at more risk than necessary (so I still wear a mask when out), and I would think that people who’ve gotten the vaccine are (on average) more cautious about getting exposed, especially with Delta about.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        Yeah, this is not the time where anyone who’s rational wants to travel to Texas and Florida.

    3. CCC*

      Good point– if you’re going to require travel, I certainly hope that the position has 2 weeks at a minimum paid sick time starting day 1.

    4. James*

      It depends on the industry. For some–environmental remediation, certain types of construction, and a few others–it’s hard to sample a well or install a turbine blade remotely. The pandemic is irrelevant; EPA 90 day clocks on haz waste don’t stop (though they allow a 30-day extension), and federal funding dries up on the due date (a factor in some construction). Obviously other industries will face similar challenges–you can’t run a food bank, or a free clinic, or…well, do most charity work remotely. I’d argue that being able to work remotely is a luxury, not the norm, for many industries that routinely have extensive travel for new hires.

      1. Prefer my pets*

        Sure. But entry level people aren’t yet tied to a particular career ladder yet. If a job with a crapload of travel pays $22/hr, and a job with no travel and only day trips to outdoor sites pays $15/hr, a lot of people are going decide their safety and reduced hassle is worth the lower pay.

        1. James*

          “But entry level people aren’t yet tied to a particular career ladder yet.”

          It depends. A new geologist is going to have to travel, full stop–there’s almost no options for non-traveling positions, and the ones that do exist usually are horrible. Same with certain types of engineers–you’re expected to go where the work is. You can go with whatever company you want, and listen to whatever sales pitch they have, but you’ll end up traveling in those career paths regardless. In those cases it’s sometimes (not always) worth it to take the extra money.

          The other thing is, the loss in pay is going to last longer than the pandemic will. There are relatively easy steps one can take to limit exposure to Covid-19, especially now that we have a more clear understanding of the disease. Don’t go out for drinks after work; stay outside, more than six feet away from folks; wear a mask if you must be inside; get vaccinated. A good argument can be made that because this is a work requirement the employer is obligated to provide the PPE. I’ve actually increased travel during the pandemic due to the nature of my job–people weren’t in the areas where we had to remove contaminated soil, and we’re trained and equipped to deal with things FAR more deadly than Covid, so it was agreed that we’d hit our work as hard as we could while the world was shut down. The only person on our team to catch it caught it from his room mate. The mitigation measures weren’t onerous; in fact, they saved me quite a bit of money and probably improved my eating habits, since I couldn’t eat out.

          I’ll agree that some people are going to decide that the lost of nearly $15k/year (and the subsequent reduction in salary over one’s lifetime that this will entail) is worth it to marginally reduce their risk for the next year or so, but it seems a bit extreme.

          1. Mannequin*

            It doesn’t seem extreme when 700k+ Americans have already DIED from covid.
            Some of us value our life & health more than ANY amount of money.

  53. Student*

    Question for the OP: Do you have a good admin working behind the scenes to make the mechanics of the interviews go smoothly for you and the candidates? Maybe there was someone doing this work at your last job, but no one does it for you in this new job and you haven’t started doing it for yourself.

    It’s a pandemic, year 2. People are at their wits’ end – all the people, on your end and on the applicant’s end. Even without the pandemic, having somebody make sure all the little details are ironed out for a hiring process can be extremely helpful. Moving work online disrupted a lot of normal business practices, and hiring is no exception; maybe things in your new job broke and never got put back together. Review your hiring process: look at your job application portal and step through what a candidate would have to do to apply for your job posting; ask for samples of information being supplied to candidates if you haven’t seen them already. Make it as easy as possible for the job candidates to get back to you.

    Any chance that your interview instructions are unclear; have you had someone else review them? Are responses from the candidates going to the wrong person, or the wrong email, or the wrong phone line? Are you asking candidates to use a video conferencing software that they may not have access to, or that they are less likely to be familiar with? If so, can you switch to phone interviews instead of video interviews? Do you send written notices and calendar invites to confirm your meeting times? Have you tried sending out a meeting reminder the day before an interview?

    If you’re interviewing in person, are you giving clear instructions on where to meet, where to park, how to get there, and what the meeting’s COVID protocols are?

  54. Dezzi*

    One tip if you find no one is answering/returning your calls–check and make sure your phone number isn’t getting flagged as a potential spam call! Lots of carriers have started flagging calls as potential spam due to the absolute *barrage* of robot/spam/scam calls people are getting. We’ve been having major issues at work because Verizon (who we use for everyone’s work cell phones) flags all calls from our IT HelpDesk. The number doesn’t even show up on the screen when they call, it just says “potential spam caller.” Needless to say, no one’s been answering calls from the HelpDesk lately! It’s been driving the IT department nuts.

  55. Canadian Valkyrie.*

    But why would someone apply for a job that presumably said X% of travel required? The wording indicates that travel was known (eg stated in the job description). I wouldn’t apply for a job requiring that much travel personally so genuinely curious. Do people actually try to negotiate down the level of travel?

    I’m also wondering if maybe it seems out of touch to not offer virtual interviews for any round of interviews outside of maybe a higher level job when you’ve done at least 1 interview and it’s down to the top 2 or something. It could’ve been more a reaction akin to “seriously? You want me to travel in this day and age for an initial interview? Are you joking?” Bearing in mind, in my field I would never be asked to travel for an interview and I don’t know anyone else being routinely asked to travel for interviews unless it’s for some hard core high level / moderately senior or specialist job.

    Finally, maybe the company didn’t offer to pay for travel. I’d be pissed AF if, on top of being out of touch and expecting people to travel for an interview, I was also being asked to foot the bill.

    Clearly all of these variables were ok with someone else but I do wonder if this is a possible red flag that the OP has inherited a messed up hiring process and possibly a set of out of touch corporate practices.

  56. Beautiful, talented, brilliant, powerful musk-ox*

    Is it terrible that my knee jerk reaction to this was, “Hahaha, here’s a taste of your own medicine!” because of how many job hunters have stories like this about their interviewers/recruiters?

    I’ve only ghosted once. It was about four years ago. I was unemployed, so if I turned down what the state deemed a reasonable offer, I’d lose my unemployment benefits, which was the only income I had at the time. I had an interview with this company and got a weird feeling about it. I looked them up and saw many reviews indicating that it was a bait-and-switch — they’d hire you in as an admin or something and you’d end up selling cell phones at kiosks. Not my cup of tea, and this was a last-minute discovery, so I just…didn’t go. I MAY have emailed them, but I remember not having a phone number or anything to call, so I didn’t go to great efforts to contact them ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

    I don’t know why others do it. But that’s the reason I ghosted.

    1. LordyMe*


      And I’ve only ever “ghosted” once myself. But it was for a role that was advertised as a paid, full time role…but actually turned out to be an unpaid internship.

  57. Minerva*

    I think you will get a balance. If you are getting people ghosting you, you are offering or interviewing people who either have enough options they don’t worry about burning a bridge, or are flakey enough you don’t want them for a travel role, or who have been turned off the role somehow. It may be your process is onerous or slow enough that it’s turning people off. It may be that details they find out about the travel or work turns them off. Heck, someone in the interview process may be rude. Maybe it is something unrelated they find out about your employer. If your predecessor ghosted unsuccessful candidates, you may have inherited a reputation.

    You need to be interviewing people at the sweet spot of able to do the work, and eager to do it, or you get rejections, and further away you get ghosted. And the pandemic – people who can afford to be unemployed may turn down travel / high exposure jobs for now.

    All you can do is really assess if your job appeals to the people you want to hire, and be scrupulous about quick responses too all candidates, and trying to make all interactions positive.

  58. two turned tables and a shoe on the other foot*

    My my my how the tables have turned :*)

    Anyway, I hope that this changes things moving forward. I hope that employers start providing more information to job seekers and that things like salary are brought up much sooner (like in the posting!). I think it’s rude to ghost either way, but hopefully this will lead to more employers being better at hiring and we can start by not ghosting people who took the time to interview often more than once and sometimes even completing tests or projects.

  59. Anne Hedondia*

    Public Service Loan Firgiveness may be a significant factor here. I would have needed an offer of at least $15,000 more per year to make private sector work comparable- from day one. As time goes on, that number goes up. Now, I’m 2 years away from total loan forgiveness. Setting values aside, a private sector employer would have to offer me around $40,000 more per year more to make me even consider abandoning PSLF. (If you’re not familiar with this program, visit the DoE PSLF page).

  60. LordyMe*

    I have to wonder if the company has a bad name, or has had one previously, in terms of how it treats staff. Or if the company is in an industry with the same reputation.

    This is obviously nothing to do with the LW, and the company itself may always have been a good employer in an otherwise bad sector or industry.

    But the chickens are certainly coming home to roost for a number of the private sector companies and industries who have been treating workers like garbage for years.

    1. Dezzi*

      It’s so fascinating reading this from the employer’s perspective. “We’re offering a great salary and benefits, but no one wants the job, they keep just dropping out of the process!! Is everyone just lazy and rude, or what???”

      ….and then it turns out they’re not paying a living wage (45k in DC, and you’re calling that a great salary?? Yeah, no), the travel schedule is absolutely grueling, and they’re not describing said travel requirements accurately in the job posting so people aren’t finding out about it until the interview stage.

      Hmm, I wonder why they’re having so much trouble….

      1. LordyMe*


        I can still remember the look of horror on one employer’s face when I asked, “would you accept that wage for working that job, in that city?” And then the slow dawning of realisation after they heard themselves say, “no, of course not! You can survive on that salary in this city!”

  61. TyphoidMary ( username seems in bad taste now)*

    I remember working for a nonprofit that required near-daily travel to provide trainings throughout the state. I had literally no time to do the required program development and grant reporting because I was either in my car or presenting programs and uh, I am not willing to work for no pay on evenings/weekends to compensate (which is what others in my “values-driven” field tend to do).

  62. Sacred Ground*

    OP, have you checked your org’s Glassdoor reviews? My guess is that the discrepancy between “50-75% travel” and the actual 80% travel of driving to two out of town locations twice a week is mentioned there. People see that and think the job is a bait-and-switch in at least one regard and nope out after applying. And they do so without notifying you because that is now the new standard thanks to employers making it so.

  63. Fezziwig Knots*

    HALLELUJAH HALLELAY fro Alison’s answer.

    The entire time I was reading this I was thinking, soo…candidates are treating employers have they’ve been treated for years?! That doesn’t make this professional behavior on either side. But I genuinely hope employers get a taste of their own medicine and act better in the future.

    I wish there was a tab on Glassdoor or something where candidates could flag the employer as a “ghoster” and at which level they were ghosted. Employers deserve to be outed for this type of thing! Especially after three and four rounds.

  64. CPA*

    I’m legit fascinated by this one, and I hope that OP is still reading the comments. In a nutshell, in a pandemic and post-pandemic world, people are going to give the job a wide berth. It’s just a bad job.

    I know something about this as a public accountant, an industry that’s also suffering from decades of bad jobs, bad work/life balance, resulting burnout, and unrelenting hiring shortages.

    The specifics of your job that I pieced together from your comments:
    – 80% travel
    – All driving, all with a coworker
    – DC Metro area to VA and NJ and back, hotels 2x a week, nonconsecutive nights
    – $45K/year
    – during the Delta surge

    – paid time off amount
    – last-minute flexibility and coverage for illness and quarantine needs, usually lasting 1-2 weeks at a time
    – general company vaccination and COVID exposure policy

    Best of luck to you OP, and do ask yourself if you too can pivot away from this type of work, whatever it is, or if you hold enough influence at your company to push for systemic change in how the work is structured.

    1. Sarah*

      I made the same salary in DC area 15 years ago straight out of school. Opportunities for overtime and lots of advancement, flex 9 schedule where I got a 3 day weekend a month, and MUCH less travel.

      I don’t think OP realizes how uncompetitive their package is. But I can’t imagine how that non profit is able to recruit anyone.

  65. Maddie*

    I actually am in a similar situation. Left a non profit to work with a vendor of the non profit. I think the industry is likely lower skilled but our pay rates are above average and we offer incremental raises for consistent performance and attendance. People ghost in person interviews at about a 75% rate. Turn over is insanely high and the majority give no notice and stop showing up. I work very hard to accommodate needs and schedule changes but it’s so difficult to accommodate a 20% call off rate when someone agreed to a full time schedule. As in I have people calling off hours or less before their shifts up to 1x a week or more. There are nearly constant personal emergencies including car failures, health issues, and family deaths. I am so tapped out in terms of sympathy and empathy because I am constantly covering these issues. I genuinely feel emotionally taxed because I know many of these people aren’t lying. Their lives are chaotic and have a lot of hardship but I also can’t fully do my job or hire better people with more stable personal lives because there is no one to hire. It’s a truly frustrating situation.

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