Applicants “ghosting” interviews or start dates?  Make sure you’re dispositioning correctly!

Hot job market, more job prospects mean fewer people showing up.

USA Today reports an astounding increase in applicants who are “ghosting” -- or failing to show for -- scheduled interviews. Similarly, the number of candidates who receive job offers but do not report to work is on the rise.

While no one formally tracks such antics, many businesses report that 20 to 50 percent of job applicants and workers are pulling no-shows in some form, forcing many firms to modify their hiring practices.


Assumed to be the result of a strong economy and low unemployment, many employers are confounded by the lack of communication from applicants and new hires. 

A growing number are "ghosting" their jobs: blowing off scheduled job interviews, accepting offers but not showing up the first day and even vanishing from existing positions – all without giving notice. 

In response, some employers are increasing the number of candidates whom they interview, and others have shortened the window between the job offer and start date to keep the new hire engaged. Regardless of the reason or various strategies for combatting the problem, federal contractors should ensure that they are tracking these situations properly. Applicants who fail to show for an interview have “withdrawn” from the application process, while individuals who receive an offer yet fail to report to work are “selections.”

Both of these designations are essential for accurate applicant reporting and analysis. Years ago, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs issued regulations defining who is an "applicant" for purposes of analyzing the selection process. These regulations specify that individuals who withdraw from the application process prior to receiving an offer of employment are not “applicants” and do not have to be included in an organization’s adverse impact analysis. Consequently, those candidates who do not respond to inquiries, who affirmatively decline an interview, or who “ghost” an employer should be clearly and definitively dispositioned as a withdrawal.

Likewise, individuals who receive an offer of employment, but do not actually start work for any reason -- whether they “ghost” the orientation or fail to pass a subsequent background check -- should be counted as “selections” or hires by the employer. Federal contractors should ensure that their applicant tracking system and disposition codes allow for proper coding of such individuals so that they can get credit, so to speak, for having selected these individuals for employment. 

Proper tracking of all applicants and why they are not hired -- including whether candidates are considered, meet the basic qualifications, withdraw from the process, or are offered a job -- is essential to compliance with recordkeeping requirements as well as an accurate adverse impact analysis. Most importantly, such documentation is the best defense against claims of an unfair or discriminatory hiring process.

If you have not reviewed your disposition codes recently to make certain that they adequately capture reasons for non-selection, what are you waiting for?!  If you have questions or need guidance in this area, please contact a member of our Affirmative Action/OFCCP Compliance Practice Group

Our Affirmative Action Alert blog focuses on the latest news and topics affecting federal contractors and subcontractors and their compliance with affirmative action and other employment-related laws and regulations.  With breaking news, quick updates, and headlines on the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and affirmative action issues, this blog is a great resource for in-house counsel, HR managers, and other compliance professionals.  Our blog is a companion to Constangy’s Affirmative Action newsletters, which address significant legislative, regulatory, and administrative proposals and changes.  Subscribe to both to stay current on these important topics!

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