Category: News

Ghosting – when candidates simply disappear

Anyone who has ever delved into the world of online dating will have come across the term “ghosting”.

But what does ghosting mean? It refers to the practice of abruptly ending a previously established relationship by ceasing all communication without warning and refusing to respond to communication attempts afterwards. This phenomenon is prevalent on apps such as Tinder, OK Cupid and others. However, according to Alexander Wilhelm, managing partner of InterSearch Executive Consultants, it has already crept into the world of work as “candidate ghosting”.

More cases of ghosting since the pandemic

Wilhelm has observed an increase in the number of cases in which candidates seem to vanish of the face of the earth during the recruiting process. This is most common at the beginning of the process, with candidates not returning phone calls or ignoring emails and text messages. Doris Schmalenberg, a research consultant at InterSearch Executive Consultants, is in close contact with candidates during this phase. She emphasizes that candidate ghosting is by no means a mass phenomenon but acknowledges that there was indeed a notable increase during the pandemic.

Digital recruiting processes encourage a non-committal attitude

Video call interviews were essential during the pandemic and continue to be relevant for candidates working remotely or international applicants. According to Wilhelm the dependence on digital communications has led to a more non-committal attitude among candidates. In his work as an executive search consultant in the industrial sector, he has had to experience several instances of ghosting in recent months. Initially, less experienced candidates in exclusively digital recruiting processes were most prone to ghosting. “However, after a while, I also observed it with experienced managers. It is not really a problem at the top management level – but we do see it with middle management and specialists,” Wilhelm explains. Incidentally, candidate ghosting is not only prevalent among the younger generation, as some might falsely assume.

Ghosting makes candidates look unprofessional

Wilhelm has also heard from colleagues who had candidates not show up for personal interviews with clients without prior notice. An InterSearch client who is Head of HR of a mid-sized company in the software industry reported: “Unfortunately, we now lose software developers and comparable specialists in the recruitment process regularly and more often than 5 years ago. They disappear and simply do not get back in touch. However, this is rarely the case for top-level management positions.” Wilhelm emphasizes: “Of course, this makes a very bad impression and is rather irritating. Therefore close communication is essential during the entire recruiting process. Nevertheless, he also gives second chances if there are plausible reasons why a candidate has missed an appointment. “But you definitely become wary after a while,” he adds. For reasons of data protection, consultants do not have the option of putting unreliable candidates on a kind of “black list”. However, anyone who stands out in a particularly negative light due to unreliability and non-commitment must expect their name to be remembered, especially if there has already been customer contact. Consultants still have little power to prevent candidate ghosting. Experience, gut feeling and watching out for long response times are the only ways to screen for unreliable candidates beforehand, Wilhelm explains.

Reasons for candidate ghosting are difficult to understand

A candidate who has ghosted their recruiter and suddenly becomes unavailable can no longer provide feedback. Therefore, Wilhelm says, it is difficult to draw conclusions about why someone suddenly breaks off contact without warning. Wilhelm suspects a combination of factors leading to increased ghosting: “There is a growing shortage of specialized managers in the industrial sector. There may be a feeling of oversupply of jobs among some candidates, and digital contact with consultants makes it even more noncommittal.” The pandemic has also led to a general decline in the willingness to change jobs.

Rejection at eye level requires courage

Wilhelm finds it alarming that candidates would enter the recruiting process despite a lack of real interest. “As a consultant, I do not trade in commodities. I communicate with people and make an effort to be reliable and transparent.” Rejection should be communicated on an equal footing, whether by mail or phone call – as long as it is honest and direct. “Of course, the consultant might then get in touch to inquire after the reasons. But a candidate should also have the courage to justify their decision.”

Alexander WilhelmAlexander Wilhelm is Managing Partner of InterSearch Executive Consultants, based in the Frankfurt office, and the Europe North&West leader of the Global Infrastructure, Construction & Environment Practice at InterSearch Worldwide.

His core competencies include executive search, executive coaching and corporate succession for national and international companies from several private and public industry sectors, family-owned and medium-sized companies as well as corporations.

Contact:  +49 (0)6174 – 257810,

Meet new Charles Aris practice leader Mark Sapienza

Meet new Charles Aris practice leader Mark Sapienza

Charles Aris marketing manager Sydney Olszewski sat down with new practice leader Mark Sapienza to discuss his background, the details of his new practice and what he’s most excited about in this new role.

Sydney: Tell me a little bit about your background

Mark: Prior to joining Charles Aris, I was the executive vice president and general manager at HoMedics – a leader in the health and wellness space. I’ve spent the last 25 years leading sales, marketing and product development across numerous, prominent consumer brands including Sunbeam, ACCO Brands and Avedis Zildjian Cymbals.

Throughout my career, I have experienced firsthand the impact talent acquisition and management has on the success of an organization. A passion of mine has always been to align organizational design with strategy and build effective teams by identifying and developing A-level talent.

Sydney: How do you think your previous experience will integrate into this new role?

Mark: There’s no substitute for hands-on experience, it’s a huge bonus. It helps to have an understanding and appreciation of the type of talent a hiring manager is looking for. There is such a heavy interdependency in the sales and marketing world. From product development to marketing to sales to innovation and leadership, everything is intertwined, and I truly enjoy spanning the full functional spectrum.

Sydney: Describe your practice and what kinds of organizations you’ll be working with.

Mark: I’m joining the existing sales and marketing practice at Charles Aris, working adjacent to senior vice president Greg Harper. My practice will largely focus on finding top sales, marketing and product development talent for consumer durables organizations. These will be companies that specialize in household goods, furniture, apparel and more.

Sydney: When you think about this new role and joining the Charles Aris team, what are you most excited about?

Mark: It’s just an exciting opportunity from every perspective. I get to work with a broad group of clients and combine my experience in the consumer durables space with my experience in finding top talent. I have a passion for finding and hiring great talent along with the satisfaction that comes with it. It is deeply rewarding. I feel lucky to be able to get to stay in the industry I love, work among a diversified group of clients and find top level talent for their teams.

To learn more about Mark Sapienza’s executive search capabilities via the Charles Aris Sales & Marketing practice, call or text him at (336) 217-9172 or email him at

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InterSearch Australia is delighted to announce the appointment of our new partner, Andrew Gemmell.

Andrew has been active in executive search and recruitment, including C-suite and executive leadership roles for 24 years across the banking & financial services, IT, digital, and health sectors.

He co-founded and co-led a highly successful firm for 18 years which established a network of client relationships serviced from offices in Melbourne, Sydney, and Singapore.

Andrew’s strength is to quickly build an understanding of his client’s business and its customers. He focusses on the related adaptive leadership capabilities required of an incoming leader in terms of adapting to customer’s expectations, evolving ways of working, maximising technology levers, and human performance & cultural considerations.  This is all in the context of the strategic, operational, and regulatory considerations of his clients.

Andrew holds a Bachelor of Commerce and is a Certified Level 1 Organisational Coach.

Andrew can be reached on: and 0414 011 726


#AndrewGemmel, #new, #partner, Executive Search, InterSearch, InterSearch Australia, InterSearch Worldwide

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