Employers are getting ghosted by Gen Z candidates,

Trend Watch: Why Employers Are Getting Ghosted By Gen Z

Here’s why response rates from candidates are so low today — and what you can do about it.

Candidates and employers alike agree that the status quo of early career recruiting and hiring today is no longer effective. Candidates are sending out upwards of 50 internship or job applications to roles that they aren’t even sure they are qualified for, and in many cases, aren’t hearing back from companies after submitting their applications. At the same time, employers are spending a lot of time, effort, and money to find the right candidates and build diverse teams, but the response rates on their outreach are extremely low. In fact, for all the work that recruiters are putting into their outreach strategies today, many are experiencing response rates as low as 2%.

But where is this disconnect between candidates seeking jobs and employers seeking great applicants stemming from, and what can recruiters today do to fix this gap for their organizations? Below we’ll walk you through the two key issues that we’ve identified to be contributing to why employers are not hearing back from talent as they source candidates, and how you can change this narrative for your campus recruiting team.   

Issue #1: Recruiters are looking in the wrong places for internship and entry-level job seekers

Many recruiters today are spending a lot of time and effort trying to connect with students who might not even be looking for jobs. That’s because they are attempting to source candidates on job boards and platforms that students or new grads aren’t actively checking. 

Job boards such as Handshake create many of their candidates’ profiles through university’s career services databases, meaning that students did not opt in to a job searching platform and information may not accurately represent their backgrounds or interests. In other words, those candidates may not be active on that platform, interested in employers’ roles, or even looking for a job at all. Plus, sourcing platforms such as Handshake and LinkedIn require recruiters to send out email campaigns and cold InMails in order to engage candidates. These tactics lead to a lot of noise in students’ inboxes and, not surprisingly, get a low 2-4% response rate on average.

Issue #2: Employers are not providing a good enough candidate experience, according to Gen Z

Providing a good candidate experience is crucial to engaging with Gen Z talent and keeping them interested  — it’s how even the smallest companies can break through the noise and set themselves apart from their competitors today. But with so many factors that make up a candidate’s experience, it’s critical to understand what matters most to Gen Z during the recruitment and hiring process — and that’s timely communication. 

In fact, our survey data of nearly 3,000 internship and entry-level job seekers reveals that Gen Z believes that the number one factor that contributes to a negative experience is actually being ghosted by employers — i.e. not hearing back after submitting their initial applications, whether or not they are moving forward in the hiring process. In other words, Gen Z prefers a prompt rejection over silence from companies. 

But it doesn’t end there. Strong communication with candidates throughout the entire hiring process is an important element of a good candidate experience, with the second most popular factor contributing to poor experience being ‘not receiving timely updates (within 5-7 business days) about application status’.    

That being said, the speed at which recruiters can respond to candidates’ applications is critical when it comes to competing for top talent. Plus, not only does a slow or non-existent response to initial applicants (even if you are rejecting them) leave your company at risk of providing a negative candidate experience and tarnishing your reputation, but it also leaves room for your competition to scoop up talent that was originally interested in your roles. It’s therefore ideal to reply to candidates within one week — any longer than that and it can have harmful implications on your employer brand. 

However, despite the fact that candidates want to hear back from employers within one week of submitting their applications, most employers aren’t hitting that mark today. In fact, it takes recruiters an average of 17 days to sift through all their applications and respond to applicants currently. Employers using RippleMatch, however, are able to respond to candidates within that desired one week timeframe — with top-performing teams communicating with candidates within one day — which we’ll dive more into below.  

How recruiters can increase their response rates from Gen Z candidates   

So how can you stop the cycle of ghosting, both from the candidate side and the employer side? By investing in the right partnerships and tools to support your Gen Z recruiting strategies, such as a strong early career recruiting software, you can both connect with the right candidates and provide a stellar candidate experience that draws them in and keeps them interested. 

Recruiting software RippleMatch is the new way that Gen Z is finding work because it removes all the barriers to finding great fit roles, and ensures that companies are communicating with all candidates about the status of their applications — all while reducing work for employers AND increasing their response rates from candidates to 92%. 

How does RippleMatch work?

RippleMatch is able to increase response rates from candidates because its candidate network is full of internship and entry-level job seekers who are actively looking for their next role. The millions of candidates using RippleMatch have created a profile themselves and self-report their information — so employers can be sure they are ready to apply to their open opportunities.

 Plus, RippleMatch’s automatching technology ensures that candidates are presented with roles that they are interested in and would be a great fit for based on their qualifications, which increases the chances that they’ll respond to recruiters and be advanced to a first-round interview. This also means that employers are only presented with candidates that meet their requirements and have already indicated interest — cutting their time spent sourcing by 87% and applicant review time by 70%. When it comes to providing a stellar candidate experience, our data shows that RippleMatch users are outperforming their peers who are not using the platform to connect with candidates quickly. Using RippleMatch to sort through applications, recruiters on our platform are able to respond to all of their applicants in an average of about 5 days, with top teams responding in one day — much faster than the industry average of 17 days. That’s because RippleMatch’s software helps employers review and respond to every applicant swiftly, allowing them to quickly get back to everyone and avoid ghosting candidates, and then spend time with top talent. 

Using data from the RippleMatch platform and survey data, we also discovered that nearly 50% of candidates that recruiters source on RippleMatch are invited to the first step in the interview process, compared to 14% of candidates sent by career services, and 6-12% from candidates who apply from traditional job boards and job listing sites. That high success rate on our platform is due to our matching process that only introduces qualified, engaged and interested applicants to our partners.

Employers are getting ghosted by Gen Z candidates not because they don’t have great opportunities for them or because they aren’t prepared to support the next generation of talent entering the workforce, but because companies simply don’t know where to find great talent, or how to keep them interested. With RippleMatch, employers can both connect with great-fit candidates while saving time and money, and provide a candidate experience that stands out from their competitors. That’s why RippleMatch is considered to be the new way to hire Gen Z, ushering in the future of early career recruiting. Learn more about how you can stay ahead of the curve of Gen Z hiring in our full guide on the future of internship and entry-level recruiting here.  


Ready to learn more?

Book a demo to learn why leading employers rely on RippleMatch to efficiently hire the right talent and build diverse teams.

Cindy Loggins

Global Head of University Recruiting & Programs

"Centralizing everything on RippleMatch reduced our overall applicant review time by 70%."

Ebonee Bradley

University Recruiter

"With one click of a button, I can get tons of great candidates from underrepresented groups."