Solutions for Executive Search Ghosting: The No-Show Dilemma


In the executive search industry, we are increasingly confronted with a significant challenge that has sparked extensive discussion: Candidate Ghosting, also known as the ‘NO SHOW’ problem. This phenomenon occurs when candidates, after agreeing to a job offer and signing a contract, decide to withdraw their commitment. The issue tends to emerge either just before the candidate is scheduled to start their new position or within a few weeks of signing the contract.

At Key Search, we are committed to proactively addressing this issue. Our objective is to detect potential instances of ghosting or no-shows at the earliest opportunity and to offer our clients comprehensive support throughout the recruitment process.

Why Are Candidates Pulling a Houdini?

So, why do some candidates vanish after saying “I’m in”? Mostly it’s because they get a counteroffer from their current employer. Imagine it like this: You’re all set to switch to a new coffee shop, but just as you’re about to leave, your regular barista offers you free coffee for a month. Tempting, isn’t it?

Is Candidate Ghosting a New Trend?

It looks like this trend has been picking up steam in recent times, unfortunately also in top-tier leadership roles. It’s as if more people are getting cold feet and are scared of the new and like to stick to the known. 

We recently closed a difficult search hiring a new partner for a consulting company, the new partner was introduced to their clients at the yearly fall event and then the candidate accepted the counter offer of his company. Of course we started a new search to find an even better fit as fast as possible, but the no-show was bad for the company’s image and again meant a lot of time investment for the partners. 

For candidates the newly signed role is new, more uncertain and usually requires more effort, especially in the beginning. Not leaving your comfort zone seems to be the better option.

The Role of Psychological Comfort

Here’s an angle to consider: These candidates are backing out because they don’t feel quite secure about the leap. It’s all about making sure they know they’re jumping into a safe and welcoming new environment.

As your consultant, we are going through this with you, but as a potential new employee, you also need to be very close with the new hire.

How We’re Tackling the NO SHOW Problem as your Executive Search partner:

  • Deep Dives into Candidate Motives: Think of it as having a heart-to-heart to really understand what’s driving their career decisions.
  • Building a Bridge of Trust: Keeping everyone in the loop and making sure candidates feel connected and informed every step of the way.
  • Fostering a Strong Bond: From signing day to the first day, we’re there, ensuring candidates feel supported and part of the family.
  • Anticipating and Discussing Counteroffers: It’s like having an umbrella ready in case it rains – we’re prepared for those just-in-case moments.
  • We send the counteroffer-acceptance infographic: Candidates will leave 9 out of 10 times anyhow, because they showed infidelity to their current employer and this will backfire, candidates started talking to us in the first place for a reason
Candidate Ghosting

Your Partner in Smooth Sailing

Our goal at Key Search is to not just find you a great candidate but to ensure they walk through your doors, ready and excited to contribute. We’re about creating journeys that end with a firm handshake and a confident step into a new role, not last-minute cold feet.

Let's Team Up and Tackle This Together

If you’re navigating the tricky waters of Executive Search or want to steer clear of the NO SHOW iceberg, let’s have a chat. We’re all about turning tricky situations into triumphs, ensuring your next hire is not just a signed contract but a celebrated new chapter in your team’s story.

We can transform the ‘NO SHOW’ challenge into an opportunity for stronger connections and better matches. In the end this increasingly occurring challenge is between the client and the candidate, but we at Key Search want to fight this problem and want to recognize early on whether a candidate can become a no-shower and support our clients all the way.

For more insights on how to tackle the NO SHOW problem and keep up with executive search trends, be sure to check out the wealth of information and strategies from sources like the Key Search: Executive Search Guide. It’s like having a travel guide in your pocket, but for Executive Search. 

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