In today’s digital world there is a phenomenon called “ghosting” that is primarily associated with dating culture. For those unfamiliar with this term, it refers to “the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication,” according to Dictionary.com. However, this is becoming more and more common in the job search as well.
For job seekers, it is all too common to not hear from an employer after interviewing or even applying to a variety of jobs. Often times you might not hear back from a company until a generic email containing something along the lines of “We’ve had many fine applicants, including yourself, but unfortunately we have gone in another direction with this role.” This is a disheartening component of the job search which can certainly lead to self-doubt.
However, according to USA Today, “companies across the United States are experiencing an uptick in job candidates ghosting interviews and even first days at work.” Further, in an article by Glassdoor, Executive Coach and Author Karen Elizaga confirms that workplace ghosting may be on the rise.
This report comes on the tails of the Bureau of Labor Statistics release of “The Employment Situation – July 2018,” which saw the national unemployment rate drop to 3.9 percent. This means the job market favors the job seeker because there are an increasing number of jobs available. However, this may also be to blame for this ghosting fad. According to Elizaga:
“There are just so many opportunities. It cuts both ways: Employers receive an abundance of resumes through the various communication platforms in which they participate, and they can’t possibly respond to every inquiry. So, they don’t. This puts prospective employees off, and as a result, they also feel entitled not to close the communications loop.”
She also adds that job candidates might blow off an interview if they’ve had a change of heart about the job, been offered a more desirable position, discovered that the company’s values don’t align with their own, or feel unmotivated to take the opportunity. However, these are not viable reasons to ghost a company. If you do, bridges will be burned which means you likely won’t be considered for any potential future opportunities.
Not only are job candidates ghosting employers (which is bad enough), but they are also doing this to recruiters trying to help place them in new opportunities. We took the opportunity to ask our recruiting team about their experiences with getting ghosted by potential candidates and even clients. Here is what they had to say:
“There are three stages of ghosting:
- Candidate doesn’t even respond to the original message regarding the opportunity we [the recruiter] are trying to introduce them to;
- Candidate replies to our initial message saying they’re interested but then never provides contact information or if they do, never answer/return calls and/or messages we send;
- Candidate goes through screening process, meets the initial requirements but then doesn’t respond to any follow up communication from us.”
“This happens on both the candidate and client side. Some candidate responses include:
- No response back even after multiple phone calls and emails;
- They respond back after a few times of me trying to contact them and say, ‘yes sorry that I haven’t gotten back to you but I am going in a different direction,’ or something along those lines.
On the client side, some responses include:
- ‘Sorry for the delay, we decided to take a different route with our recruiting resources.’
- ‘Sorry I didn’t get back to you, we are going to source through our internal candidates first and if we need you we’ll be in touch.’”
Ghosting has become more and more common in many aspects of our life from dating to the job search. Although it is common, that doesn’t mean it is right. If you do this in the job search, not only do you risk the potential of burning bridges and ruining future opportunities, but it might tarnish your reputation. Even if you decide that you don’t want a job or to take an interview, you have made a connection in an industry which could in turn refer you to future opportunities. There are much better things to do if you’ve had a change of heart than ghost out on a recruiter or employer.