It’s a Spooky Time: Ghosting in the Workplace

In the dating world, ghosting seems a handy way to facilitate a lucky escape after a cringe-worthy, worst-date ever.  You know you’ve been ghosted when texts go unanswered, and you’ve been unfriended on Facebook.  

But in this record-setting job market, business ghosting, e.g., crickets when a finalist asks if she got the job or the sudden disappearance of your newly hired star, has precipitated an every-man-for-himself ethos, driving up hiring costs and hiking staffing delays. Its practice by employers and candidates is triggering boos across the employment industry!  

Ghosting is just bad behavior!

In the realm of business conduct, ghosting, a technologically-enabled behavior, is mostly a cowardly deed, and at its worst, rude and unprofessional.  We say mostly because the recipient should add a small margin of error for loss of fingers, sudden-death, or alien abduction.  

Seasoned businesspeople understand that a polite, but the direct approach is always preferred: “I am appreciative of the opportunity, but after careful consideration, I’ve decided to accept another offer.”  But simply not responding to an offer or failing to show up on your start day lacks a critical awareness of the damage to your credibility and reputation.  

Conversely, when a job seeker is anxiously awaiting to hear “you’re hired” after five rounds of grueling interviews, there is little excuse for a status-update failure!  

Karma for the recruiter

The lowest unemployment rate in 18 years might be payback for decades of feudalistic hiring.  Hundreds of workers spent hours applying for a single job post online, often without acknowledgment of receipt.  Grueling layoffs modeled for younger workers the idea that corporations are only out for themselves.  

Today, employers, struggling to acquire talent that sticks, find that today’s younger generation sometimes don’t think twice about quitting without notice or trolling your social media if they are unhappy with your hiring process. When a company fails to acknowledge receipt of a resume with at minimuman electronic “thank you,” expect Glass Door user criticism that an applicant’s time and interest is not welcome. And ghosting candidates for weeks after a lengthy interview process runs the risk that the impatient will blaze “don’t bother; this company never gets back to you” on your Twitter account.  

Therefore, ignoring update requests or failing to inform runner-up candidates they didn’t get the job, sends the message that thoughtlessness is the norm.  Trends show companies are reaping the rewards of this increasingly normative conduct:

  • New stars mysteriously disappear into black holes on Day One
  • Just-up-to-speed recruits are jumping ship without even a toodle-oo.  
  • No-shows and lateness are on the uptick even with seasoned employees.

When workers were plentiful, you might have gotten away with ignoring all but the best candidates.  Today, consider whether karma isn’t coming around to nip your poor messaging practices in the bud.  Resolve to model civility norms and good communication habits for the job seeker community in your hiring practices. 

Ghoster, meet reputation buster!

Ghosting an employer is a surefire way to kill your professional brand. A good reputation promotes your brand amidst bosses, co-workers, and networks. It is founded on character, including your words and actions. Character involves developing attributes like work ethics, loyalty, responsibility, courtesy, and integrity.  Younger workers might struggle with ethics in the workplace, so here are some examples related to ghosting:

  • The beach is calling, so you ignore your boss’s texts begging for some emergency overtime.
  • You waste your recruiter’s time and damage their network reputation by ditching your interview with no explanation.
  • You’ve been at the job for a week, hate it, but are too afraid to tell your new boss why, so you just don’t show up. Ever.

You see how these behaviors might project a far less than professional demeanor?  You build a good impression when you initiate dialogues that demonstrate integrity and help solve problems.  For starters, this means developing the courage that it takes to tackle difficult conversations in life. 

Practice considerate communication 

Whether you are trying to find the right talent or working on being the right talent, this environment has arguably never been so challenging.  Hiring managers must move quickly lest they lose the right talent to their competitors, and employees wonder if now is the time to make a move to improve their careers. These decisions can be overwhelming, and job search stressors like anxiety, indecision, and impatience only rise with insufficient communication.  Both parties being responsive throughout the interview and hiring process is one way to ensure that everyone comes out a winner. 

For ideas and resources on facilitating communications between candidates and prospective employers, contact Partnership Employment today.  Our decades of experience in the recruiting process ensures the highest standards of service and communication.  We will work hard to match fresh, new talent with the ideal job placement and support client and candidate every step of the way.  Sign up for Job Alerts or Find Talent on the website.