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Ghosting - A growing trend among Job Seekers

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Though it typically finds its meaning in the dating world, “ghosting,” or stopping all forms of communication and contact with someone without any warning and for no apparent reason, is becoming an alarming trend in the corporate world.

Potential candidates are practicing this bizarre phenomenon during the interview and onboarding process, and even after accepting a job. Some employees are even ghosting after being employed for a few days - they simply stop showing up to work altogether.

Job Seeker ghosting seems to be a relatively new trend. “I have been a Recruiter for over seven years, and only within the last two years have I noticed an increased number of candidates who use the ‘ghosting’ tactic,” said Nora Liles, an Orion Talent Recruiter. “It is incredible how you can have consistent communication with a candidate in the early stage of the interview process, and surprisingly at the final stages of the interview process, they disappear.”

Why the sudden increase of candidates employing this unusual tactic? Nora believes it has something to do with an increase of millennials in the workplace. “I personally believe this is how most millenials handle pressure,” Nora states. “They simply avoid contact with a Recruiter if they have doubts about the career opportunity, or if they believe they have other or better options. Instead of a confrontation or having a direct conversation with the Recruiter, they choose to ‘ghost’ the Recruiter.”

Still others believe that this behavior is a direct result of poor communication from the companies themselves. Peter Cappelli, a management professor and director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources, stated in an article that employers may have only themselves to blame for this alarming trend. “I think they (candidates) have learned it from the employers,” he said. “Employers were notorious for never getting back to people, and only letting them know what was going on if it turned out they wanted them to go to the next step.”

Regardless of why this trend is increasing in the corporate world, Hiring Managers, Recruiters, and Human Resource professionals all agree that this form of “communication” is not professional. Job seekers should exercise professional etiquette throughout the job search by being clear and communicative with their intentions, and staying in contact throughout the hiring process.

“Remember that open and consistent communication is beneficial to all parties involved,” Nora advised. “Ghosting is only a sign that the candidate lacks the communication skills that employers desire for employees that hold key roles within their organization.”

Nora also warned of the implications that ghosting can have on a job seeker’s future career options. “This interview may not turn into a career, but maintaining a positive relationship with a Recruiter or Hiring Manager may come in handy the next time you are searching for a job. Don’t be afraid to communicate, regardless of how tough you feel the conversation may be, because ghosting will only reflect poorly on your own professionalism.”

Listen for more on the topic of ghosting in our podcast episode ‘Ghosting’ - What is Is, What it Means for Your Job Search.

If you are looking for assistance in navigating the job search process, Orion offers a multitude of resources to help make the next step easier, including interview preparation, receiving an offer and negotiating, and even advice on job performance.