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Four years ago, we explored the new trend of job seekers “ghosting” during the hiring process. Has anything changed since then? Unfortunately, ghosting among job seekers has increased. Read on to learn more about what ghosting is, why it has become such an issue, and why it’s important not to leave a potential employer hanging.

What is “Ghosting?”

In the business world, ghosting refers to a job seeker stopping all communication with a hiring manager. It can happen at any point during the hiring process - from the initial contact stage, to the interview, even all the way up to a job seeker’s official start day. There is no explanation offered for the abrupt silence. 

Ghosting can also happen to a job seeker with a potential employer. Read about what to do if an employer ghosts you during the job search process

Why is Ghosting So Problematic Now?

“Ghosting is such a problem because of the nature of the job market right now,”  said Stacia Norman, Director of Recruiting for Orion Talent’s Construction & IT industries. “Candidates are being approached all the time with an abundance of job opportunities to choose from.”

A recent survey conducted by Indeed proves just how prevalent ghosting is in the business world. Over the past year, 76% of employers have been ghosted, and 57% believe it’s even more common than before. In fact, 40% of job seekers believe it’s reasonable to ghost someone during the interview process, according to another study by Clutch.

It is a job seeker’s market. According to the Department of Labor’s latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, there are 11.3 million job openings with only 6.5 million hires, as of January 2022. Candidates may not see the benefit of following up with hiring managers when they are inundated with an abundance of job opportunities. 

In addition, the ease of applying to positions with just a click of a button (sometimes even as easy as a text!) makes the job search process seem impersonal and distant, which can lead to job seekers not fully understanding the benefit of communication. 

Why is Ghosting a Potential Employer a Bad Idea?

Ghosting a hiring manager is a sure-fire way to look unprofessional and will be especially damaging to your reputation.

“There are so many opportunities out there right now that people just blow off offers way more than I have ever seen before,” Stacia explained. “They don’t stop and think about the market changing and needing a job in the future.” 

There is a good chance that by ghosting a potential employer, you could be hurting your chances in the future. “Candidates don’t think about how people talk within the industry. You may be burning a bridge you need some day,” Stacia cautioned. 

Remember that networking can play a huge role in career success, so it’s best to be courteous during the job search, even if the “easy” way out is to simply cease communication.

Conclusion

While it seems that ghosting in the business world is here to stay, it doesn’t have to be a common practice. If you are looking for a new career, make a conscious decision to break the cycle of job seekers who habitually ghost. Remember that ghosting is discourteous, both personally and professionally. 

While there’s nothing wrong with changing your mind, be sure to take some time to be polite to a potential employer. Those few extra minutes will help keep your professional relationships in tact and could help you secure a dream job down the line.

Want more information on ghosting? Listen to our podcast, ‘Ghosting’ - What is Is, What it Means for Your Job Search.

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