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Interview Etiquette: Why Ghosting is the Last Thing You Should Do

If you’re a recruiter, having a candidate ghost you is something that you never forget. Ghosting means that you fail to show up for the first day of work or simply turn into a ghost and just stop responding to emails or calls. Ghosting became a trend just over the past few years. At one point The Washington Post published, “Workers are Ghosting Their Employers Like Bad Dates.” Ghosting is perhaps one of the most ungrateful things a candidate can do to a recruiter. But here’s the real problem—if you make it a habit of ghosting employers, you may just find yourself developing a reputation that negatively affects your job potential down the road.

Ghosting is a Career-Killer

Ghosting happens within relationships and was a term originally thought up to describe someone who doesn’t show up for a date. One study of 1,300 people showed that one-quarter had been ghosted by a date and one-fifth said they were responsible for the ghosting behavior.
Within the context of a job search, ghosting can be a career killer. One study showed the phenomenon is increasing by candidates who start the interview process and then just drop off the face of the earth at some point. During times when jobs are highly available, it seems ghosting increases. It’s surmised that candidates feel emboldened to disappear from the job search because there are ample opportunities to pursue. When it’s a candidate-friendly market and there are plenty of jobs, candidates may have more than one offer on the table simultaneously so it’s easier to walk away with no explanation from the one they don’t want. That leaves the hiring manager wondering exactly what happened to that person and if they’re okay. It’s easy to worry when someone stops returning your calls, especially if the interview process had been going well. Did something happen? When and if the recruiter determines that the person is fine but just cut them off with no explanation, it’s likely that that worry will turn to anger.
The recruiting community is a tight one, and hiring teams tend to move in the same circles. News of a candidate that has ghosted someone can spread, and this can create big problems for the candidate/ghost. The last thing a candidate needs is to develop a bad reputation among staffing agencies and in-house hiring teams. Ghosting a recruiter is a way to get noticed and remembered, but for all the wrong reasons.
Ghosting a company is a way to be labeled as unprofessional or even immature. Saying “no” to a job is sometimes difficult and that fear of conflict or drama may lead you inadvertently to create even more turmoil by ghosting a recruiter. Rather than having a crucial conversation, the candidate may decide just to walk away, which is a far worse approach than simply telling the recruiter you are no longer interested in the job. Ethically, you must make the decision to speak with the hiring team to let them know you are no longer interested. The alternative is to ghost them, an action that will reflect badly on you and negatively affect your career path in the future.

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