I had never heard the term “ghosting” until this year. I mean it isn’t a brand new term. It is a topic and word that has been discussed in the workplace for several years now. I just never thought I WOULD EXPERIENCE IT. After all, I consider myself a pretty good recruiter and I do believe in building those long term relationships. Surely, it wouldn’t happen to ME. Well, it has. It has happened to me a lot this year and I know I am not alone- it is happening to EVERYONE! It happens so frequently, that I talk to my clients about it daily. All recruiters and companies are experiencing it. It is the #1 topic being discussed in recruitment today.

“Ghosting” has a number of definitions in HR and recruiting, but essentially it means disappearing in the process of being hired.

Who is to blame for “Ghosting”?

Bringing up “ghosting” brings up lots of emotions. It is like talking about politics. It is like being a staunch Republican in a room full of people with Democratic beliefs. It just doesn’t go over very well. The question is why?

Why is “ghosting” becoming so prevalent and why is it happening so frequently?

To answer this question we have to go back a number of years. If you have been in the workplace for a decade, you remember all too well the recession of 2008. Nobody was hiring. We were in a deep recession and it wasn’t uncommon to see more than half of your buddies underemployed or unemployed.

Candidates have not forgotten. In fact, to many, it is still fresh in their minds. We have trained people to “look out for #1” and we have forgotten some of our core values and beliefs.

OH HOW THE TABLES HAVE TURNED

The unemployment rate is now lower than it has been in 18 YEARS! I want you to let that sink in for a minute. Do you think that everyone is hiring who they want? Well they aren’t.

There are more jobs than people available. Companies still want to find the purple squirrels and want them to jump through hoops to get hired.

WHO IS GETTING EFFECTED THE MOST

The companies that are getting “ghosted” the most often have very similar characteristics.

  1. They underpay in a highly competitive market
  2. They have a poor reputation in the market
  3. The interviewing process takes too long
  4. They are not flexible on their job requirements

It really is that simple. Pay market value, shorten the interview process and be creative in your hiring. Not everyone can get “A” players. There a ton of “B” and “C” players that would be excellent additions to organizations. If you find someone you like, you have to move FAST.

THERE ARE TOO MANY JOBS

Candidates that you think that are “shoe in’s” for jobs aren’t showing up for their final interviews. Candidates that have met the hiring manager and had several phone interviews aren’t even bothering calling the employers or recruiters to let them know they accepted another job or are no longer interested.

Candidates are doing this not only because they have the “Candidate’s Revenge” but because they are too darn lazy to tell the companies that they have decided to go in another direction. It seems like they feel like they are above professional courtesy because they are in hot demand.

THE IRREPUTABLE DAMAGE “GHOSTING” CAUSES TO A CANDIDATE

“Ghosting” just isn’t smart. As I have said throughout my career as a recruiter- it isn’t a matter of “if” you change jobs, but “when” you change jobs. A career is a journey. You will run into so many people throughout your career. The person you interviewed with today and “ghosted” may be your potential next employer. It may be your next client. People have long term memories and don’t forget these things.

It frustrates me and concerns me that this is where our society is turning.

A RECESSION WILL COME AGAIN

This economy can’t and WON’T continue to be this good. Period. Do you want me to say it again? If history tells us anything, we are in a bubble and although it is great right now, it will not sustain this growth forever. I hope for the sake of being a recruiter we will continue to ride this wave for awhile, but a recession will happen again. I PROMISE.

WHY THIS TOPIC IS SENSITIVE

I know in writing this that “ghosting” goes both ways. When I mentioned “ghosting” on social media last week, I lost a ton of followers on Twitter and had quite a bit of backlash on LinkedIn. I know why. Candidates feel like they get “ghosted” by recruiters and companies. In many instances they have.

WHY RECRUITERS AND COMPANIES “GHOST” CANDIDATES

Let me say, it is not a good idea to ghost candidates. EVER. Just like I said it can cause irreparable damage to the candidate, it can cause the same to a recruiter and a company. In no circumstances is “ghosting” okay. Ever. A phone call saying “you weren’t selected” or “we are going in a different direction” is essential.

I would urge candidates to listen though. Often times a “no hard core feedback” is because there is not a clear answer from the company. The company could be struggling and they don’t know what direction they want to go in. They may not be able to hire or the hiring manger may be completely unresponsive. In this case, an “I don’t have any further information” may be sufficient. Multiple phone calls or e-mails from the candidate after being told “I don’t have any further information” can be beating a dead horse. I urge all recruiters and companies to be very clear to the candidate if this is the case though. Like I said- “ghosting” is NEVER OKAY.

SO WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE

This has got to end. We all need to respect one another and realize what we do. Please, please consider what you are doing to your career. We can meet in the middle, but this is ridiculous and must change. Let’s get back to the days of respecting one another. Please!