Something very scary is occurring in many job searches. It hasn’t quite drawn the attention of the TV shows like Ghost Adventures or Ghost Hunters yet, but it certainly is spooking Recruiters and Hiring Managers. I am referring to “ghosting”, which is the term for when a Job Seeker “disappears” on a prospective employer without any explanation.

“Ghosting” is most likely a result of the strong economy currently being enjoyed (although some have professed it is generational, it seems to me to cross several age-bands). Candidates often now have multiple options to select from, resulting in a loss of common courtesy when an offer is pursued or accepted over other opportunism.

There are many reasons not to “ghost” on a potential employer. Among these are:

• The Right Thing to Do – You can’t get much more basic than this reason. In a time when manners or courtesy seem to be at an all-time low, you can stand out with your actions. It is unprofessional to not communicate your status to the Recruiter or Hiring Manager.

• Turnabout Is NOT Fair Play – Some Job Seekers may feel that they have, in the past, had the same behavior done to them from companies. While that may be true, I much prefer focusing on what is in your best interest rather than some odd sense of revenge.

• Maintains Relationships – It is important to maintain relationships for future opportunities. WNY can be a small community at times, and you don’t want a negative reputation regarding how you conduct a job search. You may even find yourself applying again for this spurned company, so it is imperative that you do not burn any bridges. “Ghosting” a company does not mean you are forgotten about, rather just the opposite occurs and you are long remembered by the impacted individuals.

• It May Impact Everyone – If “ghosting” continues then employers may change their recruiting strategy. They may start casting a broader net knowing that they need more candidates to fill positions. It may result in them interviewing more people (think of the old “cattle call” interviews) in order to have a Plan B, C, D, etc.

• They Are Counting On You – This primarily references when a new hire does not appear for his or her first day of work. At this point in the process, the company has declined the other candidates, so it is not only embarrassing, but difficult to quickly recover from.

So, what should you make sure you do to avoid obtaining the reputation of being a “ghost”? Below are some key suggestions.

• Be sure you know what you are applying for. Applying for positions have almost become too easy. A few clicks of your mouse (or taps on your smartphone) and you have applied for the job. Unfortunately, for some Job Seekers, they are really just playing the numbers game and not considering whether this opening is potentially really right for them. So, when they are reached out to by the Recruiter, they are not as engaged or committed to the open position. Only apply to positions you truly feel you are interested in and qualified for, and keep track of all of these positions. Be sure that the type of work is a good fit for what you want to do.

• Be available when the Recruiter or Hiring Manager is trying to reach you.

• Call back promptly if/when you do receive a voice mail from the potential employer.

• Attend all of your scheduled appointments with the company, and be sure to call ahead if any situation throws doubt to your ability to make it on-time.

• If you need to “buy some time” to either review an offer (or multiple offers), then communicate to the company when you will have a decision rather than going quiet and leaving the guessing regarding your intentions.

• If at any time you have the need to remove your name from consideration, then always communicate this update to the prospective employer. Do not leave the guessing regarding your status and interest level. This allows them to place their focus on other candidates.

I know that communicating to the prospective employer that you need more time or withdrawing from consideration can be a very difficult conversation. It is human nature for many to want to delay or avoid this message altogether. This challenge, however, is not an excuse to avoid providing the necessary update.

Whether you are at the interview, offer, or job start process, “ghosting” is not a good strategy for a job candidate. Beyond not being the right thing to do, it permanently torches a relationship that may, at some later time period, be very beneficial to you. Always communicate to the Recruiter or Hiring Manager if you can’t make an appointment or need to withdraw your candidacy.

As always, best of luck in your job search.

The following has been prepared for the general information of RochesterJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.

Joe Stein
WNY Human Resources Professional

Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at:
Joe Stein


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