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Career Corner: Ghosting – The Dating Phenomenon Hitting the Job Search World

Are prospective employees “ghosting” you? – Courtesy photo

By Angela Copeland

The number of companies reporting job search candidates “ghosting” them is on the rise. Ghosting is a term typically used in dating. It happens when you’ve been dating and one person stops responding to all communication with no reasons as to why. They may suddenly stop returning calls, texts, or emails. It’s as if they disappear.

In the past, companies did this to candidates without thinking about it. The job seeker would put in many hours for interviews and preparation then the company would decide it wasn’t a good fit and would drop the candidate.

What goes around comes around it seems. Now that the job market is improving, candidates are dishing this same approach back at employers. Companies are reporting that job seekers are bailing on scheduled interviews and, after accepting job offers, they aren’t showing up to their first day. Some companies are reporting that existing employees are quitting with no notice. They just don’t come back.

One NBC report estimated that 20 to 50 percent of job applicants and workers are ghosting their employers. So, what’s a company to do about this? The job market is tight, and companies still need to hire.

First and foremost, treat those you’re interviewing the way you’d want to be treated: with respect. Proactive job searching is hard. It’s an emotionally painful process. If you’ve ever been without a job, you know how it feels.

Be transparent. If you already have someone in mind to hire, don’t lead a candidate on needlessly. If you are putting the position on hold, tell them. If the candidate isn’t the right fit, let them know and if you aren’t sure when you plan to call them back, be honest.

Last, you’re building a relationship with everyone you interview. Just because they’re not a good fit for this job doesn’t mean they won’t be a fit for a job in the future and they may know someone who is a fit. If you work to build a relationship with each person, even if it’s just as a LinkedIn connection, you’ll increase the chances of being a company that people want to work for.

I speak to executives every day who are looking for a new job. They’re shocked at how long it can take. They can’t believe how hard the rejection can be and they are often completely unprepared for how out of control they feel through the process. It can be like driving a car that has no brakes.

If you’re a company that’s experiencing candidate ghosting, it’s time to look in the mirror. Are you the kind of place where employees want to work? How do you treat the candidates you interview?

The cutthroat approach to business worked, when the market was tough for job seekers. But, now that job seekers are back in the driver’s seat, a new game plan is required to win the best talent.

Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.