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How to Deal with “Ghosting” in the Workplace

February 5, 2019
| ByGina Jessica Smith

Ghosting is the act of ending a relationship suddenly without explanation. It usually involves not responding to any attempts at communication, as though someone suddenly vanished. While this habit was once used for only social activities, (like not wanting a second date or slipping out of a party) it is now also being used in the work environment. This growing trend is not only damaging to a company’s reputation and bottom line, but it is forcing many firms to modify their hiring practices. So why exactly is this occurring and what can your organization do to minimize its effect on the workplace?

Why Is Ghosting in the Workplace on the Rise?

There was a time when job seekers were all too familiar with being ignored or snubbed after interviews, but now the roles are reversed. There are now more jobs available than people to fill them. The unemployment rate is lower than it has been in almost two decades, giving workers a newfound advantage. If they don’t like a job situation, or if they find something better, it’s easier than ever to go find something else.

In some situations, inaccurate job postings can also lead to ghosting. Generic posts or inaccurate job descriptions may weed out candidates who are not interested once they learn the real position or duties.

What Are the Different Types of Ghosting?

There are three different types of ghosting in the workplace.

1. Ghosting Between Candidates and Recruiters

The first type of ghosting between candidates and recruiters is a two-sided problem. Even after ongoing communication is established between a recruiter and candidate, one of them may suddenly become silent. Job applicants may suddenly break off communications with recruiters or not show up for an interview for no known reason. At the same time, recruiters may ignore job applicants and stop responding at any point in the hiring process.

2. Ghosting of New Hires

Another form of ghosting is when new hires do not show up for their first day. They may have accepted a job offer elsewhere and then inexplicably not reported for the job.

3. Employees Ghosting Employers

The last ghosting trend refers to employees who leave their current job without notice. While a two-week notice was once the norm, many employees leave with no or little notice.

Repercussions of Ghosting in the Workplace

Ghosting in the workplace can lead to negative repercussions for employees and employers alike.

Candidates who do not show up for their scheduled interviews may be ignored if they apply for a position in the future. The company may also blacklist new hires that don’t come to work for their first day. Employees who suddenly quit and do not provide notice may not only lose a good job due to a temporary solution that could have been resolved, but they may not be eligible for re-hire at the company.

At the same time, employers may be stuck with increased costs because of ghosting. Replacing an employee involves time and money, such as paying more for recruitment efforts to find a second wave of qualified candidates. In addition, it can impact productivity and sales because a key role wasn’t filled.

Effective Ways to Prevent Ghosting

Conscientious businesses can prevent or minimize the occurrence of ghosting by following the below tips:

  • Streamline the hiring process: Companies can streamline the hiring process so that it is expedited. This may involve having fewer interview rounds, interviewing multiple people at one time or interviewing candidates on specific days and times. The goal of a streamlined hiring process is to decrease the amount of time between interviews and start dates so that job offers are made quickly and candidates can begin work.
  • Keep applicants informed: Some applicants may ghost a company if they feel that they are not receiving adequate attention during the hiring process. Recruiters can outline steps and give an estimated timeframe so that employees are well-informed throughout the entire recruitment process.
  • Set a deadline: Employers should set a deadline for the applicant to accept or reject the position. They should also inform the applicant that the offer may be rescinded if not accepted by the deadline. Employers should also avoid informing others that they did not get the job until the applicant actually begins the job.
  • Implement a recognition program: Building a culture of recognition and establishing a social recognition program can drive loyalty and a strong sense of respect and appreciation. Employees who become part of the workplace are less likely to leave without giving proper notice.

Having a strong workplace culture and maintaining communication during the hiring process can help decrease the amount of ghosting a business experiences.

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