Ghosted- The new trend in the workplace
Updated: May 6
Author: Fawn Hentrel, Managing Partner, Accendi Group
Ghosting, the ceasing and shutdown of communication without any warning or justification has transcended beyond dating to the workplace. You may be wondering how this applies to companies. Well think about it from this perspective: Have you ever hired an employee, they come to work for a period of time, and then they never show back up? Have you had an employee who completely vanishes and never returns to work? How about a candidate you are aggressively pursuing who seems interested in your position, who one day just stops taking your calls? If any of this sounds familiar, then you’ve been ghosted and as the employer, just know that you are not alone.
When a candidate genuinely expresses interest in your open position, you start to woo them, or court them as you would if you were dating. The candidate accepts your position. You do everything you need to do to prepare for their arrival, but something happens on their start date. They are nowhere to be found. Your new hire goes dark. You call them, leave multiple messages, and all of your efforts show no results.
Today, many recruiters and employers are dealing with this new trend and it doesn’t seem like it is going to change anytime soon. More candidates falling off the radar for reasons that may reflect the tight labor market, or what I would say is a generational change we are seeing in the make-up of the workforce.
How unprofessional, right? Well, as you are reading this, you may be saying that it can’t be happening. However, it happens more frequently than not during various stages of the hiring process and with new hires. It is a hard statistic to try and capture across companies and industries, however among the conversations of recruiters, this trend is a hot discussion topic. While usually a trend in hourly-wage positions, this has started to become a trend for white collar positions. Let’s explore some of the potential reasons behind why employers could be experiencing this new trend.
1. Too many options
The candidate may feel they have the advantage. When you have a candidate, who is highly skilled or simply may have all the knowledge you may be seeking, and you think this candidate could be a good fit, remember that the candidate may often times have multiple options. What you have to offer may not be what they ultimately want, even though when you speak to the candidate, they sound like they have committed to you, however, the candidate suddenly falls off the radar.
2. Poor communication and untimely replies
Are your recruiters overwhelmed with the day to day task of candidate communications and logistics? Recruiters can often times get bogged down in the minutia and sometimes things slip under the radar. If your candidate feels forgotten due to lack of follow-up or timely replies with updates, you stand a chance of being ghosted.
3. The company is not well managed
When management and leadership are the problem and the employee believes it is obvious from day one.
4. One sided relationship
When you realize the job is not what you wanted even though the employer tells you they want you.
5. The job hired for is not the job in reality
New hires who complain within the first week of being hired that the job they were hired to do is not the job they are doing. In a culture where technology is used to do most functions of your day to day life, the candidate may text their manager that they quit, or simply never show back up to work coming to the conclusion that it would be easier to walk away and find another job or go with another offer that doesn’t require them to have that awkward conversation.
Regardless of the reason for ghosting the employer, the candidate needs to remember that in this digital age, it is easy to remember people and moments that stand out. Your memorable exit will be remembered. You never know when you could run into those same people you ghosted during another season in your career.
It is important to be mindful that trends can eventually fade or die. The candidate driven market can easily switch back to being employer driven. Having a simple phone conversation, or having one awkward conversation, is still a professional courtesy. Employers should start to consider various scenarios in the hiring process to help mitigate this trend. They can start by ensuring a professional courtesy is extended by following up with candidates who interview with recruiters or hiring managers and be mindful to not catfish or ghost the candidates when they do not get the position.
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