Why Workers and Employers are Ghosting Each Other

Have you ever found yourself in this situation: you’ve made it through the first round of interviews, been presented to your team members and told you’ve got the job, only to still be waiting days or weeks later for an official confirmation of your role? Welcome to the world of employment ghosting.

Rather than sending a formal rejection or an explanation of what has happened, potential employers are ignoring interview candidates. It’s a practice that’s common in the recruitment process; one recent study of 1,500 global workers found that 75% of jobseekers have been ghosted by a company after a job interview. Employers openly acknowledge that they do it as well, with only 27% of employers surveyed by Indeed saying they hadn’t ghosted a candidate in the past year.

But it’s not just companies. Right now, employees are ghosting back, and in the same 2021 Indeed survey, 28% of workers said that they’d ghosted an employer. Employers reported that candidates are cutting off communications following an initial phone screening, and a quarter said new hires had “no-showed” on their first day at work.

Ghosting is considered bad practice for both companies and workers; no one likes being on the receiving end of it. Its rise seems inescapable as the digital hiring processes inundate companies with candidates, making replying to everyone hard, even as labour shortages give job-hunters more options as employers scramble for talent. Is this the inevitable consequence of an increasingly discourteous recruitment process – or can steps be taken by both sides to avert a downward spiral?

Easier – but more impersonal?
Yuletta Pringle, of the Society for Human Resource Management states “Labour shortages have left employers pinched and desperate to hire, meaning they have to push out a ton of feelers online and may not be able to respond to everyone,” she explains. “On the employee side, there are so many job vacancies that they may be ghosting potential employers as they search for their ideal role and move around during the recruitment process.

In many cases, recruitment processes have been digitised. Job-search algorithms place the open positions right in front of workers. ‘Easy apply’ options mean candidates can send off resumes for multiple jobs more effortlessly than ever. Virtual interviews have improved accessibility, increasing opportunities for employers and workers to find the best fit.

However, the convenience of digitised and virtual recruitment comes at a cost. Employers are having to both widen their net and interview more people because of the hiring crisis. That creates a knock-on effect for hiring managers who are dealing with a glut of applicants and roles and just can’t get back to everyone.

The loss of in-person interviews may also be a factor in ghosting by both parties. “It can sometimes be harder to build a rapport with someone virtually. “The emotional investment of travelling to meet someone for an in-person interview is difficult to replicate when you’re clicking on a calendar link from home, and it’s easier for employers to ghost when you’re losing that human, face-to-face element.”

Balancing ghosting and professionalism
Market conditions may well mean that not replying to every lead or candidate is becoming more normalised. But ghosting comes with downsides to both employers and candidates: it leaves a bad impression, likely ending a professional relationship before it’s even begun.

Pringle suggests that both employers and workers could benefit from thinking about what constitutes ghosting and where this strays into unprofessionalism. Responsibility for communication should still fall on the employer’s side – and the right kind of communication can limit the prospect of ghosting from the outset. “If the employer is as clear and specific on the requirements of the position as possible, right at the beginning of the hiring process, then that could help reduce ghosting on the employees’ side,” she says.

But workers have responsibilities, too. Rather than applying for jobs on autopilot, workers should mindfully select positions that offer a good cultural fit. Otherwise, they risk wasting their own and recruiters’ time.

For both sides, the rule of thumb seems to be that the further you go down the recruitment process, the less acceptable it is to ghost. The more effort an applicant or a company has invested in the recruitment process, the ruder an abrupt end to contact will feel. Inevitably, it will leave a bad impression.

If you have found yourself in this situation and are unsure what to do next, get in touch with us today and we can assist you with finding your dream job through our career coaching services.
For more information, head to https://dreamjobconsulting.com.au/product/career-coaching/

Source: https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20220311-why-workers-and-employers-are-ghosting-each-other

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