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“Ghosting” is Now a Thing in the Working World

Author: Sarah Midkiff Source: Refinery29

You’d never dream of following up with a hiring manager by texting, “You up?” But certain dating practices are seeping into the way we look for jobs, and it’s not a good thing. Ghosting isn’t just for dating anymore. Maybe it’s because the economy is doing so well, but job applicants have apparently started ghosting employers during the hiring process.

“I can think of one instance when we had a job offer extended and we revised the offer two or three times to meet all the requests of the candidate,” recalled career consultant Susan Power. “He signed off to accept it, it was a relocation, and then he just ignored and ghosted us. He didn’t relocate and start the job.”

What began as a move exclusive to letting someone down easy with the least amount of effort has become a way to do the same with potential employers. The growing trend was popularly documented last month on LinkedIn, but career consultants and hiring managers say this new, non-committal form of job hunting has been on the rise for the last few years.

For job seekers, it is a buyer’s market right now: Unemployment rates are low and people are feeling confident in their ability to get a new job offer, if not more than one. Maybe that’s why workers are quitting their jobs at the fastest rate since 2001. In past years, job seekers would be happy to get just about any offer in their chosen field. Job seekers were eagerly – often desperately – waiting for any word from a recruiter or hiring manager, and frequently found themselves left in the dark as hiring managers didn’t communicate that they had moved forward in the hiring process without them. Just because we expect it from companies doesn’t mean it’s not still ghosting. We’ve just already accepted it as the norm.

Now in an era of abundance, job seekers find themselves faced with learning how to professionally field multiple job offers. Enter job ghosting. Founder and CEO of Ladders Inc., Marc Cenedella believes that the workforce is finally reciprocating the lack of obligation employers have felt toward current and prospective employees. “Thirty to 35 years ago, we decided that companies don’t have an obligation to employees,” Cenedella explained to Refinery29. “Today, millennials have accurately figured out that unless there’s a contract saying they owe me something, they don’t really owe me anything. So, if they don’t owe me anything, I don’t owe them anything. That sense of obligation has really gone away.”

Career advice is becoming a two-way street. Just like job seekers are encouraged to find a way to make themselves stand out by connecting with their prospective employers, Power believes the same advice applies to companies looking to hire. “A lot of organizations do a poor job on the candidate experience. They don’t built a good rapport, maybe the recruiter isn’t overly communicative with the candidate about timing and process so the candidate in turn is not overly responsive,” said Power.


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