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Ghosting in a Suit

The Ghosting Effect

It’s not Halloween and we’re not on a dating app, there’s no reason for ghosts to be in the business world.

I cannot express the number of people I’ve spoken to over the last few weeks that have told me how they go in for interviews and are ghosted. The interview happens, they’re led to believe they’ll be going further into the interview or hiring process, and then they’re Ghosted.

Now of course this isn’t directed at just employers, potential employees have done this to some of my peers in HR too. It’s crazy how this phenomenon of ghosting is sweeping the working world.

Don’t get me wrong I understand the holidays have been upon us lately but that isn’t really an excuse. It is simple enough to craft an automated email stating you’ll be out for the holidays, hell most email platforms give you the option to craft an away or out-of-office email.

So, employers and recruiters in the hiring process, why are you ghosting your candidates? Candidates why aren’t you giving respect to interviewers and letting them know you’ve accepted another position?

In my opinion, it comes down to decency and respect. An email takes 5 minutes to type up. Employers, you put a candidate through the wringer with interview after interview. Then don’t respect their time to email them after they’ve taken the time to follow up. OR candidates you waste a company’s time in interviewing then refuse to follow up stating there was another offer?

As the interviewer, you gave hope to the candidate and I suppose that’s a part of the game, but who wins? Clearly, that candidate doesn’t but you certainly don’t either. It affects you in your search for other prospective candidates. It’s a small world and word travels fast.

Though of course, there’s the opposing side to that. As the candidate who ghosted a potential employer, you’ve now made a name for yourself. As stated previously, it’s a small world and word travels fast.

In ghosting, you show more about who you are and/or the organization you represent than you may realize. Not only are you expressing you didn’t care about their time spent preparing, but you’re altering (or damaging) a reputation that was diligently created, correct? One small move, one minor decision you may repeat in ignoring someone becomes a habit. Once that damning habitual process begins it slowly but surely creates a decline in reputation.

Back to the respect aspect, respect others’ time. We’ve all heard the old saying “patience is a virtue” and sure that can be agreed upon. Though, I am certainly not a patient person.

Why do I struggle with patience? Because time is valuable. This doesn’t mean only my time, but the time of those around me too. If an interviewer says “I need to fill this position as soon as possible” and I know I am the candidate for the job, then I expect the interviewer to be on top of the hiring process as much as I think they’d expect me to follow up.

There’s no reason a hiring process should take weeks to months. I get told continuously “hiring comes last”. Then why are you hiring for the position, you need the help, right? You need the hands and at that point, you’re wasting your own time by overloading yourself and not delegating.

In taking weeks or months to complete the hiring process, you’ve waited too long and lost a top candidate. Remember, if you wait, someone else won’t.

Of course, this leads to timing, we know the golden rule of waiting a minimum of 24 hours before following up and responding within 24 hours. The caveat to that is don’t respond too quickly though or you’ll look desperate.

Who came up with those rules? Can I have a word with them?

I know so many people that become so excited about jobs they don’t have it in them to wait and want to show they’re on top of it. It doesn’t mean they’re not busy, they’re excited. If you see a potential employee as desperate because they responded too soon, maybe you need to reevaluate your leadership style. The new generation entering the workforce is looking for somewhere with effective communication and wants to banish these ideals of “waiting”.

Further in the discussion of time and respect, your title or who you are doesn’t give you the right to ghost! You started somewhere too, you should remember what that is like, and you have to know there’s a level of respect to be given regardless.


Lastly, to the employers and candidates that do continuously follow-up, those who show respect, and encourage others around them- you’re amazing. Keep being the building block to a better business. Maybe when Halloween comes around again we can all dress up in suits as ghosts for a good laugh.

Just keep in mind, our evolving world of business and technology means ghosts won’t last forever. The right employer is out there, the right candidate is out there, don’t give up.

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