Ghosting Employers Is the New Trend…Here’s Why You Should Never, Ever Do It

David Vigliotti, Vice President
Follow: Linkedin

With unemployment at its lowest rate in almost 20 years and the pool of qualified job candidates suffering severe drought conditions, the competition for talented employees is hotter than ever – and leading to a new and unsettling trend: Ghosting employers.

Ghosting is no longer relegated to the dating world. Employers are feeling the chill too. More and more job candidates are no-shows for scheduled interviews, their first scheduled day of work, and even current employees are deciding to quit without notice or simply just stop showing up. Remember Office Space? The part where Peter is complaining about his job and Joanna (Jennifer Aniston) asks him if he’s going to quit and he says, “Nuh-uh. Not really. I’m just going to stop going.” It might be hilarious in Office Space, but it’s not so funny when it’s happening with increasing frequency in real life.

It’s not just millennials either, says a new report from CBS News. It’s happening regardless of demographic.

Most of us know the feeling of being ghosted by an employer at some point in our professional careers. Ever thought you nailed an interview and then never heard from the company again?

The tables may be turning in today’s job market. Nowadays it seems like everyone is desperate to hire, and it may be tempting to ghost employers in favor of something better. If you’re landing multiple interviews, why show up to one that you’re pretty sure you won’t take? Better not to waste eveyone’s time, right? Wrong. Here’s why.

Every town is a small town. Even Boston.

When you’re a no-show, you’re burning a bridge. Big time. People switch jobs all the time, but they don’t forget being stood up. You never know when the hiring manager you ghosted for an interview or call back for one job might suddenly be the hiring manager at another company that has your dream job. Not to mention, in today’s social media environment, employers are reaching out through social networks to find their next hire   – and vetting candidates. The last thing you need is for the hiring manager to hear you have a reputation for being unprofessional.

You’re only hurting yourself.

Blowing off an interview is pound wise and penny foolish. You owe it to yourself to listen to all the information you can before taking a position. Not showing up to an interview keeps you from an informed decision or having multiple offers on the table. And, if you’re working with a recruiter, know that candidates who ghost a recruiter are unlikely to be referred for future opportunities.

Saying no is a skill.

Avoidance might seem like the easier road to take, but it’s important to be able to face and deal with difficult conversations or confrontation early on in your career. Learning to say no or “not interested” is an important professional skill to have. Ghosting just shows an employer that you lack the skills to communicate and deal with conflict. An employer would much rather you be upfront with them about the situation than leaving them wondering why you’re not returning their attempts to reach you – especially if you initially expressed interest.

Just because you’ve begun conversations with a potential employer doesn’t mean you need to continue to take up your time or theirs if the position is truly not a fit or you’re no longer interested. Just as no one wants to be ghosted, no one wants to waste time either. But, have the professional courtesy to respond or reach out with a polite and professional, “No thank you,” or “I’ve decided I’m not interested.” While the interviewer may be disappointed, it shows that you respect them and their time, and in turn, they’ll respect you. And remember, you never know when or where you may cross professional paths again.