With an undefined Brexit looming closer, there’s growing concern that decreased immigration will significantly shrink the workforce in Britain. Of the skilled EU citizens currently living in the UK, 47 percent say they are considering leaving within the next five years, while businesses in some fields are already facing a shortage of qualified candidates.
As the dynamic between employers and employees shifts, the phenomenon called ‘ghosting’ has become more prevalent, both in Britain and elsewhere around the world. Ghosting is a term coined by the online dating industry to describe when a potential match stops responding to communication, indicating they are no longer interested in a relationship. In regards to employment, it has a similar connotation. When ‘ghosting’, an applicant or candidate basically disappears and stops responding to emails or phone calls, often at a relatively advanced point in the hiring process. In some cases, the person may even fail to show up to work on their first day.
Ghosting Is More Common that People Think
According to recent report from CBS news in the US, recruiters have experienced ghosting with a surprising number of professional candidates. The individual initially is very responsive and appears interested and excited about the work. He or she makes it to the shortlist and is perhaps even offered the job, but suddenly all communication is cut off. As one can imagine, this leaves the recruiter somewhat at a loss, unsure if there was a serious emergency or if the person has simply lost interest in the job. Should they file a missing person report or simply move on to the next applicant?
Ghosting is unlikely to occur when jobs are scarce. Anyone lucky enough to find themselves in the running for a position is going to do everything they can to secure it. However, young graduates in a desirable field where workforce demands exceed the number of available candidates may easily find themselves juggling several appealing offers. It may seem easier to disappear than face a frank discussion with an intimidating superior. Unfortunately, this type of immature response can lead to regrets farther down the road.
Ghosting Can Cause Reputation Damage
Although the term ghosting is recent, the idea itself isn’t. Candidates have always occasionally disappeared and stopped responding to phone calls. Yet today this practice is much more detrimental to professional reputation than it used to be. With almost everything posted online, it’s hard to go completely dark. A potential boss can probably find out what happened by running a Google search, or checking your LinkedIn profile. In a tightly-knit industry word travels fast, and it’s likely your new boss and other future employers will hear about your behaviour. In the worst case scenario, an angry recruiter might leave public comments detailing what happened.
Ghosting will damage your reputation and make it difficult to build a career. It might feel good to take revenge on all the employers who have failed to respond to you in the past, but in the long run it’s your professional reputation that will take the hit. It’s far better to build communication skills with an honest conversation about why you decided to accept another offer. You’ll earn the recruiter’s respect and increase the chances they might consider you for another position in the future.
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