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I Never Believed in Ghosts….Until I Started Recruiting


Ghosted, by definition, is to end a relationship (personal or professional) with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication. My colleague, Monya, kicked off this blog series last week with her blog, Facing the “Ghosts” in Hiring, so I wanted to finish it off with my personal experiences and things I have learned from them.

In the last couple of months, there have been several situations where not only me, but also my colleagues, have been ghosted. In one instance, I had a candidate who was very excited about a job opportunity. Everything lined up with what she was looking for, but when it came time to schedule the interview she ghosted. A client of mine needed to fill a job ASAP, but after receiving a few solid candidates to review, ghost. Finally, a candidate didn’t show on their first day of work in a direct hire placement without any explanation.

The low unemployment rate, although is great for our economy, I believe is one of the factors of this ghosting phenomenon. Candidates have multiple opportunities they are being considered for at a time, and they are getting counter offers if they are trying to leave jobs. Basically candidates are king and they have options. Like my colleague mentioned in her blog, calling to tell recruiters or hiring managers about other offers that have been received, that they’re not going to start at this new job, and/or that they found something “better” is really hard to do. Most people are not great at handling conflict. I also think people genuinely don’t want to disappoint other people; however, that’s precisely what they’re doing. It’s way easier to ghost. One last thing that I think can contribute to ghosting is a past experience. Perhaps they’re ghosting because they themselves have been ghosted.

Why you need to stop ghosting:

1. You’re burning bridges faster than fireworks burn on the 4th of July.
Right now you do have options, but some day the market will turn again. You’ll be in need for a new job for some reason and the connection you once had with a recruiter may be long gone. Your reputation as a candidate has a lot to do with whether a recruiter will work with you or an employer hire you. Once you’ve disappeared, it’s hard to make yourself relevant again. It’s a lot easier for humans to remember the bad things instead of the good things. You may want to try to get a job at that same employer even five years down the road, but it’s a good possibility they’ll only remember that you didn’t show up or call when you had the chance to do so. Make sure the bridges that you may need or want in the future stay usable and not too charred to walk.

2. Honesty is the best policy.
We are used to hearing bad news. It’s okay to tell us what’s really going on. I’ll refer back up to burning bridges and keeping your reputation positive. How you handle yourself now is a good indicator of how you’ll handle yourself in the future.

3. Time is of the essence.

I understand that hiring managers are busy, especially during certain times of the month and year, but candidates are flying off of the shelves these days; some are even getting multiple offers. It is to your benefit to set aside a few minutes to review resumes and either let me (hopefully I am your first choice for a recruiter) or the candidate know if they are in consideration or not. Waiting a week or two or even a few days for that matter is too long. Communication is key in any relationship but especially when you’re trying to fill your job. I prioritize my time around the clients who give me quick and honest feedback. I also want what is best for my candidates. The client I mentioned above who ghosted for two weeks got back and wanted to interview a candidate. When it came down to it, she utilized that lack of feedback and respect of time to make her decision between that offer and another offer. She was scared that’s how she’d be treated if she were their employee.

What can we do to be proactive in stopping ghosting?

1. Communication is key.
One way to hopefully prevent being ghosted is setting expectations ahead of time about how this process is about communication. Like I said earlier, it’s a good possibility they’ve been ghosted themselves so providing any feedback to them in a timely manner is so important.

2. Early bird gets the worm.
Making decisions is hard, and every company I work with has their own hiring process. If there was a time for change, this is as good as any. We are in a place where candidates aren’t waiting on offers. If you want to hire someone, cut the red tape and make an offer. Even then it’s not guaranteeing you an acceptance, but at least you get to play. Waiting days and weeks doesn’t work in these times. If you have a long interview process, it might make sense to try to condense it into a half day so that you can include everyone right away. I also think it’s important to keep a bench of contenders in your interview process. If there are a few that you like, move them all forward in the process. It is good to have a favorite or “A Player,” but don’t cut the rest loose until you know you have an accepted offer.

Facing your fears is scary, but ghosts are scarier. I hope that after Aur (see what I did there?) blog series on ghosting that you realize that even though it’s easier, it is not the best option for anyone involved. If you’re a serial ghoster, it’s time to move on and do it better next time. As always, if you need help having those tough conversations, you know who to call? Ghost busters! I meant Aureus Group!

Chelsea Liska

Chelsea has been with Aureus Group since September 2011, and currently is an Account Manager for the Iowa market. Chelsea works with clients to discuss their staffing needs and assist in finding them the perfect candidate to join their team. She loves when she is able to use her skills to help someone and give them an amazing experience in their candidate and career search. Every day Chelsea gets to be a part of a company that is building into her so that she can build into others. When she isn’t working, she is active in her church. Chelsea loves being active and playing volleyball, golf, softball, snowboarding, working out, and hanging out with her friends and family. Binge watching her favorite shows is definitely a notable skill! She is personally and professionally committed to being an “Energy Ambassador!”

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