Written By: Kelsey Peacock
Recently, there has been a lot of attention drawn to the subject of ‘ghosting’ in the staffing world. Multiple articles have begun popping up on the matter as this seems to be happening more often.
What is ‘ghosting’?
People who abruptly cut off contact and turn silent without any explanation can be considered ‘ghosting’ a situation. Lately, candidates have been known to agree to an interview and not show up. Some have accepted jobs and not shown up on the first day, or even worked a few days and simply stopped showing up.
What could be the cause of this new trend?
“A tightening job market and a sustained labor shortage have contributed to a surge in professionals abruptly cutting off contact and turning silent” says Chip Cutter, Editor at Large of LinkedIn. Also, as we know, the unemployment rate is currently at an 18-year low.
The Los Angeles Times reported that more open jobs exist than unemployed workers. There were a record 6.7 million job openings in April 2018. More workers are voluntarily quitting their job which is ‘a sign of confidence in the labor market’, according to Reuters.com
. Employees have more opportunities, which has created more competition among employers. Candidates are able to say ‘no’ to jobs which puts them at an advantage. However, it’s how they say ‘no’ (or don’t) that is driving recruiters and HR professionals crazy… and leaves us wondering if we should report a missing person!
The ‘Bait & Switch’
At Access, we have had our own share of candidate ‘ghosts’. One specific instance that comes to mind happened recently when a candidate showed extreme interest in a position that they had interviewed for. This candidate called us daily to check in about the status of the position. Our client was not leaning towards this candidate, but as we saw her strong interest in the position, we asked the client to reconsider her. Finally, the client brought her in for a second round of interviews, and began to see her enthusiasm for the position and ultimately offered her the job. She was thrilled and set to start the following Monday. Come Monday morning, we receive a call from the client around 9:30 AM informing us that she never showed up! After many attempts to reach the candidate over the course of weeks, we inevitably gave up and had no choice but to assume she chose another offer. It came as a complete shock to us because of her determination to get this job. We still haven’t heard from her.
Once Upon a time in Excuse-Valley...
An outstanding accounting candidate was presented to a client and the client jumped at the opportunity to schedule an interview. Interview #1 was confirmed. 10 minutes before the interview the candidate emailed stating he was having car trouble and needed to reschedule. Interview #2 was confirmed. Morning of the interview the candidate called stating that a family member passed away and they need to reschedule for next week. Patiently the client continued to interview other candidates and gave this candidate a third chance. Interview 3 confirmed. The candidate never showed for the interview - never to be heard from again.
A Registered Nurse had an amazing interview with a client. She was so excited after the interview, she even went as far as to write outstanding thank you notes to everyone she interviewed with expressing her interest in the position. We were able to negotiate a higher salary based on her interview and skills - the candidate was delighted! She accepted and began the detailed onboarding/background process which consisted of several physicals / visits to her doctor and a series of shots. She kept us posted through the entire process. Everything came back clear and she was scheduled to start that following Monday. Monday came - the client called stating that she never arrived. We were so concerned that something bad had happened to her. She never returned our phone calls, text messages or emails.
Nothing but a flatline ---------------------------------
This behavior seems to be a spillover of the way the younger generation handles ‘break ups’ in the online dating world - ‘no answer, is an answer’. However, this is clearly not a professional way to handle any situation. Our advice to young professionals is to be more communicative in this process with a recruiter or a hiring manager. If you have multiple options, and you choose to take another opportunity, just say so! Yes, we understand that it may be an uncomfortable conversation, but keep in mind that we deal with these issues all the time - and we want to support you in your decision for the best opportunity possible. In the world of business, you never know WHO knows WHO, and ‘ghosting’ is not a good for your reputation.. Word gets out! Your reputation is worth more.