Ghosting In The Workplace

September 5, 2018
Robert Sanders
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 Estimated Read Time: 7 Minutes

 

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  • When you were in high school did you ever get stood up for a date? Have you ever known someone who did? When you expect someone to meet you somewhere at a certain time, and they don’t show up, it can be a pretty terrible feeling – especially if you don’t get any explanation, or warning ahead of time.
  • The acting of ghosting an employer is when the employer has made contact with a potential applicant and has offered them to come in for an interview or even have offered them the job and you just no longer hear from the applicant.

When you were in high school did you ever get stood up for a date? Have you ever known someone who did? When you expect someone to meet you somewhere at a certain time, and they don’t show up, it can be a pretty terrible feeling – especially if you don’t get any explanation, or warning ahead of time. Well bad news, that feeling may now follow you into the workplace. It’s called “ghosting” and it’s starting to happen a lot.

 

What Is Ghosting?       

As we’ve mentioned in our podcast, ghosting is the act of ending a personal or professional relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.

 

 

 

Let’s ignore that first definition and instead focus on the growing trend that most only thought applied to dating but is now entering the workforce. The acting of ghosting an employer is when the employer has made contact with a potential applicant and has offered them to come in for an interview or even offered them the job but the applicant is nowhere to be seen. The applicant doesn’t inform you that they’re no longer interested or give you any notice – they simply just disappear. In some extreme examples of ghosting, the applicant could even accept a position and never show up to work.

 

Why Applicants Are Ghosting   

So what’s going on? Why would an applicant refuse the opportunity to work for your organization and not have the professionalism to let you know?

 

Today, there are more job openings than people who want them. Applicants can be picky and you’re only as loyal as your options. With lots of options, comes a lot less loyalty throughout the hiring process because applicants know they can be more patient and relaxed in their job search. Don’t believe me? Well check out the graph below from CNN.

 

As it turns out, today’s trend of ghosting has been years in the making. White it would be convenient to highlight a single cause of ghosting, the reality is that there are multiple conditions contributing to the phenomena.  

  

 

Applicants don’t just have options, applicants now have leverage. It’s not like 2010, when applicants had to go all – in with the first employer to give them a chance. There’s a huge availability of jobs today and applicants realize that.

 

Another driver of ghosting behavior is a lack of responsibility. Many applicants feel no remorse for ghosting because employers have been ghosting applicants for years. Think about it, have you ever ghosted an applicant after an interview because you wanted to pursue a different candidate? Employers have so many people come in to interview for a position that it’s a lot of work to inform everyone who didn’t make the cut that they didn’t get the job. What employers were forgetting is that a rejection message might be just another task on your to do list but to an applicant it means the world.

 Another big reason you’re seeing an increase in ghosting is due to many applicants transitioning away from traditional employment. In today’s job market, we are continuing to see the growth of gigs and non-traditional employment like, Uber drivers, social entrepreneurships and even freelancers. With informal jobs on the rise employers find themselves with smaller applicant pools and a farther limited access to talent.

 

What Can Employers Do About Ghosting?   

Is there really a way to stop ghosting? Well, I may have an answer for you and it’s all about focusing more on your employee experience. The employee experience is the totality of everything an employee observes, comes in contact with, and participates in throughout their time with a company. From the first point of contact as a potential employee to the last second in their exit interview, all that and everything in between is the employee experience.

By focusing on the employee experience you put an effort into having a fun and engaging work environment. This attracts applicants to your organization. People want to work for a company that’s fun and who cares about their future and success. Be sure to show those potential applicants how great their employee experience with your company can be.

What do I mean? Have you ever thought about changing your tone from a boring, typical job application that outlines what you’ll be doing – asking generic questions we’re all familiar with to instead be fun and lively - showing your company’s personality right off the bat. How about throwing a question like this into the application?

 

“Do you believe in big foot? Tell us three reasons why you do or three reasons why you don’t.”

 

Yeah, the question is a little silly, but it works for so many reasons. Number one, it shows your personality. It shows that you’re a company that doesn’t need to take everything so seriously. It also gives you a glimpse into the applicant’s personality. From that question, you’re able to get a better idea what kind of culture fit they can be in your company. Do they like to have fun? Do they have a more serious demeanor? Asking these types of questions will not only give you valuable personality insight, they will also aid you in your quest to create an engaging employee experience – setting your organization apart from others your applicants may be in contact with.

As mentioned earlier the employee experience also extends to an employee’s last day. Conduct exit interviews, but really listen to what your employees have to say during the exit interview. If you’re interested in learning more about conducting an exit interview and doing it the right way  check out our recent blog. Conducting strong exit interviews to learn what past employees liked and didn’t like can help to improve your company as a whole.

All of this will help to improve every employee’s experience and will increase the value of your company amongst potential applicants. They will learn that your company values their employees and that they will enjoy working in such an uplifting environment. When applicants truly understand what I means to work with a great organization, they won’t want to ghost you, but instead will be knocking on your door to have the opportunity to work for such an awesome company. If you’re ready to start making your company better by focusing on the employee experience check my recent blog where I go over everything you need to do to enhance your employee’s experience with your company.    

 

Closing Thoughts 

We’d love to know what you think, or answer any questions you may have. Please leave a comment below to tell us your thoughts. To learn more, or if you have any questions, please email me at rsanders@validityscreening.com. For more great blogs and content please subscribe to our blogs here.

Topics: Blog, Culture



Robert Sanders

Written by Robert Sanders

Robert is our Marketing Executive. He is innovative, a creative thinker, and very good at digging into a problem to find the right answer for every topic. Robert speaks on various topics and brings about a lot of interesting points in different areas of business development and human resources. Robert loves to push the envelope and bring awareness to different issues and is also the voice of our podcast "The Water Cooler Podcast" .