Decorations are out in full force and haunted houses are aplenty, but those are not the only ghostly activities job seekers are partaking in this Halloween season. Due to a strong labor market and employers struggling to find talent, job “ghosting” is on the rise. In fact, as many as two-thirds (66 percent) of U.S. managers have been snubbed by candidates who initially accepted a job offer after an interview, only to retract it — or disappear entirely — ahead of their start date.
A term once limited to the online dating realm, ghosting has become common in the hiring process. It may be tempting in the current job market, especially if candidates receive multiple offers, don’t feel valued by a potential employer, and/or experience poor communication during recruitment.
Even so, job seekers should avoid ghosting at all costs. Why? Because it burns bridges, and earning a reputation as someone who can’t be trusted is something workers never want to do in their professional career. A hiring manager is unlikely to forget being ghosted, and that bad karma is likely to follow a job ghoster in the future.
Candidates who are thinking about ghosting should be spooked from the potential professional downfalls. Here’s what to do instead:
- Understand the right way to turn down a job offer: While it can be uncomfortable to say “no,” or decline a potential job offer, it’s not an excuse to go radio silent. Ghosting is a sign of immaturity and unprofessionalism, and those are nottraits for which workers want to be known. Be confident, honest, and upfront with a hiring manager when turning down an offer.
- Negotiate: A big driver of ghosting is when candidates receive multiple job offers, often with some offering higher pay than another. Rather than ghosting a position on the lower end of the salary spectrum, consider negotiating or leveraging one of your offers in an effort to change the stakes. At the very least, job seekers are communicating they have higher offers in play, and aren’t simply leaving a hiring manager hanging.
- Don’t hold grudges: Sometimes, job candidates may find redemption in “ghosting” a potential employer, as they may have been on the receiving end of similar behavior in the past. While it may feel temporarily good to get some sort of “revenge,” it’s not worth it in the long run.
Bottom line: don’t scare away future opportunities, big or small, by ghosting an employer. Being respectful and courteous goes a long way in today’s hiring environment, and professionals never know when their paths may cross again down the line.