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Ghosting in recruitment? It may come back to haunt you

  15th April 2019       Carole Connor
 Accounting & Finance, Engineering, Science & Space, Human Resources, IT & Software Solutions, Job Seeking Resources, Office & Commercial, Recruitment

Ghosting – a term commonly used to describe the unexplained end of a romantic relationship, is now also happening in the recruitment industry.

Although people have been splitting up since the dawn of time, this new phrase is born from today’s casual online dating culture, where abrupt endings without further communication seem to be the norm. And now many recruitment professionals are starting to believe candidates are carrying a more informal, relaxed attitude over to recruitment from their online dating experiences.

More frequently, candidates think leaving a process unannounced and without explanation is acceptable; and one where they can simply swipe left to the next opportunity, Tinder style. According to research from LinkedIn, 95% of UK recruiters have experienced ‘disappearing’ candidates after an interview and/or accepting a job offer.

As a job hunter, you’ll form relationships with recruitment agencies and employers rather than future partners, but while the majority of candidates will nurture respectful bonds underpinned by professionalism, a ghosting culture is becoming more prevalent.

Going AWOL in the application process

You may be applying for multiple positions at the same time and although it may seem easier to ignore offers and opportunities when something better arrives in your inbox, there can be dire long-term consequences. Not replying to emails? Failing to turn up for interviews? Repeatedly leaving your voicemail to pick up calls? Although you’re not hurting anyone’s emotional feelings it’s poor form, leaving recruiters angry and perplexed, and ruining your professional reputation.

Candidates should also think carefully before cutting ties or stopping communication as they risk being blacklisted. This would inevitably harm any future job applications. What might happen if your dream job with a company you’ve ghosted is advertised six months later? Or perhaps the job you accept doesn’t pan out and you need to re-enter the job market? Many applicants go back to companies and agencies to see if old vacancies have been filled, but if you’ve got a red cross by your name, you’ll have self-sabotaged any opportunity.

It’s OK to change your mind

There are many instances when you may need to exit the job application process, including:-

  • You’ve applied for a job but have changed your mind after submitting your CV
  • You’ve secured an interview but don’t want to progress the application
  • You’ve been offered a job but need to turn it down
  • Your current employer has convinced you to stay in your current role
  • It’s your first day but you can’t take up the position

We understand that your circumstances may change but ghosting a recruitment agency or employer is unprofessional – it shows a lack of maturity and terrible communication skills.

How to break up with the application process

No matter where you are in the job journey, recruitment agencies and employers deserve knowing your intentions – it will save them valuable time and cast you in a better light than if you suddenly drop off the radar.

Even if you’ve only got as far as emailing your CV, people will be reading your application and making interview plans. Don’t waste their time – get in contact without delay.

Send a ‘Dear John’ email

If you’re not brave enough to call and pull out of the process, don’t panic. A polite email thanking them for their interest so far but stating you are no longer in a position to proceed takes minutes to draft and send. And don’t forget, recruitment is not like romance. Although you probably wouldn’t ‘consciously re-couple’ with an old flame, you may need to revisit a company or link up with an agency again. Add a line suggesting your circumstances may change and keep my details on file, and you’ve left the relationship open to reprise in the future.

Carole Connor

Business Manager

Carole Connor has worked in various account and business management roles within the recruitment sector for more than 20 years. Her achievements include the successful development and growth of entire temporary and permanent divisions, and she brings with her a wealth of knowledge of not only the local job market, …


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