• Kay & Black

Ghosting and the Art of Disappearing

Professional Ghosting.


Ghosting is a term popularized by dating culture and has moved into the realm of the professional workplace. We are seeing more and more articles about the topic and are hearing more and more people being affected by it.


Ghosting can be anything from unanswered emails in a flooded inbox to avoiding paying consultants after they have completed work. As recruiters we have seen how candidates looking for work will ghost prospective employers when they either lose interest or are moving forward with another offer. We have encountered clients who will ghost when they are juggling multiple candidates, priorities change and even when they move onto other prospects.


Why does this happen? How have we allowed this behavior to seep into our professional sector?


“Professional Ghosting” is becoming far more common these days. In the recruiting context prospective employers don’t respond after promising interviews, candidates go missing in action after their interviews, and both sides, at times, do not communicate to external recruiters.

Could this behavior be costing a talent their career? Could this affect a company’s brand and reputation? Leaving a bad impression can have negative consequences in the future.


Ignoring external recruiters, not following up after interviews, avoiding confrontation. Ghosting takes on many definitions.


Why aren’t we treating one another with the respect we expect?


When no response becomes the default response, something is terribly wrong. It’s a behavior that happens more often. This won’t get anyone anywhere.


For candidates, 9 out of 10 times the ghosting has nothing to do with you. Don’t take it personally. Ghosting can happen for a variety of reasons – chances are the client forgot, got too busy or wanted to avoid an awkward conversation.


The behavior is less about malice and more about discomfort with the situation and avoiding confrontation. With technology changing the way we communicate, both candidates and clients are put in difficult situations that often is based off work overload, sparing feelings or no real answers.


Overall much of our success as candidates, recruiters and clients comes down to how we manage and develop our professional networks, ghosts included. Try not to hold grudges, keep moving forward, find empathy, and when in doubt, Don’t burn the bridge.

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