Career Corner: A Deeper Look at Ghosting

Today, there are many options so job seekers ghost the company that didn’t take the time to create a two way street. – Courtesy photo

By Angela Copeland

There’s been a lot in the news about ghosting lately. Job seekers aren’t showing up to interviews. And, they’re not coming to work on their first day – all with no notice. At first look, it can be explained simply: companies have been treating job seekers badly for years, and now, it’s their turn. But, I think there may be more to it than this.

The job search has turned into such a one way street. Ask anyone you know if they’ve ever turned down a job offer. You’ll be surprised to know many have not. If they’re offered a job, they take it. Job offers were hard to come by.

Because of this, the search process has been catered to the hiring manager. After all, they’re the one who’ll sign your paycheck.

Job seekers are expected to take IQ tests. They’re expected to take personality assessments. They’re asked to disclose their full salary history. Employers make candidates open their phone book of references. The job seeker is expected to cancel meetings and to sneak out of work at the last minute to accommodate the hiring manager’s schedule. 

Now, think of it from the other side. The employer often doesn’t talk about who they are in the job description. They share what they want in a candidate. The hiring manager goes as fast or slow as they please. Often, candidates are never given a tour of the office where they’ll be working. They often don’t have the chance to meet the team members they’ll work with.

The candidate is expected to make a decision with far less information than the company has to make their decision.

In addition, the job seeker is expected to accept a job offer in just a few days – and sometimes with incomplete information. I have seen a company pressure a candidate to accept a job offer before the person was told what the salary would be.

I believe that part of the reason job seekers ghost companies is this. The job seeker is forced to make a decision more quickly than they feel comfortable. Getting an interview at all is a huge effort. The job seeker doesn’t want to walk away from a perfectly good offer, so they accept. Then, they have a little time to learn more about the company. They visit the new city where they might move. They learn more about the people they might be working with. And, suddenly, they realize that they shouldn’t have accepted the job offer at all.

The difference between now and a few years ago is this. There are other jobs available. In the past, the job seeker may have found themselves in the same position, but they would have stuck with their decision because it was the only option.

Today, there are many options. So, the candidate ghosts the company that didn’t take the time to create a two way street.

Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.

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