“Ghosting” is a term that is being used more frequently. It is defined as cutting off all communication with someone without warning and without explanation. Many people feel victimized when being on the receiving end of this practice. The person being “ghosted” sometimes feels abandoned or insulted. The term may have originated with dating behavior, where one partner ends a relationship suddenly by ignoring all attempts to maintain contact.
Employers have concerns about the growing trend of candidates who don’t show up for scheduled interviews, don’t arrive on the first day of work, or even quit without giving notice. Some employees are quitting their jobs by walking out without saying a word. This trend is becoming known as “ghosting” in the workplace.
What Causes Ghosting? Some individuals seek to avoid conflict or are highly stressed by unpleasant conversations. Instead of confronting the issue and discussing their concerns, they may feel more comfortable leaving and avoiding any further communication as a method to resolve that conflict. Sometimes in the workplace, ghosting could be the result of receiving what is perceived as a better offer, receiving a counteroffer from their prior employer, hearing negatives about the new employer, or even deciding the new role is not a good match. Their circumstances and thoughts about the new company can change after applying or even after accepting a job offer. They see ghosting as an easy way out, rather than having to apologize, explain or have a disagreement. The trend may be influenced by social media, where email and texting are replacing traditional communication methods, such as phone calls and personal meetings.
HR Professionals are seeing a trend in the job market where historically low unemployment is giving candidates more options and more leverage in negotiating with employers about job opportunities. Employees have more options for employment and can move quickly from one job to the next, ignore employment offers they choose not to accept or accept multiple offers at once with little perceived negative consequences. This has led to increased costs to employers for recruiting, onboarding and training.
What can employers do differently? There are several strategies that can help minimize the negative effects of ghosting:
Ghosting is likely to continue. Employers should adjust to this trend by understanding its causes and taking some steps to adjust. You can reduce the chance that your business will be the victim of ghosting.