SMITH BRAIN TRUST — A strong job market gives job hunters more leverage. Some are using it to “ghost” job interviews, according to a recent report from USA Today. Employers are reporting a sharp uptick in the number of job candidates who have blown off interviews, have not shown up to the first day of a work for a position they had accepted, or have just vanished from a current job without giving notice.
“As a career coach, I am horrified that someone would do that,” says Rachel Loock of the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. “I guess the job market is such that people think they can get away with that and it won’t come back and bite them.”
This bad behavior is very risky – and very unnecessary, says Loock. Instead of ghosting an employer, just be upfront, says Loock. Yes, it’s awkward. But get over it. The workplace – and life, for that matter – is full of awkward conversations, she says. Knowing how to navigate them is a critical skill. Here’s how:
Communicate in good faith. Be direct, honest and fair, says Loock. It happens – sometimes another opportunity comes up that is better for you. Be up front. While you don’t have to detail where you’re headed instead, let them know that you’ve decided not to pursue their opportunity so they can move on to other candidates. No explanation is needed, other than “I found a better fit.”
Be gracious. Be sure to thank the employer for his or her time and consideration. This is even more critical if you plan to work in the same industry. You never know where that person will end up. They could be the hiring manager at your next dream job. “And if you ghosted them, you know where your resume is going then – right in the trash,” says Loock.
As a career coach, I am horrified that someone would do that.
Don’t string people along. Once you are sure you aren’t interested in pursuing the opportunity, let the employer know. Don’t waste people’s time. Don’t avoid phone calls, texts and emails from the employer. “If I’m in the interview process with you and I never hear back from you, I might think you’re dead on the side of the road somewhere,” says Loock. “Meanwhile you’re just avoiding me.”
Don’t be typecast. A millennial thing? Don’t give employers a chance to suggest it, says Loock. The millennial generation already is saddled with labels of entitlement and narcissism, don’t let anyone add “ghosters” to the list, she says.
Save face. Remember, it’s your name on the line. At the end of the day, it comes down to tarnishing your name. And your name is your reputation, your personal brand, says Loock. “Some of these ghosters must think they can just burn through these things.”