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How to avoid getting ghosted

How to avoid getting ghosted
(Dreamstime)

Has a new hire not shown up on what was supposed to be the first day of work?

Has a job candidate come in for an interview and then stopped returning your calls and emails?

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Has a new hire worked for a week or two and then just disappeared?

All these behaviors happen in all levels of jobs (The Wall Street Journal even shared the story of a job candidate who faked his own death to avoid telling a company that he'd decided not to take the offer.)

Now, let's all say this together, loudly and clearly: Ghosting people is rude. Unless your life is in danger or something equally dramatic, you are being very rude if you simply go off the grid. If you don't really want the job, politely decline. It's fine.

But, let's also say this clearly: Ghosting job candidates is just as rude. Never getting back to someone, never thanking him or her for coming in and forgetting all about someone really isn't fair. Even worse: Giving someone a job offer, waiting until they've given their notice at their current job and then saying, "Oops, never mind."

Employers often have treated job candidates like items they can just grab off a shelf whenever they need them. Employers are so deep into the concept of "talent acquisition" that they forget why we called it recruiting in the first place: You actually have to convince someone to work for you when you recruit him or her.

In the past, unemployment levels were fairly high, so there were plenty of job candidates. But now? You really need to recruit people.

So, what can you do to reduce the chances of a new hire ghosting you?

First of all, be honest. Don't try to convince a job candidate that your company is the best thing since sliced bread if it actually is a bit of a grind. Make sure your job description reflects the true job.

Don't say, "We'll just get someone on board and then we'll have the new person do these tasks we all hate" and then not bother to tell the new person about this unpleasant rite of passage. Be honest and upfront about the job and emphasize that a new person can move up quickly in the organization.

If no one wants this job, however, or people ghost after a few weeks of work, that's a sign that something needs to change at your workplace.

Second, make decisions quickly. If you find a candidate who is a good fit, make her an offer the same day as the interview. Sure, it might not be practical to do it on the spot, but you should be able to do it that day, or perhaps the next one.

The job market is competitive, so you need to snap up good people.

When you drag out your decision-making process, your candidate has more time to look for other jobs and you're indicating that you're not all that excited about the candidate. You do not need to do six rounds of interviews. You don't.

If you have a bunch of good candidates, naturally you don't want to make an offer until you've interviewed everybody, but streamline that as much as possible.

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In addition, do not ignore candidates. Make sure your company gets back to every person who interviews, even to simply say, "Thanks, but no." Your applicant tracking system should have a way to send out an automated email once you click "position filled."

If everyone stopped this juvenile behavior, then you'd see fewer job candidates ghosting you. Right now, turnabout is fair play. Fix it on the hiring end.

And, if you are tempted to ghost a company, don't.

Ghosting is forever. Ghosting a firm means you will likely be on its do-not-hire list, forever, especially if you actually start work. Walking out on a job without notifying anyone will make you ineligible for rehire and that will follow you even if the small company you interviewed with is purchased by a bigger company. Word also gets around, especially if you work in a small industry where everyone knows everyone or they like to gossip.

Careers are long and you may run into these people again. Suck it up, send an email (not a text) or make a phone call to turn down a job or to quit. If you've only been there a few weeks, two weeks' notice isn't necessary, but if you've been there for more than six months, plan on it. You likely have more to lose than the supervisor does.

It's OK to quit. Companies often have no loyalty to you, so if you feel like leaving is the right thing for your career, do so. But, you do risk damaging important relationships if you don't give any notice or if you behave poorly.

Think about what you need in 10 years, not just today.

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