“The practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.” Oxford Languages Dictionary
Typically associated with casual flings or friendships, ghosting is the act of not getting back to or ending communication with someone on a personal or a professional level.
Being on the receiving end does not feel good, and the lack of warning, justification, or clarity leads to a loss of trust.
These days, there are almost always more applicants than jobs, and regrettably, rejection is expected. Similarly, hiring managers should expect that candidates’ interest in a job will change over time, given their expectations, reflection, and comparisons against other opportunities.
Rejecting and being rejected is tough. We don’t deny it. However, ghosting is counterproductive because the rejection is still taking place but without the same closure.
In this blog post, we strive to advise on keeping communication lines open even when you’re no longer interested, whether you are a hiring manager interviewing candidates or a candidate applying for jobs.
Sorry, something has come up
Unforeseen circumstances and scenarios are expected from time to time. Unexpected schedule clashes, personal priorities, or illness are all reasonable excuses to reschedule a meeting.
In any such scenario, inform the other person at the earliest possible moment and offer future availability for reference.
Thank you for your application
Applying for a job via an online portal can feel like sending your CV into a black hole, never to return.
Forbes has reported that 77% of job seekers claim to have been ghosted by a prospective employer in the last year, and only 27% of employers claim not to have ghosted a job seeker in the same period.
At cultivate, we strive to get back to every candidate who has applied. Don’t get us wrong; we don’t get it right every time, but we continuously make an active effort to review and respond to all applicants.
And for recruiters and hiring managers, remember: late is often better than never, and some feedback is better than none at all.
I’m just not that into…the job
Singapore (and most parts of Southeast Asia) is experiencing a talent shortage (#talentwar), and it’s likely candidates will receive multiple offers, counteroffers or decide not to proceed for other reasons. Withdrawing your application is okay. Rejecting an offer is okay. Deciding not to proceed is okay.
If you receive an offer and decide not to accept, or if you choose not to proceed with the interview process, inform the recruiter, hiring manager, or your point of contact. In place of a call, send a transparent and honest email, thank the recruiter for reaching out, clearly state that you are no longer interested in moving forward, and keep communication open for future opportunities. If you have clarity over specific roles and fields you are looking for, you can let the recruiter know.
If you are working through an agency, remember recruiters have thick skin and will not take such rejections personally. It is in an agency recruiter’s best interest to ensure the role is a good fit, and to recognise that a good fit takes two parties. Hence, as a candidate, do not worry about articulating your needs or loss of interest once you are clear on your decision.
What to do if you’ve been ghosted
As an applicant, if you have been ghosted, it is important not to take it personally, to hold your head high, and maintain your confidence. If you have contact details of the company you applied to, you can choose to follow up with an email or a call. J.T. O’Donnell offers some valuable tips for a follow-up email.
And remember, make sure your CV includes your contact information. As recruiters, we sometimes cannot get back to candidates because there is no email address listed on their CV, the email address is listed wrongly, or it is not identifiable by CV parsing software.