Ghosting Your Recruiter: WTF!?

Ghosting your Recruiter: What are You Thinking??
Most people are familiar with the idea of ghosting. A person who doesn’t want to be in a relationship anymore basically decides to drop off the face of the planet and go incognito.
Rather than let the other person know their decision, they stop all communication. No texts, no calls, no emails, and no explanation!

You may have been ghosted, or ghosted someone else, but if you’ve experienced it on either end of the spectrum you’ll know it doesn’t feel great.

Ghosting doesn’t just apply to personal relationships either. It’s very much a part of business relationships, and recruitment is no exception. A person who has reached out to a recruiter, built up a relationship and asked for support in finding a role, suddenly decides they don’t need the recruiters help anymore.

It may be because they have:

  • found another role
  • decided to stay in their current role
  • moved interstate
  • decided to work with another recruiter

But for whatever reason, answering the phone or responding to the recruiter feels a lot harder than ghosting. So they continue with an avoidance strategy until the recruiter gives up.

What psychologists say

Psychologists have weighed in on the ghosting phenomena, with numerous research studies proving its existence in personal and business relationships. Studies have also found that people ghost recruiters and potential employers by not responding to offers or not showing up for interviews.

Why people do it isn’t particularly clear, with those surveyed giving a vast range of reasons for their decision. What is clear, however, is the damage it can cause to personal relationships including friendships.

In an article published in Psychology Today, psychologist Jennice Vilhauer called ghosting “a passive-aggressive interpersonal tactic” that “gives you no cues for how to react”. Shrouded in ambiguity, you’re left wondering “Should I be worried? What if the person is hurt? Should I be upset? Maybe they’re just busy…”.

My own experience with ghosting

Dealing with ghosting is a natural part of any recruiter’s career, and I’ve experienced it numerous times in mine.

One particular candidate who avoided me for weeks finally returned my call and explained that she’d found another role. When I queried why she didn’t tell me that in the first place, she said she didn’t want to disappoint me.

For any candidate out there who is ghosting their recruiter for fear of having a difficult conversation: please stop!

We’ve chosen this career because we love to help you find a role that suits you – something that will help you launch your own career, develop your career, or change your career in the way you’ve told us you wanted.

But if you’ve found that job, let us know! We’ll never be disappointed to hear that you are right where you want to be, and that you don’t need us right now.

The same applies to any other relationship – personal, business and even business-to-business. Courage is like a muscle, and if you work on it by stepping up to have those difficult conversations (however insignificant they may seem), you’ll be stronger for it.

Canberra is also a small place with a vocal community, so building a strong reputation and valuing your networks is worth its weight in gold. Even if you don’t want to work with a particular person or business at that point in time, handle it with courage and tact.

That way if you do need to call on the person at some point in the future, including a recruiter who may be entrusted with a role you would love to work in, the relationship will still be there.