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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, July 29, 2018 1:00 am

Ghosting more common difficulty for bosses

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Some job candidates are becoming so choosy they're blowing off interviews and becoming no-shows, even after they've accepted a job.

It's called ghosting. And it's creating headaches for a growing number of hiring managers.

Whatever happened to the courtesy call and honesty?

“It's a hot topic right now,” said Rachel Kilpatrick, branch manager in Fort Wayne for Robert Half International, a staffing solutions company.

Ghosting behavior, while not new, is “starting to feel like a commonplace occurrence,” Chip Cutter, editor-at-large for the job and social networking site LinkedIn, told USA Today this month.

In some cases, hires are so imprudent they accept a job and don't show up. Or they go “ghost” on a scheduled interview or suddenly start ignoring your calls and emails to schedule things.

I've had it happen at least a couple of times, and I was not happy.

“It's very strange,” Kilpatrick said. “We've been experiencing it a lot and a lot of companies I work with are experiencing it. ... In reality, people don't like confrontation, and so they avoid it.”

Avoidance means a candidate bypasses the courtesy to tell a potential employer they have found another job or simply aren't interested – for whatever reason – in what they're offering.

With unemployment low, some hiring managers have a smaller pool of candidates these days. But take note, job seekers: Your lack of transparency is risky.

“If you're ever back in the job market and the hiring manager sees your name, you're kind of blackballed,” Kilpatrick said. “When people do this, you don't forget, and you're like, 'Wait a second, I know this name.'”

A late-June article in The Economic Times said ghosting used to be associated with HR executives who ignored or forgot about job candidates after putting them through rounds of meetings and interviews.

I can imagine for companies inundated with hundreds of applicants for a single job that giving an initial courtesy response to all applicants, unless they have an automated response to do so, is challenging. But once the pool of candidates is narrowed, and certainly if phone or in-person interviews are conducted, job candidates deserve the courtesy of learning directly if you've eliminated them as a finalist.

As Kilpatrick said, communication on both ends – by the job seekers and hiring managers – is the ideal protocol.

It “keeps both people in a professional light,” she said.

Innovative culture

Money is a motivator, but giving employees who are capable of thinking outside the box and being innovative with other incentives can also do wonders in the workplace.

Nikki Carlson and Kailynn Bowling, founders of ChicExecs, suggest creating an intrapreneurship environment. ChicExecs assists businesses with services including marketing strategy.

Intrapreneurs are employed at a business but have entrepreneurial qualities. 

“These employees assert themselves and foster innovation within the company, leading to better, profitable outcomes,” they said in an email last month. “Nobody wants complacent, unhappy workers.”

Steps to build an intrapreneur culture include sitting down with every employee “from the get-go” to hear their ideas. That allows them to help share ideas for growth from the start.

Carlson and Bowling also suggest giving employees an opportunity to be recognized weekly, which helps them feel rewarded and valued.

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears online as a blog at