Job Application Tip: Don’t Ghost Employers
Published on November 26, 2020
Don’t simply disappear: How to tell employers you will not be pursuing your application
How many times have we applied to jobs and never heard back from employers?
It’s so commonplace that we probably think it’s a normal part of job hunting. Millennials have coined a term for it: Ghosting.
While technology has made it possible for most recruiters to send notifications to hopeful candidates through recruitment portals, it still happens.
What’s changed in recent years, however, is candidates are also ghosting employers.
Ghosting occurs when applicants suddenly stop responding to recruiters. It can happen in any stage in recruitment—either early on, or even after getting hired:
- 1. During the initial stages of application, ignoring calls or invitations for an interview
- 2. After one or a couple of job interviews
- 3. After signing the job offer or contract
- 4. After the first few days on the job
This is problematic for a lot of reasons. It shows unprofessionalism and disrespect for the hiring company. When you apply to jobs, take responsibility for seeing it through, or decline properly so the employer can move on to other candidates.
If you’re put in a position where you’re thinking of ghosting a company you applied to, keep these top three things in mind:
Why it’s wise to avoid ghosting recruiters
1. Just say no
No matter the situation, don’t just stop responding when you lose interest. Decline with dignity and keep your integrity intact. If you cannot take the job, respectfully say so. It's especially rude to accept a job offer and not show up on your first day at work, plus think about the company you'll abandon - aside from spending serious company money and resources to restart the recruitment process, they’ll also likely worry about what happened to you.
2. Ghosting can come back to haunt you
If you are scared to confront the recruiter, be more scared of the repercussions of ghosting and the bridges you’ll burn. The world is not as big as you might think. That hiring manager you ghosted in the past might be the new department head of that company you so desperately want to join now. With every ghosting you do, your network for job opportunities becomes smaller.
3. Trite but true: Honesty is still the best policy
What’s stopping you from replying to calls for interviews and job offers? Recruiters will understand if you cannot make it or have decided not to pursue your application. They can find other candidates and won’t hold you back.
If saying no to a job offer is too hard for you (you might be scared about declining after a long and tedious application process), here’s some friendly advice:
How to decline a job offer
1. Ask recruiters when they expect your feedback
Nobody expects you to accept a job offer on the spot. Ask the hiring manager for some time to think it over, and agree on a date when they should hear from you. As soon as you are sure you’ll turn down the job offer, let the recruiter know. There is no need to string them along. They invested time and resources to find you, and the least you could do is to let them know about your decision as soon as possible.
2. Reach out via e-mail
If speaking and explaining in person or over the phone is too difficult, know that it is perfectly acceptable to send a curt and brief email.
3. You don’t have to provide reasons for declining
You are not obliged in any way to explain why you’re declining the job offer, but be respectful if the recruiters ask for an explanation. This will still be up to you, but honesty will always go a long way and may even work in your favor. For example, if the salary is below your expectations and you convey this to the employer, they might be able to address it and work out an arrangement that suits you better.
What can you do to minimize being ghosted by employers
You might be asking - why is it ok for companies to ghost candidates, but not the other way around? For starters, we’re not saying it’s ok. But given the volume of applications they are dealing with, their lack of feedback can be more understandable.
We have no control about how recruiters will behave, but we have control over our own actions. There are things you can do to avoid being ghosted by recruiters:
1. Ask when you can expect feedback
This sets expectations for both recruiters and candidates. When you ask when to expect to hear back from them, it minimizes the anxiety and the guessing game.
2. Reach out to recruiters if you do not hear from them on time
Now that you have an agreed time as to when you can expect feedback, reach out to them if you don’t receive it by then. Just remember to nudge, not pester.
3. Use the follow up button in your Workbank account
If you applied for a job through Workbank, you’ll see a follow up button (each application has one) in your profile. A notification will be automatically sent to the recruiter when you click this.
The next time you find yourself wanting to ghost a company you applied to, just remember that it only takes basic human decency to say, “I’m sorry, I will not be pursuing my application with your company.” Saying no will always be preferable to dropping off the face of the earth.