Ghosting: the behaviour of ending a relationship with someone without explanation, withdrawing all communication.

Ghosting seems to be the new recruitment trend post-COVID.

Candidates ghosting recruiters, recruiters ghosting candidates; but now, and most concerning, companies ghosting potential candidates.

Ghosting used to be reserved for disastrous dating experiences or casual flings when you needed a quick SOS exit.

But sadly, ghosting has become a thing of the day in the corporate world as recruiters, candidates and companies participate in this lazy and disrespectful dance.

As a headhunter myself, I speak to hundreds of people a week, mainly executives on the market.

This week, one of my candidates shared a terrible experience she had whilst interviewing with a large, branded, US-listed tech player.

The candidate had five interviews with the CMO, CCO and HRD and a variety of peers, and waited four weeks between the last interview and the final call to receive any feedback.

She was unsuccessful.

Notified via email.

One would be excused to think that after five interviews and a deep courting process that she would have at least received a phone call from the hiring manager or the internal recruiter to explain the reasons why she wasn’t successful.

Perhaps some niceties, like “thank you for investing your time and waiting four weeks for us to make our decision”.

But she got a lousy, lazy, disrespectful email.

Waiting four weeks for feedback is ghosting.

Not receiving any correspondence is also ghosting.

Receiving an email with limited information after five hot dates, is again, ghosting.

It’s just not ok.

This candidate was quite distressed by this experience.

And if the CEO only knew that this is the "customer/candidate" experience!

Companies work so hard to get the customer experience right but forget that the candidate is also the customer.

Organisations that take a candidate through a long, engaging process only to ghost them or even reject them via an email, talks to the core of their human-centricity.

It’s lacking.

LinkedIn recently shared a story about Virgin Media and how their (now former) Head of Resourcing, Graeme Johnson identified that their poor candidate experience was costing them $5m annually in lost revenue due to cancelled customer subscriptions by job applicants.

The impact of behavioural issues like this links back to organisational culture and, to be frank, it is unacceptable at a human level and unacceptable at a commercial level.

Human-centred design goes down the toilet if it doesn’t also consider organisational people and culture processes and frameworks.

And we aren’t just seeing this on the client side, we are also seeing this on the candidate side where a candidate will interview for a job via a recruiter and then ghost the recruiter.

This begs the question: Are we losing respect for one another?

If you are a hiring manager and you have just interviewed a candidate two, three, four times, call them to tell them why they won't progress.

Give them the respect of your time. Internal recruiters alike.

Sending rejection emails or ghosting will not only impact your personal brand but also the organisation’s reputation in the long run.

Equally, if you are on the market and don’t want to continue with a process, tell the recruiter.

Don’t ghost them, as this will also reflect poorly on your brand. Recruiters note this against your personal file.

Like a poor credit rating, ghosting can follow you through your career.

We are all in the people game and we need to lead first with empathy and respect.

This content has been written by a topic area expert and is not a sponsored post or advertisement.