Ten years ago the term “ghosting” was almost unheard of. Fast forward to now and this is term is synonymous in two distinct areas of life, online dating and recruitment! And often this unfortunate fact of life becomes far too common- I want to explore the phenomenon of ghosting and why people feel it is acceptable to do this.
With the prevalence of WhatsApp and other apps such as Snapchat, Instagram and Messenger, my humble premise is that it has never been easier to communicate with people. Especially with things like voice notes in WhatsApp, you don’t even have to actually call someone up anymore to back out of an interview – or date- you can just voice record so they can hear your apology and let the line be drawn….
Firstly I want to expose my theory in that those people who ghost are actually cowards. The notion that you get to ignore someone’s communication whom you have already been engaging with is rude, obnoxious and very short-sighted- someone who has been ghosted will never forget – or likely forgive!- that you simply ignored them.
Far better to back out gently, give your lame excuse, make up some sob story- but at least communicate in some way! Those people who choose to ignore protocol and ghost their recruiter are walking a thin line in life as you never know when you are going to come across that person again; the world is actually a very small place, esp in recruitment! – and you would be surprised how often the “6 degrees of separation” is often only 1/2 connections.
Secondly, my conclusion is that those who choose to ghost have very low self-esteem and self-respect so I think it says more about them that they opt to ignore messaging or calling you; someone who has no guts to follow up and stand tall in their decision- whatever that may be, shows that they are actually doubting themselves on a deeper level; they know that if they call you or text, they expose themselves to a debate, a discussion, a consultation. And a lot of people don’t want to hear the truth…. don’t take the counteroffer, don’t accept that lousy other offer…. etc
Think about it; the last time someone ghosted you, I bet you can remember exactly who they are and how that made you feel. However, I also bet there are countless examples of candidates who have changed their minds, accepted other offers yet you will struggle to name them as they don’t make you feel the way a “ghoster” does.
I have personally never ghosted anyone but have empathy for those who choose to text their way out of a difficult decision as oppose to a phone call to explain themselves. Having to justify what may be a difficult choice is tricky often and I can see why typing an email or a text is simpler and more final.
And therein lies the advice; there is simply NO excuse in our modern times to ignore a message. You even get suggestions on replied on apps like LinkedIn such as “no thanks” so you don’t even
have to type. In business, a proverbial left swipe to ignore isn’t good enough. Always leave a good lasting impression as you never know when you are going to meet that individual again in the future.