The candidate who doesn’t turn up for the interview. The person offered the post who asks to think about it over night and never gets back to you. The guy who doesn’t return after the first day. The employee who simply doesn’t turn in for work one day and is never seen or heard of again. These are the ghosts.

First noticed during the explosion in the Chinese economy, a massive expansion of low paid, semi skilled jobs and too few people to fill them. Now a trend identified in the USA where record low unemployment and an economy based on cheap labour means employees see no reason to give notice when they can just walk out and into another job, no questions asked. 

This is the other side of the Gig economy which exploits staff and so commands no loyalty. 

But ghosting is not restricted to low paid, semi skilled jobs. We have seen examples in high tech industries where highly skilled employees in short supply have shown a willingness to accept a job offer one day only to change their mind a few days later having received a better offer. This means some much in demand candidates continue attending interviews having already accepted a job offer.(Like university applicants who get better exams results than predicted seeking to trade up.)

In the past I have rang the unsuccessful candidates only for the person offered the post to change there mind a few days later. Then the awkward conversations with the “runner up “ to offer them the post. They usually accept but it’s not a good start to the working relationship. 

Recruitment is time consuming and expensive. If we want candidates and employees to act responsibly, honour commitments and show loyalty we need to treat them well.


Blair Mcpherson former Director author and blogger 

Security level: Public

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