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You’re talking to someone new you met online (or, if you like getting rejected in public like me, in real life). Things seem to be going well for days and weeks. And then, out of nowhere, nothing. Zero communication. You rack your brain trying to think if maybe you texted an offensive joke or an absurd string of GIFs that put the other person off. Finally, you shrug your shoulders and move on with your life. The digital age has made it extremely easy to break off contact with people, and unfortunately this phenomenon isn’t just associated with dating.
Employment ghosting is a very real thing that I have had experience with. It goes like this: You’re plugging away, sending applications on Indeed, ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn, Mediabistro, Idealist, Craigslist (don’t judge me), and any other platform you can find. You stare blankly at the screen, hoping someone will get back to you. You tailor cover letters and resumes to each job, and send attachments with writing and project samples to try and make your application stand out. You wait. And then you wait some more.
And then you get an email. “I saw your resume on ________________ and it seems like you’re a good match! Please call me ASAP.” You call. You chat for a little while about your experience and how you’re suited for the job. The person on the other line seems cheerful, but you’re not swayed — they’re SUPPOSED to sound like that. After 10-15 minutes, they end the call saying they’ll contact you again with more information. You thank them and hang up.
And then? Radio silence. Days turn into weeks turn into months and you’re still right where you started. During this time, you email and leave voicemails asking if there’s anything else you can do. These, too, are unanswered. You take a deep breath and throw your resume into the void once again.
This form of ghosting can easily be avoided. Letting people know whether they are in contention for a position is easy. JUST TELL THEM. I’d rather concretely know either way so I can move on with my life and focus on other opportunities if need be. I realize companies have a lot going on that takes precedence over potential new hires, but a simple “we’re moving forward with someone else” email takes 45 seconds to write.
Whether they’re giving someone the news of their lives or a quick “thanks but no thanks,” it’s much better for companies to give people an answer. Employment ghosting takes a toll. It’s hard enough trying to find new jobs. This is a simple way for companies to make it easier..