If you’re in the market as a fresh jobseeker, it’s thrilling when a recruiter reaches out to you just a few days after you submit your application. Hey, you applied to the job on a lark, and now you’re at least one step closer to getting a job! But after going through the interview process or re-reading the job description, you suddenly have a change of heart. What do you do now?
While we can give you a range of options of what to do, we can also tell you what NOT to do. And one of them is to not ghost your recruiters.
Ghosting is a fairly simple concept – it’s when someone completely breaks all contact and just vanishes with little to no notice. And if we’re being honest with ourselves, it’s something that we’ve likely done at least once in our life. For instance, you might have done it on a dating app (it’s practically synonymous with online dating now), or to an acquaintance you’re not familiar with.
Similarly, ghosting can happen while job-hunting. According to a 2019 survey by Indeed, approximately 83% of employers have been ghosted by candidates. What’s even scarier is the fact that this phenomenon is on the rise.
But just because it’s becoming more common, it doesn’t mean that you have to follow their lead and leave your future employers and recruiters hanging. Here are some reasons why.
Why ghosting happens
Choosing to walk away is easy. And it’s even easier when you don’t know the other party well. The new normal has certainly played into this, stunting relationship-building between yourself and recruiters by limiting contact to emails, messages and video calls.
At present, in the entire recruitment process, it’s considered normal to only meet your recruiter in person (and see the office) once! So it feels simple enough to just stop answering recruiter’s emails or messages when you feel like it.
Understand that ghosting isn’t good for you
Although ghosting your recruiter seems like a convenient and non-consequential way out at the moment, the truth is that this will paint you as an irresponsible and disrespectful candidate, and these burnt bridges and shut doors may catch up to you in the end.
Moreover, bad habits are relatively easy to pick up, and ghosting is one of them. And when you get into the habit of ghosting recruiters, you’ll earn yourself a certain reputation as recruiters start forming ideas of your character. If they happen to also represent your dream company, chances are you won’t even be considered for a position there.
“I’ve ghosted a recruiter. What now?”
If you’ve ghosted a recruiter, it’s not too late to make amends! No matter how much time has passed since you dropped off the face of the earth to your recruiter, you can still send an apology note or call them up and explain your reasons for your disappearance.
But if you think your recruiter may not remember you, or more than a few months has passed, drop a sentence to indicate your last communication was a few months ago. Chances are, your recruiter will remember you (though unfortunately not fondly), and will hopefully take your apology to heart, or at least forgive you!
Bonus: How to convince yourself to not ghost your recruiters
Recruiters may look foreboding, especially to fresh graduates, but they are human, too, and do understand if you get cold feet as you move along in the recruitment process. After all, they were once graduates themselves – with some even having gone through mid-career shifts. After all, despite contrary beliefs, not everyone stays in the industry they started out in.
So, take the chance to learn accountability and reach out to your recruiter when you feel like dropping out of the recruitment process, whether on the basis of the process moving slower, taking up more time than expected, or the realisation that the industry or role isn’t for you. Remember: Honesty is the best policy!
No matter where you are in the recruitment process – from your first email invitation to an interview all the way to a job offer – it’s important that you respect your recruiter and the time and effort they’ve put into you. So, take note to always treat them the way you would like to be treated, and nurture and maintain the relationship you have with them!