In tight labor market, business gets a taste of ghosting

Apparently, we are supposed to feel sympathy for the businesses that are making job offers to potential employees, only to hear nothing in return.

No, thank you.

CNBC reports on a survey showing two-thirds of the business managers surveyed have experienced giving an initial job offer to a candidate and then had the potential employee either reject it or disappear entirely ahead of their start date.

How do you like it, business?

Getting ghosted in a job search has been the new normal for more than a decade. Candidates don’t even get rejection letters anymore; business can’t be bothered.

Now the shoe is on the other foot, says CNBC.

“We are seeing this behavior in workers of all ages, not just younger ones,” said Jim Link, chief human resources officer for Randstad North America, which conducted the survey. “Technology is changing the nature of employment rapidly, which means workers across many generations are abandoning traditional career paths and expectations about what it means to be an employee. That includes their behavior around accepting jobs.”

“This ‘ghosting’ by Gen Zs feels like predictable behavior for somebody who is young and most likely does not have responsibilities of family, mortgage, or other financial commitments. While a millennial, X, or boomer might want to pass on a job, they are more incentivized to take it,” Molly Logan, co-founder of Gen Z-led think tank Irregular Labs told CNBC Make It.

“If (Gen Z) accept a job and a better opportunity presents itself (job or otherwise), they will drop you, no question about it,” she continued.

Nothing personal; it’s just business.

  • Joe

    Yeah, I’ll never feel bad for the employer here.

    I remember after I got laid off at Target in the mass layoff a few years ago, I applied to 107 jobs. Only 11 bothered to respond to me.

    I interviewed at 5 of them, and 3 never replied to my communication after the interview.

    • Barton

      I remember the last serious round of interviews I went on: 4 rounds with a very large firm in the Twin Cities. One of two final candidates. No one ever returned my calls about what happened. I admit to making the poor choice of sending a passive-aggressive email to everyone I interviewed with: I assume that since I haven’t heard from anyone, you chose to go with the other candidate……

      I did end it with a thanks for the opportunity and experience. But seriously, getting the hard sell from them for 5 weeks and then nothing?

  • jwest8

    I’m no spring chicken and I plan to ghost my retirement to the extent it is possible. I will take a vacation, return with signed papers effective the date of my return and never look back. As badly as our management treats employees, it’s better than they deserve.

  • Ralphy

    Any company/employee relationship is a transaction, a purchase/sale of labor and expertise. Corporate America has, for at least a generation, viewed this as a retail sale, while older workers have held on to the old paradigm that they were hired into, that there was more than a retail transaction, that there was a relationship. The newest generation of employees doesn’t have any experience with the former paradigm, and since it is only a retail transaction, feel no need to respond to a company they are not going to do business with. Good for them! If companies are to hire the best and keep their top performers on board, compensation will need to be based on a competitive marketplace, and wages will go up.

    • Jack

      Keeping top performers also means giving them appropriate work.

      • Ralphy

        Exactly. Intrinsic rewards have currency.

  • Paulc

    Not surprised after ‘80s layoffs in manufacturing the Lesson Gen C learned was the company doesn’t have your back. Boomers didn’t get why we were willing to jump jibs… so this seems like an on going progression, eventually unions will be rediscovered

  • Gary F

    Depends on how tight your industry is. Being is the same industry for 25 years now, I’ve worked at 4 firms, the last 15 at my current. The deck gets shuffled between who works at what firm.

    You never know who will end up on the other side of the desk when you may be looking for a job or trying to close a big deal or networking.

    In sales your reputation is everything. As easy as communication is, in my opinion, its just that easy to send a no thank you to an offer, it doesn’t have to be formal.

    • Al

      My professional is [relatively] small, and I wouldn’t want to risk the networking hit by ghosting an employer.

      And I don’t feel an ounce of pity for employers getting ghosted, given the number of times it’s happened to husband and I–and from those same networks I’d never risk ghosting.

      • Gary F

        The game has changed to. You used to hire a recruiter to find you a job. Now the company hires a recruiter to find you.

  • Andrew

    I remember last time I searched for a job. Applied at dozens of places, got a few interviews, accepted the only offer, never heard from the rest.

    I don’t care if they even send a canned “Thank you for your interest..” template email which takes a few seconds to send. Just let people know. Their livelihoods might be hanging in the balance.

    • Jack

      Those emails can be system generated. Just do it.

      It would be nice to know the pay range they intend to pay in so I don’t waste my time applying for jobs that I get screened out of based on comp.

  • Jim in RF

    If corporations are people, we might as well extend the analogy to things like getting stood up, cheating with an ex and leeching off their retirement plan. I have no sympathy for businesses. They’ve had the upper hand in the relationship for too long.

  • Randall Thompson

    I have been ghosted several times. It’s the ultimate in disrespect

  • Jeffrey

    If a person has interviewed, they should get the courtesy of an email, phone call etc letting them know another candidate was chosen. While I can’t defend many business hiring practices, I would never accept a job and then just not show up.

    Ghosting is very rude, but it is fast becoming acceptable.

    • John

      even if a person hasn’t interviewed, I think the courtesy of a rejection email should be offered. It can be fully automated fairly easily, i suspect. Even a form letter.

      Similar to others below, about a decade ago (depth of the recession), i was out of work and applied to over 100 jobs around the country. I received zero rejection letters from the 90+ who didn’t interview me. The application was consistently web based – automated rejection should be a slam dunk.

      So, I have no sympathy for the businesses.

      That being said, i would NEVER do this. The work world in a lot of fields (mine included) is quite small. I’m not on board with burning bridges that you haven’t even built yet.

  • Frank

    I was a long term temp employee at a large urban school district, which is on both side of the Mississippi River but primarily on the east side of that river.

    A few years back I interviewed for a supervisory position, making the Final 4. Everyone knew I was going for this job. I found out I didn’t get it by an e-mail addressed to the entire department. So some people found out before I did. I didn’t even get pulled aside for the old “it was a really tough decision we hope you continue to…..” When I mentioned this to the supervisor, the weasel threw HR under the bus.

    Corollary: When I was let go by them recently, I first heard about it for colleagues asking me “Are you getting laid off?” At least the HR woman I mentioned this to was aghast.