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3 Ways to Avoid Workplace Ghosting

A candidate agrees to an interview but doesn’t show up. Another accepts a job offer but fails to arrive on the first day of work. An employee leaves the office at the end of the day per usual, but never returns. There’s no explanation, no resignation and no communication.

“Ghosting” is the newest social norm to make its way into the workplace.  Rather than deal with confrontation and put in a two-week’s notice, employees just don’t show up, or they don’t call back to decline an extended offer if they accepted another position elsewhere.

Here are 3 things you can do to prevent future ghosts and encourage transparent communication:

Ask to hear the bad news  

According to Amanda Bradford, founder and CEO of The League, and online dating app, “Ghosting has almost become a new vocabulary among younger generations in which no response is a response.” Now, people are carrying this dating practice into the workplace to avoid confrontation.

However, this isn’t just a millennial thing. All generations have defaulted to saying, “I don’t have to respond.” To combat this habit, be upfront with your candidates and encourage courageous communication. Ask directly if they have any hesitations about the role, or if they’re considering other positions elsewhere. When you demonstrate empathy and that you understand people change their mind (and that it’s okay to do so!), the candidate will be more likely to communicate if they accept another role, and you can move on in your search.

Be a Ghostbuster

People who ghost have a short-term lens on their career. Pay attention to candidates' motivators. What are their long-term goals, and how does your organization fit in? In addition, conduct reference checks to ensure the candidate hasn't ghosted an employer in the past.

When possible, conduct interviews face-to-face. Pay attention to nonverbal cues like body language. Are they truly excited about your organization? In-person communication will allow you to get a tangible feel for where the potential employee stands. And if you get any negative vibes, you’ll be less surprised when they cut off ties.

Promote your culture

With both potential employees and current ones, creating a positive work environment is key. The unemployment rate is at an 18-year-low, and job seekers have options. It’s essential to focus on your organization’s culture and ensure employees love where they work for the right reasons. If interviewees or current staff sense a mismatched workplace culture, they can move on. According to the Wall Street Journal, for the first time since 2000, more open jobs exist than unemployed workers. And when presented with multiple opportunities, professionals are preferring to ghost than directly say “no.” Through fostering engagement, investing in training and listening to employees’ concerns, you can prevent getting ghosted.