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Ghosting at work: tips to avoid it

Que labor relations are complex, it is something that no one doubts. However, in recent years certain behaviors seem to have become fashionable among job candidates. Behaviors that are seriously detrimental to companies. One of the most serious is job ghosting.

If you have a business or work in the field of Human Resources, surely you have had to face this problem on more than one occasion. The good thing is that, by taking a series of precautions, we can avoid it. Let's see how.

Table of Contents

What is job ghosting?

Ghosting is an Anglo-Saxon term that refers to the widespread behavior of cutting off a sentimental relationship without giving an explanation to the other person, simply disappearing from their life. For example, unfollowing her on social networks or blocking her on WhatsApp.

This phenomenon has also spread to the workplace. It can happen so much during the recruitment process like during the first days of work of a person in a company. What happens here is that the candidate or the new employee stop contacting the company for no apparent reason and cannot be reached.

Let's look at two examples:

  • Company X starts a selection process to find a receptionist. Receive the CV of a candidate whose profile fits what you are looking for and contact them to confirm an interview. Both parties agree on a day and time to meet, but when the time comes, the applicant does not appear. When the company tries to contact him again, this is no longer possible.
  • After completing the entire selection process, a company hires a new commercial for the sales area. The parties agree that the employment relationship will begin the following Monday, but when the date arrives, the new employee does not appear. Or he goes to his post for the first few days and then stops. Again, without giving any explanation and without being able to locate it.

Behavior with a very high cost for the company

The main drawback of job ghosting is that for the company it is a waste of time and money

In the first example we saw, the company ended up devoting resources to arranging an interview that never took place. Resources and time that could have been spent searching for other candidates and interviewing them.

The second case is even more serious, because the affected company has invested its resources in a selection process that it has completed, it has made a contract, and in the end it finds that it does not have an employee that it already had. In addition, you must rearrange tasks among your workers until you find someone who can fill the vacancy.

In those cases in which the person has started to work and then “disappears”, the consequences are even worse. because that employee it has been possible to take company material and also has information that is important to keep secret, such as access codes to certain programs.

Whether it occurs at the beginning of the selection process or after the hiring process, ghosting has a series of pernicious effects that companies want to avoid at all costs. And the truth is that achieving it is in your hands. To start with, you have to know what is causing that behavior by candidates/workers and then seek remedies.

Causes of job ghosting

Although this behavior is the responsibility of the person who carries it out, it usually happens that in many cases it is motivated by things the company has not done well.

Unclear job offers

The main reason why many candidates drop out during the selection process is that, when the company contacts them, they realize that what they are offered is not what they thought.

This is usually motivated by the fact that the job offers that are published are not entirely clear. Frequently basic data missing that would help potential candidates to better choose whether to apply or not. For example, the salary to be received, the place of work and the functions to be performed.

Require trial days before hiring as a cause of labor ghosting

It is common practice in many industries to require candidates to prove themselves by going through a trial period that lasts a few days. Period that takes place before hiring.

This makes the candidate see the company as an entity that is not serious and wants to take advantage of him. Consequently, it will most likely end up disappearing without warning.

Work overload in the first days

Every employee needs to go through an adaptation process (Onboarding) no matter how well their profile fits with the one required for the position to be filled. If the person is required to give the 100% from the start and is overwhelmed with tasks and responsibilities, this will make the stress soar.

If it also coincides that in those first days of work there have been delays in the Human Resources department and the employment contract has not been signed, there are many possibilities that we will find ourselves with a ghost employee who, simply, one day will stop coming to to work.

Absence of link between the company and its employees as a cause of workplace ghosting

The Adaptation Process (onboarding) from an employee to a company is not only related to the tasks and responsibilities that they must assume, but also to their relationship with their colleagues, their superiors and the company itself.

If the employee passed the selection process feels "abandoned" by the company and no one shows much interest in him, he may make the decision to leave and never return.

afraid to face

One of the main reasons why we encounter ghost workers and candidates is that they are people who are afraid to come forward. Once they see that the job was not what they expected, they prefer to leave without saying anything.

But this is not only caused by the way of being of the person who performs the ghosting, it is also influences the behavior of people in the company with whom it has been related. If these have not been close enough, the probability that the other party is afraid to say that they do not want to continue in the selection process, or that they want to leave the job, is greater.

Tips to avoid workplace ghosting

Once we know the main causes that give rise to this behavior, we can begin to take measures to reduce its incidence.

Avoid ghosting candidates

  • Write job offers that are clear enough, avoiding ambiguities and promoting transparency.
  • Ask the candidate for different forms of contact to be able to locate it if necessary.
  • Create a two-way channel. Provide the candidate with several means of communication through which they can contact those responsible for the selection.
  • Improve the recruitment process to make sure that the candidates who are advancing within it are really interested in the position.
  • Commit to competency assessment, This helps to get to know the candidate better and helps to predict how their behavior will be in the future. 
  • Offer friendly and courteous treatment to candidates. Trying to create an environment of trust from the first moment.
  • Do not lengthen the personnel selection processes too much.
  • request references of other places in which the applicant has worked to know a little better his profile at work and personal level.

Avoid employee ghosting

  • Sign the contract on the first effective day of work. This greatly reduces the chances that the new employee will not return after their first few days of work.
  • Do not require trial days without hiring. The contracts include a trial period that should be used in these cases. This provides more security for both parties, avoiding abuse by companies and behaviors such as ghosting by employees.
  • Facilitate the integration of new workers with a good on-boarding process. Provide the employee with a guide where they can find useful information about the company, about the work processes and the organizational culture. Also promote their integration into work teams, both at a formal level and at a more informal level, facilitating social interaction. Let him see that he is valuable both for the company and for his colleagues.
  • Adjust the level of demand to the knowledge, experience and the time that the new worker has been in the company.
  • Offer training to help the employee to know how to work in the company.
  • Provide financial and emotional stability.

Avoiding workplace ghosting is in the hands of companies. These are the ones to do adjustments to your processes and in the way of treating both candidates and new workers. If they get all those who maintain contact with it for work reasons feel comfortable, "disappearance" episodes will be drastically reduced.

In addition, making all these adjustments that we have seen will improve employer branding, which will help attract and retain talent. 

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