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When Ghosting Is Just Wrong

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Ghosting is not in the Webster Dictionary, but we know it as when someone who says he’ll call you but never does.

This happens to job seekers, recruiters, and business people. And it’s just plain wrong.

“Last night I waited for a phone call from a person who wanted to talk with me about a possible business endeavor. He had asked to connect to see if we could be of assistance: “share blogs and investigate a join (he meant joint) venture relationship.”

When job seekers are ghosted

Too many of my clients talk about how they were supposed to get a call from a recruiter or hiring manager. They set time aside waiting for the much-anticipated call, cancel their plans of attending their child’s event, miss a networking meeting they had set up, or have to pass on a seminar they were looking forward to.

They prepared for the call; had their documents ready, prepared their talking points, cleared the house so there would be silence. This was a job that was a perfect match for them. They met all the requirements and had heard great things about the company.

The call never came. They were ghosted. “Why,” they ask me? I don’t know what to say other than tell them to call the recruiter or send an email, reminding him of the phone call they were supposed to have. After weeks of waiting the only thing they can do is give up.

“I hesitated to connect with the ghoster, fearing this might be a bait and switch. Nonetheless, I accepted his invite. In his reply, he explained his business model and asked if I’d like to have a phone conversation with him. The next day I reply telling him of my limited time. He said he wanted to go forward with a phone conversation.”

When recruiters are ghosted

Ghosting is a two-way street. I’ve spoken with and read of recruiters who have been ghosted by job seekers. They were supposed to have a phone conversation with a promising candidate, but the person didn’t call or answer their phone at the agreed time.

The recruiter most likely set some time aside on her schedule to have this phone call. She was excited at the prospect of presenting a blue-chip software engineer to her client. The recruiter waited and even called the candidate to remind them of their conversation. “My client likes what I told them about you,” the recruiter writes in a text. “Please call me as soon as you can.”

Much to the recruiter’s chagrin, the candidate never calls or even has the decency to return the her text. The recruiter was ghosted.

“Jump forward to last night, I’m waiting for this person’s phone call. I have my laptop open to his profile, to get a sense of who he is and his business. The time of our call comes and goes. I send him a LinkedIn message reminding him of our call. Shortly later I receive his reply verbatim: “I apologize for a client call came up. I had a chance to think about our pre-holiday conversation. I don’t see a lot of synergies in our business for referrals….”

Related: 15 Ways to Attack Your Job Search in the New Year

When business people are ghosted

The problem with ghosting potential business partners is that you lose credibility. Your reputation is on the line; and as they say, “It’s a small world.” If you decide there’s no “synergy in our business” days before a scheduled call, do the proper thing; call that person.

A good friend of mine who is in sales told me that he’s been ghosted a couple of times. He said when this happens, it’s the other person’s loss. Yes, my friend’s time is valuable. Yes, he might have other plans. Yes, waiting by the phone and seeing time pass sucks. My friend has a good memory.

Whether you’re a job seeker, recruiter, or business person; don’t ghost people with whom you want to engage with. It’s not the right thing to do.

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