Boo! Are you prepared to witness top talent disappear in an instant? Ghosting has taken over the office, and it doesn’t seem like a crew of ‘busters’ wearing proton packs will be able to save the day this time. Instead of ghastly figures and creepy sounds, workers are scaring companies with a different kind of nasty spirit.

Getting Ghosted

“Ghosting” in the workplace refers to the phenomenon of employees cutting off all communication with their employers after suddenly putting a stop to showing up to work. As noted by The Washington Post, the term first rose to popularity in reference to dating sometime around 2016, which makes sense. After an awkward date, how many people have wished they could just disappear?

In a tight job market, it didn’t take long for this dating app way of thinking to make the leap to the professional world. When there are multiple options available, burning bridges doesn’t appear as consequential as it might when opportunities are lacking. In a job market where the thinking is, “I’ll find something better anyway,” ghosting is more likely to send chills down the spines of employers.

According to Joe Fiaoni, Corporate Recruiter at Medix, ghosting can happen at any time in the hiring process, from the middle of a series of interviews to the moment an offer is extended. “We understand that job seekers might have taken a new job or our no longer interested in the position,” said Fiaoni. “That’s okay! We understand, but it just saves everyone involved plenty of time and headaches if the candidate takes the time to shoot us a quick email informing the recruiter of the decision. I promise we don’t bite!”

Wasted Resources for Employers

Hiring processes are rarely short endeavors for today’s workforce. Many companies employ a multistage strategy that can include a variety of interview types and required checkpoints. No matter the outcome, each step of this process requires hours of employee effort and resources. In fact, the cost of a hire not panning out can be particularly harmful for employers, by some estimates adding up to at least 30 percent of the employee’s first-year earnings. Projects are often delayed and team culture can suffer as turnover rises, especially when the instances of employees leaving occur without warning.


For those participating in workplace ghosting, the outcomes may not be all that positive either. In the short term, ditching a job that doesn’t feel right could have a liberating effect. This is especially true for workers in a toxic environment who do not believe they have any other option available to them. However, over time, the effects of abruptly cutting ties along a career path become more apparent. When interviewing for future opportunities, job candidates will need to address gaps in their employment, and reasons for leaving previous positions. Without a clear explanation that does more than simply bad mouth a previous employer, job seekers could be sending the wrong signals in future interviews.

Whether it’s a relationship that didn’t click or a job that didn’t quite pan out, ghosting never feels good on the receiving end. To help curb the rush of job candidates disappearing without warning, employers need to do a better of cultivating meaningful relationships with their prospective talent. Job seekers, on the other hand, should consider extending small courtesies to their employers when making the choice to no longer pursue an opportunity. The job search is scary enough already! 

Do you have any scary stories to tell about ghosting? Get spooky in the comment section below!

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