Have you noticed that “ghosting” or ignoring people is now the standard way to treat people in personal and business relationships?
In business, recruiters are famous for contacting someone and then ignoring them afterwords. I have personally been ignored dozens of times by recruiters who failed to respond to questions they asked me. Executives, HR and others as coworkers failed to respond to questions that I answered from them, that required a follow up response from them. When I confronted one HR person about not responding to my questions her answer was “Not every email needs a response.”
Even if you think my email or question was irrelevant, every email needs a response. Studies show that when coworkers don’t respond to emails, that worker productivity goes down and people are more likely to leave. This company had mass layoffs later, so it was another sign of the bad management that existed.
It used to be in the 90s if someone didn’t respond to a phone call then it was clear they weren’t interested. Now with all the social media that we have, we can be ignored in multiple ways. Strangely, rather than tell someone that you aren’t interested or thanks for the interest, ignoring is the default answer. I think that when someone shows interest in me and I am not interested, I will thank them, but say that I was looking for something else.
Lets return to a business context since that is what most readers here are interested in. I have had interviews with companies, and one of them said on my second interview that there would be 6 interviews. While I was interviewing with them, I interviewed with another company that offered me the position. So I went with that company instead. When you ask a candidate to have six interviews, that is very difficult to fulfill and makes you wonder why. To me, a company that asks for more than 3 interviews has issues that will make it someplace I don’t want to work at.
I was also ghosted by a company who offered me the position and then when I accepted, they withdrew the offer. The recruiter said they found someone cheaper. Then a few months later, that company fired the cheaper person since they couldn’t do the job after spending money on training them. That company wanted me to reinterview, but you can guess what I said to that.
I get it. Its emotionally easier to not be honest and say what is difficult to say. That you are no longer the best choice for the company. However when you fail to give this basic respect to a person, that person will never work with you or that company again. Companies and people shoot themselves in the foot by ghosting because the best candidates remember.