05 July 2021 Giles Keay

Ghosting Adobespark

What is it?

If you have never heard the term before it is essentially when someone is ignoring your communication no matter what form it is in. 

Living in a household full of teenagers I’ve heard the term being used countless times by my kids in relation to friends, boyfriends and girlfriends, and seen the impact of this frustrating chain of events or in fact non-events build up to a level of anxiety and worry about what they might have or might not have done! Ultimately reflecting back on them and their mental health… it got me thinking about how that also relates to the workplace.

I looked it up on the “Urban Dictionary “ and found the following definition…


When a person cuts off all communication with their friends or the person they're dating, with zero warning or notice before hand. You'll mostly see them avoiding friend's phone calls, social media, and avoiding them in public.

I haven't seen Tom in 3 months. I think he may be ghosting me.

by SunnyDoll August 19, 2016

Although this is relating mainly to friends and partners it is absolutely correct for the workplace too.

I have had at least three very significant incidents of Ghosting over the last 12 months, both by jobseekers and also clients where you will be in the middle of a process, normally at interview or offer stage  and suddenly one of the parties involved seems to disappear off the face of the earth.  As I often do, I have related this article to the recruitment process however, this can happen in any situation, often in a sales cycle where you are trying to do a deal and reach an agreement and suddenly the  client you thought was about to commit disappears.

You call, leave voicemails, send SMS and emails, and absolutely no response! You double check the numbers and emails and all seems fine, firstly you worry that something may have happened and have they been in an accident… time passes, days and sometimes weeks and still nothing… anger and frustration builds till it’s the only thing you can think about!! Suddenly their lack of communication has suddenly become your problem!!

The reality is that you have been also managing the other party the entire time, trying to ensure they don’t feel frustration to the levels you are, making sure there can still be a deal done when eventually they come back to you.  Deep down inside you know though that it’s most likely fallen over already and probably won’t happen!

So how can we try to stop this phenomenon?? This Constructive Tip is all about that and placing some very simple steps in the process to help;

  1. Firstly ensure that it is part of your conversation with both the client and jobseeker (if direct sales then just with the client), and make sure you specifically discuss this possible scenario and the level of communication and set expectations from the outset.

  2. Secondly, This is often an extreme example of a lack of control over the jobseeker and sometimes the client.  The Importance of a face to face conversation over the phone is absolutely paramount here, when I talk F2F I am including Video Calls too, although not quite the engagement of a proper eyeball it’s pretty close these days.

  3. Thirdly be very clear to explain the  implications to the parties involved and what a lack of communication could actually do to their reputations for ever.  Damage to a person or businesses reputation due to a complete lack of professionalism, which can certainly be more widespread due to social media now with individuals ability to spread negative feedback.  You also never know when your paths will cross with this individual or associates in the future.

  4. Finally, the deal has little chance to complete if this happens anyway.  Why would you wish to hire someone anyway if this is how they treated this process, why would you wish to join a business that was so elusive to deal with, do they really want you anyway?

I truly believe that these tips can help you avoid this frustrating and deal killing situation…

So next time you are at the start of a sales process, or you are undertaking your first interview with a candidate (this applies to both recruiters and companies hiring and interviewing themselves directly) make sure you are setting this all out at the start and making sure they understand the implications of what Ghosting can do to their future reputations!

Good Luck!