What does “ghosting” an interview actually mean?

Basically, it means not showing up for a scheduled interview, without letting the interviewers know. After reading the description, you might ask yourself: if there’s a term for that does it happen regularly, do applicants actually not go to interviews for jobs they applied for and were preselected?

The New Era of Job Applicant’s Power

After the recession of 2007 to 2009 the job market in USA gathered strength and today there are sometimes even more job openings than unemployed people. This gives job applicants’ a big power they never had before.

The classic concept is that the employer makes the decision whom to hire. Actually, the employer could only choose the best of the existing candidates, even if that person is far from fitting perfectly. The fact that applicants also gained the power of choosing is positive, but today we will look at the negative side.

In the century of technological advances and globalization finding a job depends less and less on your physical appearance and shape, special needs, location, formal education, nation, gender, looks, etc. Working from distance or relocation are very common and this changes the outlook of the job market in the 21st century. People are able to choose the best job for their needs and thus the power of decision making shifts toward applicants, rather than employers.

Ghosting interviews

That shift in power brings new tendencies, such as ghosting interviews. Many people apply for all kinds of jobs, when in need, but when the interview time comes they just fail to show up for the scheduled interview and usually don’t let the recruiters know. We are not implying that if one has already found a job, he or she should attend all interviews anyway, but the person should find a better way to communicate that.

Some may feel uncomfortable to call, since they wouldn’t like to answer questions regarding their reasoning for choosing another job, but still a text message or e-mail could work just as fine.

And if you are a recruiter and are noticing that you are being ghosted more frequently, then perhaps it is time to change some recruitment policies. For example, some companies organize workshops as a type of first interview and invite dozens of applicants. Even if half of those applicants don’t show up, they won’t suffer too great of time and resources loss. Also, such an interview could create an impression in the applicants that there is a high competition for the job and they might try harder to get hired.

Not showing up for the first working day

It kind of sounds fictional, but actually more and more people fail to show up for their first working day and or to announce their intentions of not going through with that job. Whether it’s that they have found a better work opportunity, or need more time between jobs, or have realized this is not their place or some personal problem popped up last minute, there is no excuse for just not showing up, without announcing it.

If not from fear of creating the reputation of an untrustworthy person, then at least for the fact that those recruiters are also people and their feelings may get hurt when the applicant is wasting their time and efforts. Unfortunately, there is no solution to the problem, which could offer reliable results.

Blowing off Work

Even more amazing phenomenon is blowing off work after a few days or weeks after starting, usually during the training process. It is not unusual or unexpected for a trainee to realize this job is not for her or him and to decide to discontinue the working relations with that company and look for a job elsewhere.

Yet, just blowing off work without any notice seems a bit overboard. Unfortunately, it happens more and more often. You might think it is a characteristic of non-experts or lower-level employees, but actually people hired for managerial positions blow off work as well.

We can’t find an excuse for such behavior and advise companies to keep a list of such employees and even exchange information in order to avoid unpleasant situations and waste resources. Although one might think that financial penalties are used in such situations, actually the working labor laws in most countries are created to protect the employees interest and prevent such penalties, or make introducing those very difficult.

Last, but not least, in the beginning of the article we mentioned the Repression in USA and that today US labor market is flourishing, and one might get the impression that ghosting interviews and blowing off work are occurring just there. Actually, even employers in countries with much higher unemployment rates and weaker economics suffer from the same burden. Perhaps the reason is similar – there are many opportunities, even abroad and people prefer to move, rather than settle for a particular job.