CAREER RESCUE ‘Ghosting’ employers may come back to haunt you

August 12, 2018

Q: I would like to get your advice on how to handle multiple job offers. I don’t want to burn bridges, but in the past employers took a while in making decisions without communicating to me. For the first time in my career, I have three job offers with a possible fourth. I have accepted one of them, but if the fourth one is better, I plan to not show up and go with the best offer. What are your thoughts?

A: Congratulations on receiving those job offers. The job market is reflecting a low unemployment rate and as a job candidate, you may be in the driver’s seat when choosing employment options as employers scramble to try to fill open positions.

It sounds like you are getting ready to “ghost” a new employer if another job offer is better. Ghosting has been around in the workplace for years, but employers are feeling the effects with candidates not showing up for work, leaving during the day or not following through with interviews.

Some job seekers have never witnessed this demand for talent and are receiving multiple employment opportunities. From a career point of view, not showing up sends a negative perception and even if you have been on the receiving end of bad communication from employers, it doesn’t mean that you need to reciprocate it.

Another view to consider is from Michael Steinitz, executive director of Accountemps, a Robert Half company, who offered his thoughts on why ghosting an employer can come back to haunt you.

“Ghosting an employer can affect your job search now or in the future. You never know when someone you didn’t take a job with will be the hiring manager or face of the company for the next job where you apply — or who else they may know. It’s also incredibly unprofessional.”

The damage of blowing off an interview or just not showing up for work creates mistrust. Trust is an important step in building good relationships.

Steinitz offers advice to employers as well to avoid being ghosted while seeking the best talent.

“Courtesy from both parties is essential. The hiring manager and the job seeker should set expectations from the start to prevent a lack of responsiveness from either party. Hiring managers can do this by ensuring buy-in from both sides. Make an effort to stay in touch by laying out the hiring process and a give a tentative date when you plan to make a decision.”

Ghosting an employer is not a good career plan. Be professional and communicate fully.

Kimberly Thompson is a board-certified counselor. Send questions to kim@careerrescue.com or Houston Chronicle, P.O. Box 4260, Houston, TX 77210. Visit her blog at www.blogs.chron.com/careerrescue.

Update hourly