Let’s be honest; we’ve all ghosted a person or a situation before, hoping to avoid any possible awkward, uncomfortable and confronting conversations about why we want to make an exit. It’s exquisitely simple to do and can be incredibly liberating, particularly when it’s a toxic person that you’re cutting out of your life. A lot of the time we get away with it too, especially when it comes to large social gatherings where people are unlikely to notice that you’ve left and are distracted by how much fun they’re having. I’ll confidently put my hand up and say I’ve done this before for those very reasons and I’ll probably do it again.


It’s becoming a more acceptable and even expected thing to do in certain scenarios, especially with the current dating scene. Dating apps like Tinder and Bumble are purposely built with features making it easy to say “no thanks, next” without having to actually say the words or give a reason why you want to cut and run, but does that mean we should bow out like this in every area of our lives just because we can? Is ghosting selfish and inconsiderate or a justifiable act of self-preservation? I think it can be either depending on the circumstances.


In my opinion, while ghosting a toxic person or an event that is leaving you feeling drained is fair and understandable, and sometimes very much a necessity, there are certain facets of your life where jumping ship without any explanation is sure to backfire spectacularly, and one of the absolute worst areas to do this is in your career.


You’d think that common sense would prevail, that ignoring all communication attempts from recruiters and hiring managers, not serving out notice periods, being a no-show at scheduled job interviews or going as far as not showing up to your new job will ultimately leave you with a poor reputation and fewer career prospects. Alas, it’s surprisingly commonplace nowadays, something I see almost every day working in recruitment.


Ghosting like this is incredibly unprofessional and just plain bad manners, it leaves recruiters and hiring managers in the lurch; hiring new staff can be a time consuming and expensive task, so there are significant repercussions to a business’ bottom line that candidates can overlook. Often these job applicants will try to take two bites at the apple and will apply for other roles with the same company or through the same recruiter.


Coupled with the fact that New Zealand is small and word travels fast, every interaction you have with a recruiter is accounted for in their very detailed databases, so poor behaviour won’t go unnoticed. If you’d like to know what else you should be mindful of when applying for jobs, check out my blog Job Hunting: The Little Things You Do That Make All the Difference.


In my experience most recruiters and hiring managers are happy to have an open, judgement free discussion about why a person wants to withdraw from the recruitment process; and they’re more likely to consider that person for other job opportunities if they’re upfront and honest. So, why do people do it then? Do we as recruiters and hiring managers need to review how we handle the whole recruitment process? Or is the onus on the job seeker to address any niggling doubts earlier and to take a more professional approach to indicating they’re no longer interested in the role?


Written by Alisa Moore, Research & Community Manager at Gaulter Russell Numero