(Un)professional Ghosting:
A Field Guide


It was 2016 when user SunnyDoll contributed the seminal definition of “ghosting” to Urban Dictionary:

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

In the years since, much like its paranormal namesake, ghosting has proven tricky to get rid of — and has come to haunt the marketing industry as well as the dating world. We’ve had firsthand encounters with several types of (un)professional ghosting. Here, we present a field guide to ghosting identification that would make Egon Spengler proud:

The Job Candidate Ghost: The candidate to fill that key position (let’s call him Casper) seemed so promising. He had the resume and the portfolio. The screening, and maybe an interview or two, went well. And then … poof. No call, no email, no trace. If you’ve attempted to hire in the last couple years, you’ve probably run into a ghost like this. Of course, job candidates aren’t the only ones to blame for this breakdown of hiring etiquette, which leads us to …

The Recruiter / Hiring Manager Ghost: Perhaps the most frequently heard ghost story around the LinkedIn campfire is the spine-tingling tale of this ghost, who gets a job candidate excited about an opportunity, asks them to jump through hoops, then disappears into the foggy night, taking that sweet benefits package with them (Bagel Fridays? They’ve been dead for years). Not cool — which is why our HATCH Talent team adheres to a strict no ghosting policy.

The Prospective Client Ghost (aka The Request for Poltergeists): Think of this ghost as the creepy The Shining twin of the hiring ghost. A prospective client asks for a lengthy RFP response, or even — and now this is getting truly frightening — spec work. They invite you for a chemistry meeting. And then you don’t hear boo. Not only did you (apparently?) not get the business, you’re left to roam the earth wondering why not for eternity. Or at least until the next RFP comes along.

What other kinds of ghosting have you encountered in your job? Is ghosting the new paranormal, or can we all make the effort to bust this trend with a little more empathy and communication? Let us know at the email below.

We’ll respond, promise.

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