Employees and Candidates Give Companies a Taste of Their Own Medicine

For years and years, recruiters and hiring managers have treated employees terribly. They ghost candidates–even after the candidate has come in for multiple interviews. They’ve required multiple interviews over multiple days, requiring candidates to use their vacation time for their own jobs, and then not even bothering to let the candidate know they didn’t get the job. And companies have no problem simply laying people off without notice and without severance.

So, yeah, I’m rejoicing in the karma–experiencing Schadenfreude–at this article at LinkedIn, People are ‘ghosting’ at work, and it’s driving companies crazy by Chip Cutter.

Cutter tells the sad, sad tale of recruiter Jo Weech, who found the perfect candidate and wanted to make an offer, but the candidate simply stopped responding to her.

Now, I’m sure that Weech was a brilliant and kind recruiter who never once ghosted a candidate, but her colleagues certainly did. Candidates learned that recruiters consider it proper to simply ignore people they don’t want to hire. It’s not surprising that candidates have now decided that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

To keep reading, click here: Employees and Candidates Give Companies a Taste of Their Own Medicine

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33 thoughts on “Employees and Candidates Give Companies a Taste of Their Own Medicine

    1. I feel similarly. It’s not nice but I kind of like it. Companies have gotten away with treating employees badly for so long that there is a little bit of justice in it being done to them.

      1. Companies, like all people, only get away with what we allow them to get away with. Call the President of the company and let them know how their company and brand are being delivered in the world.

  1. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Someone who “quits” a job by simply no longer showing up is just a jerk. Seeking to rationalize such misbehavior by claiming that the employee was treated inconsiderately by a recruiter is just that: a rationalization, and not a very convincing one at that. If the employee was so turned off by the recruiter’s actions — or lack of same — why did they accept the job in the first place? Apparently, they didn’t think they deserved any better, and if they’re the kind of employee who just walks off a job, they’re right. It’s not enough to merely bemoan the lack of manners in the hiring process. And even worse to contribute to that sad state affairs. Be the change you want to see.

    1. I kind of agree with grannybunny on this point. I wouldn’t just stop showing up. But I would quit without notice if I felt unsafe due to working conditions or egregious behavior from fellow employees or management. Or if it had the potential to make me seriously ill. Then I would make sure I told my manager, “I cannot continue to work here under these conditions; today will be my last day.” But I’d make sure I took out all my personal stuff and left instructions for my projects first.

      If anyone were threatening me, however, all bets would be off. I would email my manager from home and be like, “See ya; wouldn’t wanna be ya.”

      1. Like the saying goes; “They go Low, I go High”…doesn’t mean you can’t “make your point” loudly…and we all should.

        The only thing needed for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing

        As my daughter would say; Viva La Resistance

    2. If the employee was so turned off by the recruiter’s actions — or lack of same — why did they accept the job in the first place?

      Because most people do not have the luxury of turning down work.

      1. Valid point but careers, like life, are about Pipeline Management. You should always be networking, bringing your “A” game and the like because when you stop…even for a brief moment, it can be unforgiving.

          1. Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. It is a choice what we choose to spend it on…respectfully

  2. Just curious, have you ever been a recruiter? It sounds like you haven’t and might not truly understands a recruiter’s workload. I am fairly sure the majority of recruiters do not intentionally ghost candidates.

    1. In the current corporate climate, a lot of people carry enormously heavy workloads but still manage to get their job done properly so I can’t buy in to the ‘I’m too busy’ excuse. We’re all busy. And following up with candidates is a crucial part of a recruiter’s job – relationship building. Recruiters should be cultivating a pool of talent that they can reach out to when a position becomes available and some of that pool is comprised of people who interviewed for previous positions but weren’t selected. If a recruiter ghosts a candidate, how likely do you think a candidate will be to re-interview for the company? Ghosting shows a lack of respect for the time and effort the candidate put into preparing for the interview, as well as the vacation day they likely had to take to be there.

    2. Elyssa, have you ever worked with a recruiter? I have, and ghosting does happen. It’s worst with external recruiters, who are by far more common than internal ones. The “Ask A Manager” blog has many examples from people saying it’s happened to them.

      I can assure you that recruiters do, indeed, ghost on candidates. But the worst is when you’ve actually gotten interviewed and hear nothing — which also happens. I have been thru an interview process (interview with the hiring manager, 2nd interview with their manager, and HR was also involved) and then never heard back ANYTHING. Even when I wrote to them to inform them that I was employed elsewhere, I heard nothing back.

      1. Here we go–I’m in the same old same old argument I’ve been having for years on EHRL’s blog about Recruiters.
        There are plenty of people who don’t do their job well. Because it’s hip and trendy now to complain about Recruiters, our failings are under the spotlight. We’ve become the new lawyer joke.
        I agree that an external recruiter (agency or search firm) operates very differently from an in-house Recruiter. OF COURSE I’ve failed to follow up with candidates. I’m human. I own that. Thankfully I now have an applicant tracking system that allows me to send a rejection note with a future send date so that I don’t forget to do it. (I had to beg for that technology, btw, and I’m still a team of only one) However, there is only so much I can do when I practically stalk a hiring manager for feedback and all I get back is that they picked someone else weeks after the interview.
        I understand the sentiment of the original posting, and I am continuously telling my hiring managers that it’s a candidate’s market more than ever. It would be nice if we all just treated each other with respect & understanding.

        1. Respectfully, I have led a full, rich and rewarding 40 year career and I have never seen anything as broken, dysfunctional, unprofessional and disrespectful as talent acquisition.

          Ever. And internal is far worse because, for most internal recruiters, “recruiting” is a bullet point on a job description, not a profession let alone a career…it is a step to either a bigger job or the last step before being fired.

          Just the way it…from small mom and pop shops to Fortune 100’s. All the same.

    3. oh please! “workload” is just another excuse – and a lazy one at that.

      What do you do when you contact the lucky one person and they accept – not even think about the others who interviewed?

      If that is the case then, yes, it is simply callousness on the recruiter’s part.

      If you (or any recruiter) does think of them but uses an excuse of “if only I had tracking software” or anything else. Here’s an idea – old fashioned pen and paper (or simply a to-do task in Outlook); keep a list of who interviewed and their email. Simply send out one email to those candidates (copy and paste or be real lazy and BCC all of them at once) a simple “Dear John” letter. As much as many don’t like those emails it is still more professional than crickets chirping.

      Remember, a burned candidate is 10 (or more) lost paying customers. (people talk; and talk even more about bad experiences). Your loss is your competitors gain.

      1. Charles, if I have 10 phone screens in a day, x5 days in a week, that’s 50 people you want me to track by pen & paper? And I still have hundreds of resumes to review, in-person interviews to schedule, and offers to negotiate. Tell me you would never slip up under those circumstances. Yes, I will use workload as an excuse, because I think most people have no clue what it’s like to be a Recruiter but are more than happy to conplain about how awful they are.

        1. The pen and paper is just an idea to those who claim they need “tracking software.”

          For whatever it is worth; I’m a trainer and I train more in one day than you seem to phone screen in one week; yet, I still somehow or other manage to get out my thank you letters by email to each and everyone one who attend my trainings.

          My thank you emails also include follow-up answers to “parking lot” questions; so my emails are not just standard-already-written-out letters. I research the answers and still manage to get those emails out.

          So, sorry, I am just not believing the “too busy” excuse.

          I would hope that a recruiter, such as yourself, who seems to take pride in your work would try to hear what folks are saying instead of being defensive. A slip up once in a while? sure it can happen. But, ghosting job seekers who have done more than “phone screen” happens far too often for it to be a simple “slip up.”

        2. The simple answer to your pen and paper question is; Yes. Be a professional or do something else. I NEVER fail to get back to ANY candidate I speak with even if just to say; “Sorry, (this company) has demonstrated how unprofessional, disrespectful and lacking even common courtesy they are….I can’t get you any more information so you know the situation….do as you please”

          I also provide them with the contact information they can contact…who matters

        3. Doesn’t your Applicant Tracking System have an option to automatically send a politely worded rejection email? Half the time, I don’t even get that. If I check the ATS dashboard or recruit view or whatever you call it, it still says “In Process” , so either the recruiter or the hiring manager never bothered to press the “not hiring this person” button. That’s not a workload issue. That’s just laziness.

          1. The biggest problem with ALL technology is the people using it. Heard someone the other day say, about the Bible, if you don’t accept God’s word as having authority over you, you will never follow it and, thus, never enjoy the benefit. Same with Applicant Tracking Systems….don’t use its capabilities and you will just look silly, incompetent, insensitive…you get the point

    4. ‘recruiters do not intentionally ghost candidates.’

      Sure they do. Happens all the time, even after interviews.

    5. 15 years in….Not only do they ghost but most should be greeters in a big box, not recruiters. Sorry

  3. Dear grannybunny – You ask, “If the employee was so turned off by the recruiter’s actions — or lack of same — why did they accept the job in the first place?” Here’s another question: Why would a person be happy and satisfied to be served a meal of one raw parsnip, tepid water with a little white rice in it, and a piece of stale bread? Need a hint? Think no food available, family to be fed, starving….

    1. People can rationalize anything. An employee who walks off a job simply due to some slight — real or imagined — during the hiring process is no better than the person who slighted them in the first place.

  4. With the personal touches gone from the interviewing and job seeking process, I found this article a just reaction from a potential employee. One never knows if you qualify in the exact specifications of the job supposedly open even if you have applicable skills because you don’t have a key qualifier that gives the company a write-off to hire you because you are immediately screened out of the process by a “computer” program that rejects and selects via keywords selected by potential employers to get the cheapest best employee rather than the best employee. You are already facing discrimination by just applying for the job. If and when you get contacted, there’s no actual person you speak to ( I don’t call video chats conversation), plus you never get a direct phone number to follow up or to get a call from, With all the phone scammers out there, one should never answer an unknown number that fails to leave a message.
    I am going to give an example.—I am currently out of the job market, but occasionally I will accept an offer of employment for a short-term job. Thru a Linkedin referral, I was offered a chance at my local Lowe’s for a position as I had all skills needed. I put in the application months ago and never heard a word from them until last week when received a form email stating the obvious rhetoric. I got no call from that Lowe’s as I would have recognized the phone number. The computer did all the work. I probably received a call from an unknown 800 number or I was eliminated by a variation of ageism in the computer selection because I stated no to question about SNAP benefits. Okay, I didn’t go to the store to inquire but the hiring program was advertised in all the local papers and I really didn’t feel the need to stand on a long line of applicants to fill out a paper version of the same application I did online. Personally, I felt if my skills met their needs, I deserved at least one face to face interview to assess adaptability by both parties. I just described what happens to most applicants.
    So if HR is going to ghost us, expect to be ghosted back.

  5. I don’t think ghosting is really a new thing. No response has always been a response. It’s just that people feel they can do what they want now and really just don’t care.

  6. But what I noticed was that every HR person interviewed all said the same thing – they have, at least a mental, list of candidates who have ghosted them. Sure, there are plenty of crappy HR / recruiter types who deserve a little role reversal here, but that doens’t mean they aren’t keeping track and that they don’t talk to each other. These ghosters would be wise to remember that.

  7. I agree with the sentiment that everyone involved in the job search/recruiting process should strive to be courteous and professional. I think, however, that ghosting by employers/recruiters is more egregious for a couple of reasons.

    First, internal recruiting systems seems to be built to facilitate ghosting by employers. Jobs are frequently posted without information as to who to contact, status updates are impossible to find without human contacts, and countless other examples of opaqueness by design. Second, and the worst, is that if a potential recruit goes silent, the recruiter rarely looses sleep or has an existential crisis because of it. Recruits, on the other hand, are frequently left with all sorts of unanswered questions about why they didn’t get a job, and not knowing can cause deep seated self doubt. I’ve failed to get offers for jobs I’ve wanted, but I am always been OK with that outcome when a recruiter takes the time to explain why I wasn’t selected.

  8. With the experience I’ve had with recruiters and employers trying to find work, I don’t feel sorry that they are being ghosted. Just as they can’t keep track of the applicants they interview, job applicants have trouble keeping track of the places they apply. I applied to a job a day for a month and I have to look up stuff in order to remember if that’s the same place I applied to. One job only contacted me after six months for an interview. I constantly hear that applicants should put the job out of their mind until they hear back and it it’s the first day of work at a new job so I don’t get why all these special snowflake employers are mad about ghosting. These recruiters and employers “ghost” applicants all the time.

  9. Recruiters alone can make the excuse of work load and can not complaint , if a candidate did not respond as she is not interested and for her own reasons…

  10. As a TPR, for 15 years, I never cease to be amazed but the complete lack of professionalism, respect, manners or even simple common courtesy the majority of companies display (and internal recruiters are worse) in the talent acquisition business.

    I get not returning cold calls but not returning calls once a “project” has begun? Just rude.

    Going dark? Worse.

    I can assure you that it negatively slams your company and its brand and reputation. I have highly talented professionals in my portfolio that send me lists of companies they refuse to even consider working for because of such behavior.

    I am not shocked that companies find finding great talent a challenge, I am shocked that most of them ever hire anyone at all.

    Talent Acquisition is a Profession not a bullet point on a job description….of course we all have suffer by the bad actors in our world…probably like many if not most occupations

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