9 True Tales of Ghosting at Work

Yesterday, I wrote about ghosting at work and I got a tremendous response from readers about their own stories. Enjoy or be horrified, depending on what side of the interview table you’re on. 

Donald: We had an HR manager scheduled to start in an Asian country. She did not show up the first day. Someone called to say she was seriously injured in an accident. We held her open position for a while waiting for her to heal and start. We later found out she had actually started a job somewhere else and didn’t have the guts to say it.

Lora: At my current agency, I was conducting my 1st orientation as the new HR person. I’d been there for about a week. A critical staff member no-showed for orientation. Everyone lost their minds. She eventually (3 days later) returned my calls, saying she’s found another position. I had a replacement for her within 2 weeks, but those two weeks without that position filled were a nightmare.

To keep reading, click here: 9 True Tales of Ghosting at Work

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10 thoughts on “9 True Tales of Ghosting at Work

  1. I had a great job and offer from a prestigious medical center in Nashville in 2005 (another time of easy hiring). There was relo, I was told, by the hiring HR. Details, please? Reimbursement for IRS-approved expenses only. I looked that up: IRS allows actual moving costs only: no temp housing on either end, nothing but transit costs. What’s with that, I asked??

    O, HR explained, we used to have generous relo including starting bonuses. However we had a few employees “start” just long enough to collect their initial bonus then disappear… Investigation found these folks were just collecting as much cash as possible from as many employers as possible before returning to their homeland permanently.

    Thanks to them, I’d effectively get no relo. And that was the deal-breaker on the job offer from my perspective.

    One (later) co-worker was stunned when I mentioned that I had had such a prestigious offer, and turned it down. I was haunted by hirings-past, I replied.

  2. I had 13 interviews with IBM and they ghosted me after asking for references. I followed up with the recruiter via email and several days later he texted me at 7pm to tell me they’d hired someone else. We had never texted before.


  3. Many years ago (20-25), I had an interview with a medical communications company. I thought that my interview went very well and inquired when they would be making a decision. After some time went by, I tried to follow up about 4-5 times (probably by phone; I don’t remember whether they or I had e-mail at that time). I never heard a word back. I was amazed that such “nice people” had become so rude as to never get back to me. That is just one example of my experiences in job-hunting. I am happy to be retired now so that I don’t have to go through these experiences again!

  4. Years ago I worked for a window manufacturing company and we semi-regularly had people who would show up to orientation, go to lunch and then not come back. Same at a nursing home more recently. We once had a nurse making $35/hr who came to 3 days of classroom orientation and 3 orientation shifts and then ghosted after he wasted all that time. I was so mad, looked into whether we could just pay him minimum wage for that time.

  5. In the 90s for an IT consulting firm, once had a new hire (right out of college), start, collect his signing bonus and company laptop, attend orientation then he dropped off the face of the earth (called in sick several times, claimed to be hospitalized, etc). One day, someone saw him enter a company in the other tower of our building. I called them pretending to do a refernce check and sure enough, he was working there. don’t know what ever happened about getting our equipment and the signing bonus back.

  6. I interviewed at a company, was offered a position, cancelled my apartment and was getting ready to move across the country. Five days prior to my departure date the department director, not the hiring manager, called me and told me there was no longer a position for me. He would not go into specifics as to why, however my instinct was the manager did not have approval to hire. I was young and single in a high demand field so I was not worried. A few weeks later I had a better offer from a local company.

  7. I had a potential new hire ghost on me. He was highly recommended by a colleague. I’d made an offer verbally and he provided a start date three weeks away. I mailed him all the offer paperwork later that day and notified HR of his start date. He asked to connect with me on LinkedIn, so I accepted.

    Two weeks went by and HR called to ask me where the paperwork was, as they had not received it. I called the candidate and got voice mail. I emailed. Nothing. I called again and emailed again. I asked the referring colleague to try because at this point, I am thinking the guy is dead in a ditch or something.

    Finally he emailed me back to say that he decided to stay with his current employer because he got a raise and a promotion. I replied that I was disappointed and I wished him well. I really wanted to call him out for his unprofessional behavior, but I figured I’d just let it go.

    Several months later he emailed me to see if he could still have the job! I told him I’d filled the role with someone else, and even if I hadn’t, I would not consider him again because of the unprofessional way he handled the job offer last time. A few weeks after that, he emailed me a screed in which he accused me of being insensitive and rude.

    I feel like I dodged a bullet. We’re still connected on LinkedIn and I see he has an officer-level title at a competitor, so I guess it worked out for both of us.

  8. Ghosting is seriously annoying practice either it is for an employer or the employee. The individuals need to learn that a good work ethic does not count ghosting.

  9. In one, I was interviewing for a CTO role – my first – for a small startup. The first few interviews went really well, but then they stopped communicating entirely. I was disappointed, but moved on with my life. A few weeks later, one of the founders got in touch with me: Their technical partner firm (who they didn’t really know how to manage, thus hiring me) had ghosted them, taken all the code for their company, and set up a new rival company with it. Rather than spend all their remaining funding on legal fees and suing them, the founders just gave the remaining money back to the investors and shut the company down.

  10. I’m still waiting for an official response to interviews from February and March. I see that the positions have been filled, but still no communication after burdensome applications and in-person interviews. Seriously!

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