5 Reasons You Should NEVER Ghost a Job Opportunity: Do This Instead


Have you ever been “ghosted” in your personal life? One minute you’re in contact with someone, exchanging information with every expectation for the relationship to continue—and the next minute, they’re gone.

No goodbye. No explanation. Just silence.

While that kind of behavior is challenging to shrug off on a personal level, it’s even more difficult to understand in the professional arena. Yet more candidates than ever are “job ghosting:” disappearing from the hiring process after establishing contact with a recruiter.

About 75% of recruiters say a candidate has ghosted them, and 47% of job seekers admit to ghosting potential employers, according to a recent Monster survey. If you fall into that category of candidates, you may want to consider how this could impact your future.

What was once considered common courtesy appears to be less and less common. What has happened to communication during the job search process?

ne significant contributing factor to job ghosting is the fact that we’re currently in a candidates’ job market. Due to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing Sansdemic, candidates have the upper hand and unemployment is historically low. With more open jobs than there are workers to fill them, employers are offering higher wages, better benefits, creative job perks, and just about anything they can think of to tempt job seekers to say “yes.” It’s easy for many workers to score a better offer, and sometimes it’s simpler to ghost than to explain why you’ve changed your mind.

The reasons candidates cease all communications with a prospective employer or staffing agency are sometimes understandable:

  • A better job offer comes along
  • The pay is too low
  • The opportunity isn’t the right fit
  • They chose to go with another recruiter
  • They got cold feet
  • They decided to remain at their current job
  • They had a terrible interview experience

In fact, some say that a poor candidate experience is another considerable factor contributing to job ghosting. Not every hiring process is seamless, and candidates can fall through the cracks. If a job seeker submits an application but never hears back, goes on a promising interview but receives zero follow-up communication, or receives rejection with no feedback from their recruiter, they might start feeling ignored and unappreciated. These feelings of disconnection can make it easy to feel like recruiter ghosting is an acceptable option—even if the poor experience happened at a different staffing agency.

But behaviors like skipping interviews, ignoring job offers, or simply not showing up for work are just bad form—and can wind up coming back to haunt you. As the famous saying goes, two wrongs don’t make a right. Recruiter ghosting can impact your career in ways you might not consider at the time, especially with a more attractive job opportunity on the table.

Here are 5 reasons why you should never ghost a recruiter:

1. You’ll cause unnecessary worry.

If you don’t respond to multiple messages (especially if you’ve previously been responsive), an employer may rightfully worry if you’re experiencing some kind of emergency. They’ve likely spent time getting to know you, and most recruiters do care about their candidates. Once they realize you’re simply avoiding them, however, that worry will quickly turn to frustration—and whatever trust that has been established is broken.

2. Recruiters keep records.

Ghosting burns bridges. Recruiters can get dozens of applications for a job, and if you’ve been chosen, then it’s because they’re excited about you as a candidate and think you’ll be a good fit. Maybe they’ve even presented you to an employer who is looking forward to speaking with you. If you “go dark,” chances are excellent that an employer will flag your resume and never consider you for work with them again.

3. Bad news travels fast.

While it’s unlikely professional recruiters would ever take to social media to label you as a “ghoster,” people network and swap stories. You never know who is talking to whom; is it really worth the risk to your reputation and long-term career success? You don’t want to be the subject of break room discussion or industry gossip. Recruiters work with multiple companies, possibly even the one where you intend to work. Job ghosting gives the impression that you aren’t responsible, which is not how you want to present yourself to your new employer—especially if you intend to climb the career ladder at the company. Particularly in small towns or niche industries, it pays to behave professionally when you’re looking for a job. Recruiters are very well-networked, and word of your action could spread, particularly if you plan to apply for similar jobs in the future.

4. You might change your mind.

What happens if you ghost a recruiter only to have second thoughts? Maybe the role you accepted instead is disappointing, or your new recruiter isn’t finding great options. You can’t turn back the clock and return all those calls you ignored! Nor is a recruiter likely to believe you didn’t check your texts or emails. Just in case you change your mind, you should never disappear from a recruiter.

5. You never know what the future holds.

Your reasons for ghosting might seem solid right now, but what happens in a few months—or years? The very recruiter you don’t want to contact might become your best shot at advancing your career. Give future you a break and do the right thing. Should you cross paths with the recruiter in years to come, you’ll be happy you behaved professionally.

What Should You Do Instead of Ghosting a Recruiter?

It’s extremely easy to take the high road. You don’t need to make an in-person visit—although you certainly can—but your recruiter will have much more respect for you in the long run if you communicate professionally. Leaving on good terms is better than disappearing without a trace, especially if you plan to stay in the same industry. Instead of ignoring notifications, deleting voicemails, and sending emails to the trash unread, take a minute to think about what’s best for your career. You don’t want to make a mistake today that hurts your chances of successfully growing your career.

Consider these options instead of ghosting your recruiter:

Contact the Recruiter as Soon as Possible

Send a short text or email or make a phone call and let the recruiter know you’ve changed your mind or have lost interest in the position. Sure, it might feel awkward, but you’ll be doing them a favor instead of tanking your relationship. When you don’t return their calls, they assume you’re still interested, and they must explain to their clients why the job placement still isn’t filled. The sooner you say no, the faster the recruiter can find another candidate for the role. They’ll appreciate you reaching out to them, even if they are disappointed by your response.

Be Honest

Have you been offered your dream job? Did an employer make you an offer you can’t afford to refuse? Did it take too long to get an offer, leading to frustration? Tell the recruiter the real reason you aren’t taking the job. Don’t worry about hurting their feelings or wasting their time. Recruiters value your feedback and will use it to improve the process for other candidates.

Be Polite

The recruiter has likely taken the time to get to know your skills, experience, and interests and spent time finding options for you. Show your appreciation for their good intentions by remaining polite, even though you no longer want their help.

Refer a Friend

Depending on your reasons for turning down the job, you might be able to help the recruiter fill the position by recommending the staffing agency to a friend. Who knows? The role might be a perfect fit for a friend or colleague.

Say Thank You

You never know when a career connection might be valuable in the future. Leave a great impression by thanking them for their help.

Leave the Door Open

At the end of the day, recruiters want you to find a job that’s right for you, even if they aren’t the ones to help you find it. If you’re willing to work with them in the future, let them know. Leaving the door open can preserve your relationship—and maybe a chance for future employment.

Work with a Staffing Agency That You Won’t Want to Ghost

Finding a job you love is easier than you think, especially if you partner with a staffing agency that always has your back.

Looking for help with your resume? Want to practice your interviewing skills? Our expert recruiters will help you shine. We know what local employers seek in top talent—and what they have to offer you!

Contact Our Recruiters Today

PrideStaff’s recruiters will work hard to keep you informed, engaged, and happy at every step of your job search process. From real-time access to recruiters to customized alerts for new job opportunities to social communities on Facebook and Instagram, we’ll stay connected and invested in your job search success.

Join PrideStaff’s Talent Network or contact your local PrideStaff office to find out more about our available job opportunities!