Minimize Your Ghosting During Your Job Search

by Brian Skory

It’s a common story. A recruiter or hiring manager has been interviewing someone and then Poof! They seemingly disappear off the face of the earth. Did they spontaneously combust? Were they abducted by aliens? Whisked off by a witch on a broomstick? Fortunately, it is rarely anything so dramatic. More likely, what has happened is the candidate accepted another position and moved on with their life…in essence, ghosting us.

There are a number of reasons why this behavior may not be in the best interest of a job seeker.

You may be burning good bridges. Things may not work out with your new role, and you will have likely burned a bridge for what could otherwise have been a great backup. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a candidate graciously decline an offer from Company 1 in favor of another with Company 2, and when that position didn’t work out, Company 1 was more than happy to resume conversations with the candidate. This certainly would not happen had the candidate ghosted Company 1 after accepting their offer from Company 2.

Your work community is sometimes smaller than you think. The technology community is often a very fluid group and the hiring manager you just ghosted might very well be a hiring manager at the next company you interview with. Again, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve presented a candidate to someone and they’ve said, “Yeah, no. I interviewed that person while I was at my previous company, and I was not impressed.”

Put your best self forward. Let’s face it–ghosting is just plain rude. Do you really want to be that person?

So, what are some better ways of handling a job offer? That will depend upon your particular situation.

  1. You are certain that the offer you received is the best that you’ll receive. You like the company, the culture, and their product.  The salary is in the range you were looking for. They are good with the two days/week working from home. You’re confident that this is the opportunity for you. In that case, simply thank the other interviewing managers for their time, and let them know that you’ve accepted an offer. This will come as no surprise to anyone in today's hiring climate where there are more positions than candidates to fill them. The hiring manager may be disappointed, but he or she certainly won’t hold it against you for choosing another opportunity, especially when you were so polite about it. 
  2. You are happy with your offer but there’s a part of you that still wonders if you could do better. In this situation, our recommendation is to inform your other hiring managers that you have received an offer–and let them know the date that it will expire. You can then additionally let them know that you aren’t convinced this offer will be your top choice, and that if they can work with your expiration date you would be happy to complete your interviews with them. I’ve often seen this play out where the competing company will move heaven and earth to schedule the remaining interviews and end up hiring the candidate. If you choose to go this route, my advice is to not make it about salary. Nobody will want to continue interviewing you if they think you’re simply trying to drive your compensation higher. But, if they ask, it may be appropriate to let them know what you were offered.

So, this Halloween season, save your ghosting for trick-or-treating and be a polite and responsible job seeker by staying in good communication with all of your recruiters and hiring managers.

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Stout Systems is the software consulting and staffing company Fueled by the Most Powerful Technology Available: Human Intelligence®. We were founded in 1993 and are based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We have clients across the U.S. in domains including engineering, scientific, manufacturing, education, marketing, entertainment, small business and robotics. We provide expert level software, Web and embedded systems development consulting and staffing services along with direct-hire technical recruiting and placements.
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