June 26, 2018

SIGNS OF A FULL-EMPLOYMENT SOCIETY: People are ‘ghosting’ at work, and it’s driving companies crazy.

In fields ranging from food service to finance, recruiters and hiring managers say a tightening job market and a sustained labor shortage have contributed to a surge in professionals abruptly cutting off contact and turning silent — the type of behavior more often associated with online dating than office life. The practice is prolonging hiring, forcing companies to overhaul their processes and tormenting recruiters, who find themselves under constant pressure. “If you don’t love your job [as a recruiter], you’ll beat your head on your desk,” says John Widgren, a recruiter for Central Florida Health, a more than 3,000-employee health system outside Orlando.

Where once it was companies ignoring job applicants or snubbing candidates after interviews, the world has flipped. Candidates agree to job interviews and fail to show up, never saying more. Some accept jobs, only to not appear for the first day of work, no reason given, of course. Instead of formally quitting, enduring a potentially awkward conversation with a manager, some employees leave and never return. Bosses realize they’ve quit only after a series of unsuccessful attempts to reach them. The hiring process begins anew.

Among younger generations, ghosting has “almost become a new vocabulary” in which “no response is a response,” says Amanda Bradford, CEO and founder of The League, a dating app. Now, “that same behavior is happening in the job market,” says Bradford, who’s experienced it with engineering candidates who ghosted her company.

Sorry, but that’s not cool.

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