October 21, 2020 by Lisa Brammer
I’ve read quite a few articles about ghosting. You know that not so new phenomenon where people don’t show up for scheduled job interviews, their first day of work, or end up quitting without a word.
I first became interested in this topic after being ghosted by a few job applicants who didn’t show up for their interviews.
In the beginning I wasn’t overly surprised or concerned. I just filed the experience under Stuff Happens. In full disclosure Stuff Happens isn’t actually what I call that category, but you get my drift.
Then it started happening regularly—at least 30 percent of the time. If it stopped there, it would be bad enough. But we’ve also had a new hire no-show their first day of work and another who ghosted us within hours of starting.
I read an article in Forbes by Samantha Todd that said 94 percent of employers have been ghosted. That’s a crazy high stat, don’t you think?
So, what’s the deal with all this ghosting?
I know some experts say it’s because of the record low unemployment rates we experienced before COVID hit. To me, that could explain why an applicant changed their mind about interviewing or accepting a position or why they walked away from a new job after getting a better offer. But it doesn’t explain their radio silence.
Two years ago, I wrote a blog called, The Lost Art of Conversation. Help is on its Way. In it I provided a quote by educator Paul Barnwell who said (six years ago!) “Conversational competence might be the single most overlooked skill we fail to teach.”
I’m in the same camp with those who believe ghosting is a byproduct of a change in attitude along with, let’s call it, the new communication style Barnwell spoke of in his Atlantic article which relies heavily on technology, i.e. texting ad nauseum.
A shift in attitude coupled with a lack of conversational competence has left us with a large group of people who don’t have the skills necessary to have those awkward conversations, nor do they feel compelled to—especially when it’s much easier to walk away.
Remember, the term ghosting was first used to describe the practice of ending a personal relationship by suddenly—without explanation—withdrawing from all communication. It stands to reason the practice would make the jump from personal into professional.
I get it, uncomfortable conversations aren’t any fun. No one likes to have them! But believe me, it’s a worthwhile skill to possess that will serve you well in your personal life as well as your professional.
You can continue to ghost if you want, but beware. It could end up haunting you in the future.
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