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Why you should think twice about ghosting your recruiter

You might have experienced someone ghosting you in your personal life. One minute they’re in contact and the next, they’re not. No explanation, just silence.

It happens in recruitment too, especially in the candidate-driven IT industry.

As recruiters, it’s tough dealing with ghosters as we build our career on forming and nurturing business relationships. But it can be just as harmful to the candidates who ghost, and here’s why.

Common ghosting scenarios

There’s a few reasons why you might ghost a recruiter.

You may have:

  • applied for a job and/or attended an interview but got cold feet
  • said yes to a job but have a change of heart
  • said yes to a job but get another offer
  • decide to remain at your current job
  • choose to go with another recruiter

In all these scenarios, you’ve started to build a relationship with a recruiter and then changed your mind. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, how you choose to communicate this is all important.

If you go the ghosting route, you do yourself a disservice. As a recruiter, this means we’ll never have the chance to uncover why the position didn’t suit, and offer other options that may be a better fit.

If it was something that occurred during the interview process, we also don’t have an opportunity to speak to the employer and ask if they’re open to discussing it further (hot tip – most companies are!). It could be your dream position with just a tweak or two, but ghosting your recruiter means you’ll never know.

The main reasons why you shouldn’t ghost your recruiter

It’s short-sighted

The Australian IT recruitment industry is small, so networking is paramount. You just never know how a connection – particularly with a recruiter – might benefit you down the track, especially as new IT roles are constantly advertised.

There’s a high likelihood the recruiter you just ghosted will oversee a future project that really excites you. If you’ve burnt your bridge with them, your chances of scoring an interview aren’t great.

It’s bad business etiquette

Failing to let your recruiter know you’ve changed your mind is unprofessional and honestly, rude.

Think back to how you felt when you were ghosted. It’s likely you felt some form of offense, or at the very least, can still clearly remember it, even if it happened years ago. How do you view the person that ghosted you now?

It reveals something of your character – and it’s not positive

Choosing to remain silent may show you’re uncomfortable with possible confrontation, and would rather avoid dealing with the situation.

Communicating and conflict resolution are central tenets of working (and personal) life. As a recruiter, we’d think twice about hiring or recommending someone who has shown they aren’t keen to do either.

It affects your recruiter’s business relationships

Clients rely on recruiters to find their best candidate fit. If we recommend someone who just disappears with no explanation, it seriously damages the trust our clients have in us. As relationships are the backbone of our industry, any harm done can take years to repair.

What to do instead of ghosting your recruiter

There are two key things you can do to ensure you maintain a professional relationship with a recruiter, even if you have to give them bad news.

Contact the recruiter as soon as you can

With so much messaging technology at your fingertips, it’s easy to send a short text or email, followed up by a longer conversation if you want to. The quicker you do this, the more time we have to find our client a replacement.

Be honest

Don’t worry about hurting our feelings or wasting our time. If you’ve been offered a dream role elsewhere, or decided to stay at your current job, we want to know. It’s much easier for us to tell our clients your truth, than have to scramble for a possible reason why you’re not returning our calls.

At the end of the day, we will understand your decision. We’re just happy to know it’s the right one for your career path. After all, that’s our main goal as recruiters.

If things don’t quite go to plan down the track, we’ll still be here and ready to discuss future opportunities in the IT industry.


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