Ghosting is the practice of ending a relationship by suddenly — and without explanation — withdrawing from all communication. The term was initially used for personal relationships but now extends to business interactions — for example, job candidates “ghosting” an organization they’ve been talking with about a job.
Ghosting an organization isn’t a good thing. Some might argue companies have been ghosting candidates for years, so a little turnabout is fair play (and the sad truth is some organizations have ghosted candidates).
But just because an organization has ghosted a candidate (or two) doesn’t make it acceptable for you to do the same. Here are five reasons why:
1. You might find another job opening with the same company you want to apply for. Once you ghost a company, that’s pretty much it. You can’t really go reapply for another position unless you’re prepared to explain why you ghosted them in the past. Of course, that’s if they call you for an interview after you cut them off. What do you think are the chances of that?
2. Companies can merge or be acquired. In today’s business environment, it’s possible companies might be acquired or merged. This means one of the companies will discover that you ghosted the other one, which could have an impact on future opportunities.
3. You might want to apply for a job with the same recruiter. Recruiters change jobs, too. Or if you were working with a headhunter, he or she might have a new client. Either way, that recruiter knows what happened and isn’t going to be willing to take a chance on being ghosted a second time.
4. You might want to apply for a job with the same hiring manager. Like the recruiter, the hiring manager is going to know what happened. If the manager has moved to a different company or taken on a different role within the same organization, the first thing he or she will remember about you is ghosting and will be reluctant to take another chance.
5. If your friends find out, they might stop sharing openings with you. This is probably the most important reason. Many jobs are discovered through friends and colleagues. The minute they find out you ghosted the company, they’ll hesitate to share other openings with you. You’ve hurt their credibility, especially if they referred you.
Ghosting a prospective employer impacts your reputation. None of these things might happen — but it’s also possible all of these things might happen. Can you take the chance of hurting your reputation with future employers?
This is one of those times when it’s best to take the high road. If you no longer have an interest in a job opportunity, just let the company know. Thank them for their time and tell them you’d like to part friends. Maybe your paths will cross again. When that happens, it’ll be on a better note.