You know what one of the biggest challenges and frustrations in “the business” is? Ghosting. Being ghosted by candidates. At various stages in the process, candidates not too infrequently ghost us. Sometimes it’s after meeting them, sometimes it’s after starting a conversation, sometimes before an interview, sometimes after they’ve received a job offer. Needless to say, it’s frustrating. Also, it’s unnecessary and unprofessional.


When a person cuts off all communication with their friends or the person they’re dating, with zero warning or notice before hand. You’ll mostly see them avoiding friend’s phone calls, social media, and avoiding them in public.


Now, I get it. There’s a negative perception out there about “recruiters” or “headhunters” but, not all are created equal. Sure, regardless of the business model, for profit or nonprofit, companies and organizations are being compensated for their efforts. Regardless, this is the people business and many people have a real desire to help separating veterans find jobs (even if it’s their job). You’re not doing yourself any favors if you completely disappear after contacting someone to help you find a job. Even if it was just cursory.

What happens after you ghost us? After spending considerable time trying to contact you and ensure you’re not in the field or underway or some other plausible explanation you get moved to a special list. If you’ve already been submitted to an employer, we also let them know that you’ve “disappeared” and then you go on their special list. In the information age that means if you ever pop up again for us or an employer you may be looked at very unfavorably. In some cases, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) may screen you out or block you from future applications. This could be prevented by simply communicating that you’re no longer interested. It doesn’t take very much effort to send a quick email to say that you’ve moved on to other opportunities and that you’re no longer interested. What’s in it for you? You keep future opportunities alive and you maintain a professional image.

Seeing as I mentioned people ghosting after an interview has been scheduled, let me also recommend the following: go to the interview. It doesn’t hurt anyone to go to a scheduled interview. Not everyone who applies gets an interview offer. You never know what could happen; maybe you’ll get a better offer than the one you’re considering. At the very least, you’ll get some valuable interview practice.

If you’ve been extended a job offer I would strongly recommend that you don’t ghost everyone and politely turn down the offer in a timely manner. It’s okay to say that you’ve accepted another offer or that you’re no longer interested. It’s really not okay to just never contact anyone ever again. It’s just rude and unprofessional. Even if you’re planning on accepting another offer, things happen and if that offer falls through during the hiring screening process you may still have a backup.

Don’t get me wrong, you don’t owe “recruiters” anything other than the same professional courtesy they extend to you. It’s really in your best interest to maintain a professional image throughout. People know people and you never know who is connected to whom especially within the same industries. Also, a year or two from now you may want to move on to another opportunity and you don’t want to have burned bridges before you ever get there.

Being ghosted by candidates is very frustrating and time consuming. Also, it results in the candidate presenting an unprofessional image that could come back to haunt them. The easiest and best thing to do is be open and honest. A simple and quick email or phone call can prevent a few issues in the future. It’s okay to say that you’re no longer interested or that the job offer doesn’t include a salary that you’re willing to accept. Whatever the reason, a simple communication can save you from unforeseen issues in the future.

About the author

Matt Leonard is the founder and chief executive officer of Military Talent Source, a unique recruitment process outsourcing company specializing in veteran talent acquisition.

Read more about Matt

Military Talent Source matches veteran talent with career opportunity. We are a specialized recruitment process outsourcing firm that conducts military recruiting and veteran employment consulting as a full focus. Whether we are working with businesses or organizations to build veteran-friendly hiring solutions or out on the road meeting with separating veterans at transition sites around the country, we are constantly striving to help businesses recruit and retain veteran talent.

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PO Box 293, Auburn, ME 04212


(800) 832-1653