Everyone’s been doing this for…forever, but now that there’s a new, funny, trendy name attached to it, it’s become a “thing” now. Disappearing suddenly, without contact, without warning, as if you up and died…and are now a ghost. In the professional world, this usually happens after an employer reaches out to connect with a candidate after receiving a job application. While this could be seen as acceptable in the dating world, where there might not be any real consequences and a new date populates within a swipe of a finger, this could really backfire for you in your professional life.
For those of you actively on the job hunt, it might sound crazy to throw away an opportunity, but in a strong job economy or with positions that a candidate might find less desirable, this happens a lot. And for the same reasons it happens in the dating world; it’s easier and less uncomfortable…for one side. The problem? Well for recruiters like us who are working with clients to fill positions every day, it’s quite frustrating. But for candidates like you, it could hurt your professional reputation.
Perhaps you’re one of the lucky college graduates who applied for several positions and received back more than one response from interested employers. That’s great! But before you go ghosting on any of them because you like one opportunity the best, consider the possible outcomes and our suggestions for how to handle:
You don’t get the job you wanted. Maybe you don’t make it passed the first interview, or you make it all the way through to the last round and you lose the opportunity to another candidate. No matter where in the process you are, you’re going to wish you had a backup plan.
You got the job you wanted but realized after being on the job for a while that it’s not the right fit for you. Either you don’t like the work, or you don’t feel like a fit with the company or team. You’re going to wish you had a backup plan
Like a lot of people do in dating, you can play the field—especially in the interviewing stage. You don’t have to give up all your other options just because Ms./Mr. Right asks you on for an interview. And besides, how are you going to know they are “the one” so early on? Sure, you might not get any of the jobs, but at least you have a higher chance at landing something if you pursue multiple opportunities. In either scenario, it’s always best to have a fallback plan should your top choice not work out.
And hey, you’re never going to know if it could be a match if you don’t try to get to know them, right? You could be surprised and get a really great offer from the backup, or maybe you’ll end up liking the company culture, professional development opportunities, or career track more. It’s much easier to have a respectful, honest breakup than it is to grovel and ask for forgiveness and a second chance. This is especially true if you get the job but it doesn’t meet expectations and you find yourself back out there looking for another opportunity to swipe right on…or is it left? I always forget.
Try sending this email instead:
Dear (Hiring Manger’s Name):
Thank you so much for the opportunity to interview with you and learn more about the role and company. After some careful consideration, I don’t think this role at this time, is the right fit for me. I hope to keep in contact and would like the opportunity to work with you in the future.
Again, thank you for the consideration.
Of course you can personalize this email to tailor your specific situation and engagements with the interviewer, but this is a great starting template. The hiring manager/recruiter will know not to continue trying to reach out to you and will be glad you’ve saved them the time and effort. It’s just always better to know, ya know? Plus, if for any reason, you find yourself looking for a different opportunity—maybe it’s pretty immediate after it not working out with your first option, but maybe it’s after a year or two and you’re looking for a higher-level position—you’re going to be glad you didn’t go “full Casper” and burn that bridge.
For more than twenty years, Avenica has been the leading U.S. recruiting firm exclusively focused on placing college graduates into entry-level, career-track positions. Learn more about our process, or upload your resume to be considered for an open position with one of our amazing clients.