Ever heard of candidate ghosting?

If you’re within a certain demographic, you’ve most likely heard of ghosting used in the context of online dating:


the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.

Whether you’ve been ghosted or have ghosted someone yourself (we’re not judging) there is one context in which you certainly should not be cutting someone off out of the blue: and that is when you are job hunting.

At Sitka, we’ve helped many marketing professionals on their career journey. There’s nothing more rewarding than watching good marketers become outstanding marketers and reach their ambitions, whether that be management or directorship. Therefore, we want to share our tips so you can avoid what could be a major career faux-pas.

Keep reading to find out why ghosting your recruiter today might undermine your career tomorrow.

Why ghosting happens

Let’s start with the good news.

Today’s job market is more candidate-driven than ever, with more recruiters and employers increasingly working on making a positive candidate experience an essential part of their employer branding.

However, another trend that has emerged is candidate ghosting. A phenomenon in which candidates that, sometimes well into the recruitment process, decide to ghost recruiters and employers, and simply just disappear!

It is understandably tempting to avoid an awkward conversation about a job that, for instance, you aren’t interested in anymore. And while this is something recruiters deal with often; it does not mean it is okay nor beneficial for your career.

Generational difference, or generalised indifference?

It would be too easy to blame it on Millennials or Gen Y, many of whom find phone calls “too time-consuming”. But a desire for quicker, more straightforward communication doesn’t mean zero communication.

If you’ve been ghosted yourself as a job seeker, deciding to leave your recruiter in the dark might in fact feel justified. As experienced recruitment specialists, we know all too well from conversations with all the candidates we’ve helped that this is a recurrent issue. Leaving potential employers and recruiters high and dry might feel normal if you see it as a purely transactional relationship.

But remember this: a great recruiter will recognise your value and do everything in their power to support you along the recruitment process. As a job hunter, this isn’t a relationship you should take for granted.

Careful with burning bridges!

Maybe you decided to keep your current job, or focus on university. Perhaps your plans changed, or you found a better opportunity elsewhere. Regardless of why you’re no longer interested in a role, it’s important that you let your recruiter know.

Chances are that if you’ve been shortlisted for a job, your candidate profile is strong enough for more opportunities. Opportunities that later down the line (we’re talking even a few months or even years) could make a huge difference in your career progression.

Maintaining honest, regular and clear communication with your recruiter will ensure that once those opportunities come knocking at your door, you’ll be the first to know and will be supported all the way through by an expert in the job market you’re in.

On the other hand, leaving a recruiter high and dry when they’re dedicating part of their time to securing you a job does not leave the best impression. Not turning up to an interview or cancelling it last minute? Even worse!

In fact, this might mean they won’t want to work with you in the future, as they might see you as unreliable. And you never know what opportunities you might miss.

What to do instead of ghosting.

Communication is key.

Whatever your reason is for choosing to ghost your recruiter, it is best to pick up that phone call or at least send a message and explain to them why you’re not interested in that particular job opportunity. A little communication goes a long way, and you’ll find most recruiters will want to know these details so they can help you even better.

If you’re phone-shy, drop them an e-mail or direct message on LinkedIn. We promise they’ll appreciate and remember that. Plus, you’re less likely to feel pestered if you make things clear from your end.

Work on your personal brand.

And make reliability and good communication one of its pillars! It’s easy to feel like a drop in the ocean in competitive job markets. At Sitka, we truly believe every person has unique skills to bring. But you’ve also got to believe that yourself.

LinkedIn is a wonderful tool to get started, especially if you’re not comfortable with phone calls. Be proactive and build your profile, comment on relevant topics, and interact with people in your industry. And don’t forget to connect and network with recruiters that specialise in your domain, whether that’s HR, accounting and finance or marketing.  

When a recruiter gets in touch with you, do your best to prove you have good job-hunting ethic. This way, you’ll be sure to pop in their mind when a juicy opportunity lands on their desk. Just make sure you’re on their database so they can get in touch with you and keep you in the loop.

In fact, let us help you get a head start by getting in touch with us through this form today!

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