The phenomenon known as “ghosting” refers to when and individual makes a conscious decision to skip out on an agreed meeting or not to respond to various modes of contact. Like a ghost, one glimpse and then they disappear without a trace.
In the job seeking world “ghosting” is manifested as a range of behaviors which may occur at any stage of the job seeking process. In the beginning, a candidate may be guilty of “ghosting” when after applying for a position the applicant fails to respond to inquiries from the prospective employer or does not respond to a request for an interview. More extreme examples include not showing up for a scheduled interview all the way to not showing up for the first day of work.
This is not a new phenomenon by any means, previous generations of recruiters would have used the term “being blown off”, nevertheless, non-responders were as frustrating to employers back then as they are now.
Ghosting has always been more likely to occur when the NP job market favors the job seeker. When job opportunities are plentiful and the demand for Nurse Practitioners is strong it’s easy for a candidate to become overconfident. The tendency to jump to the conclusion that everyone is eager to hire you can leave the job seeker with the impression there is little to no risk when “ghosting” an employer. After all, there are plenty of jobs so no big deal, right?
Wrong. There are several ways that ghosting can come back to haunt your career.
No one likes to be stood up.
When you “go dark” and stop responding it leaves the impression you seriously lack the basic social grace known as politeness. A characteristic which won’t reflect well on you as a person or as a clinician. Keeping one’s word still means something. Seriously, how hard is it to fire off an email or return a call saying “thanks, but no thanks” or “I changed my mind”? When potential employers take the time and effort to process an application (which YOU initiated) and you don’t respond it only makes you look self-centered at best and downright rude at worst.
Dead to them
Healthcare recruiting is a much smaller world than you might think. Recruiters and hiring managers talk to each other – even between organizations – so you shouldn’t be surprised if tales of your previous “ghosting” are passed around and come back to scare away your opportunities for future employment. Ghosting is not just frustrating, but it is wastes valuable time in an employer’s search to fill an opening for a clinician, so organizations can have a long memory when it comes to your disappearing act. Electronic applications now preserve evidence of your past bad behavior indefinitely, so your “ghosting” stands a very good chance of living longer than your job prospects. Burned bridges are mighty hard to cross.
Save spooky behavior for Halloween
My advice is simple. Don’t take the risk. Think of your future and look beyond your current job search. You only have one professional reputation so treat it well. Remember your manners. If circumstances have changed then be considerate enough to let a prospective employer or recruiter know you are no longer interested. Be upfront if you are interviewing for other positions, or have another offer you are entertaining, employers aren’t going to hold it against you.