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Corporate Ghosting – What It Is and How to Prevent It

It’s not uncommon for things happening outside the workplace to impact things happening in the workplace, and this happens whether for good or bad. One of those things is corporate ghosting. And there's evidence that it's on the rise.

Corporate Ghosting Defined

What is corporate ghosting? You've probably heard the term ghosting in relation to dating, but ghosting is a reality in business too. It’s when a promising new hire candidate or an actual new hire suddenly and without explanation ends all communication with a prospective or new employer.

Common examples of this corporate ghosting trend include not showing up for scheduled interviews, accepting a job offer but not arriving for the first day of employment, and disappearing from a current job without notice.

One obvious question many HR professionals have is why is ghosting suddenly “a thing?” Is it the tight job market, the labor shortage, or even how many workers prefer to communicate these days – via email or text? In reality, it’s very hard to ghost someone when that person or company representative is staring you in the face or on the other end of a phone line, but this written technology offers a much easier out.

Whatever their reason, according to Robert Half, 28% of workers have backed out of a job after accepting the offer. Among the reasons given for ghosting an employer:

  • Received a better offer from another company
  • Received a convincing counteroffer from current employer
  • Heard bad things about the company after accepting
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According to the report, corporate ghosting occurs most often in larger cities. Which makes a lot of sense, as these are the places where you'll find the largest concentrations of workers being paid hourly. It also seems to impact a high number of white collar-level businesses. Those most affected include health care and technology companies.

Preventing Corporate Ghosting

No one wants to get ghosted, either by a potential date or a potential new employee. But how can hiring managers and HR personnel try to prevent it?

Prepare for Those Counteroffers

One way to prevent ghosting is the counteroffer strategy. In the current labor shortage climate, HR and recruiters should always be prepared for a ghosting situation.

The strategy should include a conversation with the new hire that focuses on ways to deal with counteroffers from their current employer. It may also be helpful to offer to help the employee prepare his or her resignation specifically discussing what it should look like and feel like in terms of content.

Drum Up Some Pre-Onboarding Excitement

In the time between the initial agreement to hire and their actual start date it’s important not to disconnect from the new hire. Stay in constant contact. For HR professionals or recruiters, losing this connection can easily transition to a ghosting situation.

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The more connected to their new position – and new employer – new hires feel the less likely they are to decide to walk away. This is the time that you can get the person excited about coming to work at your company. By continuing to discuss the company culture and to make them feel welcomed long before they walk in the door on their first day there is a far greater chance that they will do just that.

Communication is Key

The most important part of the overall strategy is communication. Companies have to be transparent with their new hires and they have to nurture the connection made during the process. Ghosting prevention starts there.

Is this all going to prevent corporate ghosting all around? The answer is no, but it can help deter a new hire from considering the action. And it goes a long way to retaining that worker down the line too, something else that is hugely important.