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Why Ghosting is a HUGE Mistake for Your Career

Everything was going great: You got along well, had plenty in common, the conversation was easy, and moved at a good pace. Things felt promising!

So why did you unexpectedly stop communicating with the HR manager you’ve been interviewing with? Ghosting — which is what just happened — is a bad idea in your personal life and just as bad a practice in your professional one.

Here’s why vanishing into thin air can hurt your career:

People talk.

Professional circles tend to be small — everyone in a given industry tends to know everyone else. If other HR managers get word that you were a prime candidate for a job and then disappeared, that information might get out and they’d be less likely to give you a chance for fear you’d do the same to them.

Bridges burn.

If you accepted a job offer and then didn’t show up for the first day, or started the position and left without giving notice, that can be a mark against you in the future. If you were to run across that same HR manager or someone you worked with briefly, in a different job in the future, it might raise an eyebrow that you’d do it again.

People will worry.

Maybe you’re not as invested in the feelings and opinions of people you just met. That’s fair. But if you were a leading candidate for a job and made a good impression on the HR manager and potential coworkers and then disappeared, they might worry that something happened. Did you get sick? Was there a family emergency? Did you get into a car wreck on the way home and now have amnesia and don’t know who you are? It’s bad form to make people concerned unnecessarily. And it’s just plain rude.

Social media doesn’t help matters.

You had a great interview with company A. You made it through the first few rounds and received a call with an offer. Great! But instead of replying, you post on social media about picking up a new job with company B. What’s to keep the manager from company A letting your new boss know you were playing them against each other? (It might not be true, but the optics aren’t great here.) Then you’re out of a job with two offices’ worth of people thinking you lie and manipulate.

Upward mobility stalls.

If you’re well into your career and vanish after an interview, people within your professional circle will likely find out. If you try to earn a new position within the same field, the odds are very good someone will have heard about what you did and make sure you don’t get a call, no matter how qualified you are. All your work, all your dedication and effort, for nothing.

It might seem like a harmless move, but ghosting a company during the interview process, after a job offer has been received or after you’ve started a job is a bad idea. It can hurt your career in the short- and long-term and it just isn’t worth the risk.


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