We’ve often described our work at OneTeacher as “professional matchmaking,” and the comparison isn’t a bad one–we learn about our partner schools and our candidates and then make introductions between those that are likely to be a fit. It’s a really joyful job, especially because at the end of the matchmaking process, everyone is happy and kids in low-income communities benefit. But much like in dating, there may be bumps along the way to “happily ever after.” And like in dating, being ghosted is a match-killer.
Ghosting is when someone completely stops engaging in any communication with another, seemingly out of the blue, usually in a romantic relationship. Professionally, that can look like someone being offered a role and then cutting off all contact with a school, someone interviewing for a position and then not replying to any further contact from the hiring manager, or even accepting a verbal offer and then disappearing before signing an official contract.
As a candidate, ghosting may feel like the easier option–you don’t have to break the news that you’ve accepted a different role or that you’re simply no longer interested in the position. But for you and your potential future employers, this ghosting madness needs to stop! It’s not helpful to the real people who are trying to make the best decision for their team and constituents, and it’s really, really damaging to your professional reputation. Here’s why.
- In the digital age, there’s a record of everything. Regardless of whether or not you’re tech savvy, it’s safe to say that most hiring managers are–or are at least tech savvy enough to have a record of you ghosting them that will stick around for years to come. With just a few keystrokes, they’ll be able to see that you fell out of contact after repeated attempts to reach out to you if you decide to proceed in the interview process or if your paths ever cross again.
- It shows a lack of professional maturity. There are so many ways to get in contact with someone these days, and the barriers to communicating with a hiring manager are few and far between. It’s highly unlikely that you’re too busy to send out a two sentence email or leave a 30 second voicemail to share that they’re no longer interested in a role or a need a few days to consider your options. Not doing so indicates that you don’t have the experience, self-confidence, and/or skills of a person they would want to hire or speak highly of in the future.
- It’s a small world, and it keeps getting smaller. You never know who knows who, and the seemingly minor act of ignoring a potential employer, even temporarily, may prevent you from getting a future job. Social media and the ability to remain connected from afar means that the chances of people you know knowing each other are at an all-time high, and you definitely don’t want anyone feeling negatively about their professional interactions with you and being willing to share that information freely.
- You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Being up-front with a hiring manager when you’re weighing your options or no longer interested in a role still allows you to make the right choice for you–you certainly shouldn’t take a job just to make someone happy–while remaining in good standing with them. Most people appreciate honesty and timeliness, and communicating your decision (or lack thereof) outright is a small step that will go a long way in protecting your reputation.
While, as hiring managers we despise the practice of ghosting, we get it. We know that it can feel daunting to reject or delay an offer or a chance to interview. It can feel like you’re being rude–to someone in a position of power no less. If you ghost them, you don’t have to hear someone’s disappointment or deal directly with their potential judgement. Sometimes it’s as simple as not having the right words to say what you know needs to be said.
Here’s some language you can use.
Thank you for reaching out! I know how important it is for you to hire the right candidate for the ROLE position, and I would love to take some time to consider my OFFER/INVITATION TO INTERVIEW. I’ll follow up with you by DATE if that works for you!
Thank you so much for the opportunity to interview for the ROLE at ORGANIZATION. After much thought, I don’t feel this will be the best fit for me, but I hope you find a great hire!
Thank you for reaching out, but I’m not interested currently. Can I keep your information for the future?
Thank you so much, but I need to put my search for a new role on hold because of a personal matter that has come up.
I’ve really enjoyed the interview process for the ROLE at ORGANIZATION, but I have decided to pursue a different opportunity at this time. Thank you for your time and consideration!
While the reasons for ghosting a potential employer may be understandable, the bottom line is that employers are going to expect more from you. They’ll expect you to do the thing that is perhaps more uncomfortable, but that shows you’re someone who has strong communication skills and considers the interests of the organization along with your own.
Looking for your next employer who will bring out the best from you? Contact OneTeacher today about our roles in education!