Do you know that Halloween actually dates back 2,000 years ago and originated from the Celtic celebration of the New Year, which for the Celts started on November 1st. The night before was known as All Hallows Eve. November 1st was considered as the end of summer. With the beginning of winter people were more prone to death. The Celts believed that on the evening of October 31st the dividing line between the world of the living and the world of the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain. They believed this was when the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.
When I was a child we used to dress in costumes and go house to house, knocking on doors, and saying “Trick or Treat!” This meant either give us a treat (candy) or we would play a trick on you (like drawing pictures on your windows with soap). Many children’s costumes consisted of an old bed sheet, with a couple of holes cut out for eyes, which we thought made us look like the ghosts of the dead wandering the streets.
When my children were young, and we were living in Japan, we still celebrated Halloween. The kids would dress in costumes and they would go to the houses in our neighborhood where the other foreigners lived who also understood the Trick or Treat tradition. Even many of our Japanese neighbors would put some
Halloween decorations outside their house to let the children know that they could knock on those doors,
too, for a treat.
It’s very interesting to see how Halloween has become so popular in Japan. Children dress in costumes to go Trick or Treating, but the real show is all the adults who dress in costumes and join the crowds in the jam packed streets of Shibuya, Harajuku, and some other areas. Some even dress up as ghosts.
But Halloween ghosts are not the only ones who are ghosting.
Wikipedia describes ghosting as “breaking off a relationship by ceasing all communication and contact with the former partner without any apparent warning or justification, as well as ignoring the former partner’s attempts to reach out or communicate.”
Unfortunately, ghosting is not limited to intimate relationships, but can also happen between friends, or family members, or even between HR or Hiring Managers and candidates. This means when a candidate has been interviewed, but then HR or the Hiring Manager avoids either the candidate’s calls or the introducing recruiter’s calls and emails.
There may be a variety of reasons for this such as another candidate was hired, the budget was suddenly cut, or any any other reason. But, regardless of the reasons, ghosting a candidate can hurt your business and reputation.
Ghosting a candidate, or the recruiter, may seem to be a good way to avoid conflict or uncomfortable situations. Nobody likes to be the one to deliver bad news, or cause pain or hurt feelings for the candidate, so rather than “face the music” the HR person or the Hiring Manager just stops all communication with the candidate. Usually when this happens there is no explanation and the person who would be the bearer of bad news thinks they will avoid an uncomfortable situation.
Some recruiters are guilty of ghosting too. They don’t want to deliver the bad news to a candidate that they have been rejected. The reality is, though, that such action is not fair to either the client company or the candidate. Our iSearch recruiters are trained to deliver the news of rejection in a manner to avoid negative connotations about our clients and to let the candidates know the outcome in as gentle a manner as possible.
Every decision we all make in business has consequences. We all live busy lives, but the common courtesy of letting a candidate know the outcome, even when it is bad news, only takes a minute or two of our time. If we avoid the difficult conversations the impact on our businesses can have long lasting negative effects. Good reputations take a long time to build, but all that hard work can be torn down more quickly than we can imagine. People talk to each other. Social Media has made the world a much smaller place. Word-of-Mouth on sites like Glass Door, which gets well over 30 million views every month, can be a killer.
Look at your own practices. Do you ghost candidates or the recruiters who work hard to find those candidates for you? If not – great! And, thank you! If you do, then break that habit today. Take a minute to contact the candidate or recruiter. Don’t just tell them “Sorry, this candidate is not accepted”, but take just a wee bit more time, and effort to tell them why, especially when contacting the recruiter. That helps us – as recruiters – to know more about why someone didn’t make the cut, what you want from the next candidates introduced, and will help you, as the HR person or Hiring Manager to do you job more efficiently too.