How Ghosting Can Shatter Your Business’ Reputation


Ever wondered if ghosting can scare off potential superstar employees for your business? Every employer knows that running a successful business is all about building a rock-solid reputation. Practicing "ghosting," however, can easily demolish your business' reputation and break down relationships between both potential clients and employees.

Ghosting, the act of suddenly ceasing all forms of communication with someone, builds distrust between potential employees and other businesses, and this act could cause you to miss out on the perfect employee addition to your business simply because of your “ghosting reputation.” However, with the practice of ghosting on the rise on both sides of the employee-employer coin, it's become an increasingly popular choice in the job market.

In fact, in a recent report from CBS News, they noted that candidates have been ghosting job recruiters, managers, and employers for years. But the art of ghosting is now growing in complexity. It has now gone even further than simply not bothering to notify a job recruiter or employer of whether one will accept the job. Now, employees are simply ghosting by not showing up to work rather than giving a proper, professional two weeks’ notice. But when employees receive the same treatment from employers, it seems more acceptable to return the favor.

So, why are so many business owners choosing to ghost potential employees and business partners when the practice is so damaging? The answer is simple! Because it's easier than having a real conversation.

Think about it! People have valued convenience in their personal and professional lives for decades – just look at paper, disposable plates, free two-day shipping and apps to request nearly every service provided today within minutes - this is no different. It’s often awkward and difficult to bring yourself to turn down a potential employee or sever a relationship with a client. Therefore, what makes your life more drama-free? Ghosting! It's much easier to simply ignore a potential employee or client and merely hope the issue fades away with time.

However, as noted above, running a business is all about building a reliable reputation, and you don't want to be known as the "ghoster" in the job or client market, as this can put a damaging dent in both your productivity and profits.

So, how do you avoid ghosting as a busy, “on-the-go” employer? While the hiring process may be long and tedious, try and give applicants who make it through the secondary rounds the courtesy of knowing whether you've chosen them to fill your position. With the average company job posting grossing more than 250 job applications, it can be incredibly difficult to extend every applicant that courtesy. So, don't stress about letting everyone who applied know they weren't chosen, but it’s good practice to let everyone you reach out to and pursue as a potential employee know if you ultimately decided not to hire them. And while it may consume a small bit of your time, it’s simply the right thing to do.

Put yourself in a potential employee’s shoes, thinking back to when you were on the job hunt. It can be incredibly stressful, and that stress is only accentuated by the constant rising and falling of hope. While it may feel awkward to tell applicants you've chosen another candidate, it provides closure, allows them to move on in their job search rather than bombard you with follow-up emails.

While communicating bad news may prove difficult in the moment, it will leave you and the candidates on good terms. This way, if you ever have another job opening you think they would be a great fit for or happen to work with another business that hires them, you won't have to potentially "clear the air" before proceeding. Ever heard the saying, “Don’t burn bridges?” Parting on good terms with potential employees is simply smart business, as you never know what your business’s future holds.

Another way businesses are "ghosting" in today’s world is when conducting business with other businesses. Almost every business requires collaborating with various other businesses in order to run efficiently, whether that be through acquiring goods or utilizing services offered elsewhere.

While it may not feel as awkward as with a job candidate because it's easier to think of clients as "entities" rather than people, building relationships with the people of that business is just as important as with a client or employee. Good business etiquette makes a huge difference with services providers and may bring good will and profits to you in the long run. Communicating openly and honestly with clients, rather than ghosting, leaves the door open for future opportunities and referral business.

Lastly, your clients don't want to be left in the dark. While it's easy to ignore customers or clients if you've suddenly lost the interest, time, or ability necessary to work with them, it’s crucial to simply do them the courtesy of notifying them. Word of mouth is an incredibly powerful tool, which is only amplified through the internet (Google reviews, Yelp, Facebook, etc.). A negative experience for one can turn dozens or hundreds away from your business.

As our mamas used to say, “Follow the Golden Rule.” When running your business, simply treat others in a way you’d like to be treated. No one likes to be ghosted, especially in the professional world, and being the "ghoster" can wreak havoc on your business. So, the next time ghosting seems to be the quick fix, remember, you don’t want your business to be invisible, so don’t treat others like they are!

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