Why ghosting an opportunity can come back to haunt you

The term "ghosting" has been popularized by the rise in dating apps, but it is now being used in the corporate world as well. According to Dictionary.com, ghosting is "the practice of suddenly ending all contact with a person without explanation."‌ This is now becoming a trend with potential employees going silent on job opportunities that they were interested in. This often happens with persons agreeing to an interview and then never showing up or attempting to reschedule.

Even though it may seem like the easier way to handle rejecting a company, it can come back to haunt you in the future. Just like physicians keep notes on their patients, many hospitals and healthcare organizations keep notes on job applicants. This is to help them know where a candidate is in the interview process, but also lets them know why a candidate did not work out. This means if you decide to take the route of going silent on an employer, they will make that note about you.

It seems like no big deal, right? You are not interested in the opportunity so going silent will not affect you anytime soon. This may be true for a few people, but there's a great risk that you will end up facing that recruiter or organization in the future. Many hospitals get acquired by other organizations and recruiters move around to new opportunities. If you are known as the physician who went silent on an opportunity, this can be a red flag to the recruiter. If they spent weeks or months previously trying to recruit you just for you to go silent, they may be hesitant to move you forward in the interview process.

So, what should you do instead?

Be honest with the recruiter. You never know when you will be looking for a new opportunity, so if at the time you are not interested in the opportunity make sure you communicate that with the recruiter. Let them know that this opportunity sounds great, but it is not matching your professional aspirations as of now.

Remember your p's and q's. This old expression is a great reminder to use your manners when letting the recruiter know you are not interested. No matter why your interest has changed, let them know in a manner that will not hinder a professional relationship in the future.

Don't go silent. Of course, it seems easier to just ignore calls and emails from the recruiter, but as you read above, this can hurt you in the future. Even if you think that you will never work for Organization A, that may change. You may move, they may have changed their values, or acquire another organization that you want to work for.

It's not fun to let someone know bad news, but you should take the professional route to ensure a successful future for yourself as well. For more information on why you should respond to recruiters instead of going silent, check out this article.

Hayley Woszczynski

Hayley Woszczynski - Physician & Program Relations Manager. You can stay connected with me on LinkedIn for all of the latest PracticeMatch articles and upcoming events.