ghost

“Ghosting” used to be reserved for the world of dating. Now, it has become quite common in the workplace.

Ghosting is when one person — in this case, a candidate or employee — ignores all the calls, texts, emails, and other messages sent by another person — in this case, an employer. In the workplace, ghosting often happens when a candidate accepts an offer but then decides they don’t want to work for the company. The candidate stops responding to messages from the employer and never shows up for their first day of work. Ghosting also occurs when an existing employee quits a job without telling anyone. They simply stop showing up to work and, once again, don’t respond to any of their employer’s messages.

According to USA Today, employers report that “20-50 percent of job applicants and workers are pulling no-shows in some form.” You do not want to lose your job offer because your future employer thinks you may be one of those ghosters.

Communication is key to establishing trust and letting your future employer know you truly want the job and want to be part of the team. Here are three steps you can follow to show future employers you are not going to become a ghost if they hire you:

1. Confirm Receipt

Confirm receipt of all messages a company sends to you during the recruiting process. Do not leave the hiring manager, recruiter, HR rep, or anyone else involved wondering whether you received their message. If they do not hear from you in a timely manner, they may assume you are no longer interested in employment. A lack of response can even lead to a rescinded job offer, if you’ve made it that far in the process.

2. Complete Paperwork on Time

Complete all new-hire documents promptly. I recommend completing paperwork the same day you receive it, or the very next morning at the latest. Act with a sense of urgency, even if one has not been implied on the employer’s part. You are already being judged on how you complete tasks, even if you haven’t started the job officially yet. Make a good first impression.

Remember your employer has deadlines, too. There is someone waiting for that paperwork so they can do their job of processing you into the company. Don’t make anyone’s job more difficult or delay your hiring date because you did not return paperwork on time.

3. Follow the Company and Its Employees on LinkedIn

As you meet and communicate with people who work for your new employer, send them a connection request on LinkedIn. In your request, thank the person for their help. Be as specific as possible in outlining exactly how they helped you during the hiring process. Let them know you look forward to joining the team.

See if you can learn more about the other employees by reading their LinkedIn profiles. Make note of crucial information you may want to use to build rapport with people, and pay attention to your new teammates’ areas of expertise for future reference. Learn as much as you can about the company and its employees before you show up for your first day on the job.

Remember: People know people. And people talk.

About seven years ago, I had a client who ghosted an employer who had sent her a plane ticket to fly out for an interview. She did it not only once, but twice — and then she ghosted me, too.

Several years later, I was at a job fair talking with a contingency recruiter. Guess what? I found out that my client had ghosted her, too, in the past! Of course, this was before the term “ghosted” had been adopted. We just called it “rude, bizarre behavior.”

In today’s climate, where 41 percent of workers think it is okay to ghost employers, do not leave your employer wondering if you might turn out to be a ghost yourself. Be proactive. Let your professionalism shine. Assure your employer they selected the right person for the job by responding to emails and phone calls and returning paperwork in a timely manner.

Jaynine Howard is a military veteran whose work as a career strategist and reinvention specialist has been recognized by professional organizations throughout the nation.

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