Ghosting in the business travel world of recruitment

Lynne Griffiths

Business travel candidates understand they may not get a job but a poor hiring experience or being strung along and then blanked leave a bad taste. Who wants to get burned by a process that has seen ghosting become an unwelcome feature of business travel (and other industries) recruitment in recent years.

For those who haven’t experienced it, ghosting is a term borrowed from the dating world. It means a sudden, unexpected end to all contact. Our experience of ghosting in business travel recruitment exists in different directions: between the hiring manager and the recruitment company (and therefore between the candidate and the hiring manager);  and between the candidate and the recruitment company.

But whatever angle it’s coming from, ghosting disrupts the hiring process and does serious damage to reputations.

Traditionally, hiring companies have been more likely to ghost than the candidate. However, even before the pandemic, ghosting had become a growing trend among candidates, too. Thanks to a tightening business travel job market, they may be ghosting potential employers as they search for their ideal role and move amongst increasingly attractive opportunities in the business travel market.

The loss of in-person interviews may also be a factor in ghosting by both parties. The emotional investment of travelling to meet someone for an in-person interview is so much greater than clicking on a calendar link from home, and it can be easier for both sides to ghost when they haven’t had that human, face-to-face connection.

Ghosting shows a lack of regard for whoever is on the receiving end and it has a hugely detrimental effect on personal and company reputation. Candidates who have been ghosted are reluctant to consider that employer again, while ghosting as a candidate is not smart as employers will keep tabs and recruitment agencies will be wary (they may give you a second chance but not a third!). The bottom line is that ghosting is not an acceptable practice.

Time and money are invested by all concerned in the recruitment process, so it is hugely frustrating when (usually following a very enthusiastic beginning) such concerted effort is met with sudden and unexplained silence.

So is a discourteous recruitment process now the accepted norm – or can both sides take steps to avert a downward spiral?

The business travel recruitment market remains challenging and Sirius Talent Solutions has been saying for a long time that recruitment “best behaviour” is key to achieving success. But success is not just about securing a new starter – people want and expect a positive hiring experience. A timely, smooth and respectful recruitment process is the best way an employer can stand out from the crowd.

Engaging with candidates during the recruitment process is vital and much of the time, it’s about managing expectations. If there are delays to the recruitment process on either side, being open and honest will always be considered good practice.

But candidates have responsibilities, too. Rather than applying for jobs on autopilot, there should be mindful selection of positions that offer a good fit. Otherwise, they risk wasting the time of the hiring manager/recruiter.

Generally speaking, for both sides, the rule of thumb seems to be that the further you go down the recruitment process, the less acceptable it is to ghost. The more effort an applicant or a company has invested in the recruitment process, the ruder an abrupt end to contact will feel. Inevitably, it will leave a bad impression and one from which it may be impossible to recover. Also, bear in mind, news (and opinion) travels and bad reputation can spread. Our business travel industry is huge and wonderful and diverse – but it’s also small and built on reputation!