Ghosting: Why new employees are vanishing before they start


(NewsNation) — A term called ‘ghosting’ has made its way into the workforce, and employers are not happy.

It’s not new, though. In 2019, a survey from Indeed found that 83% of employers had experienced applicants disappearing before their start date. And 69% said ghosting, in general, started two years prior to that.

COVID-19 has caused the job market to continuously shift, and many experts say it is employees who now hold the upper hand in job negotiations.

“The incidence of so-called ghosting—of accepting offers and then saying that they’ll start and not showing up—is at a record high,” Jonas Prising, chairman and CEO of staffing agency ManpowerGroup Inc. told the Wall Street Journal.

Manufacturing, restaurant, airline, and cleaning jobs are reportedly seeing a surge of job seekers accepting positions and then disappearing right before starting.

NewsNation’s Ashleigh Banfield spoke with Rob Bralow, the owner of BLVD Wine Bar in New York City, who has been ghosted several times by potential applicant.

Bralow says 90% of the applicants he’s had didn’t even show up for an interview.

“Getting an interview is not really a difficult proposition. The real issue is once you’ve got the interview, to decide to go. And if they’re not willing to go do that, then there’s really no next step. And it doesn’t really matter what I’m hiring for. It’s not specifically for servers, it’s not specifically for dishwashers, or chef’s, it’s all the way up to management. And it’s fascinating.”

WSJ reports that the rise in no-shows “could be just an expression of job seekers having a lot more confidence in their ability to find a job,” according to Nick Bunker, an economist at Indeed.

“Banfield” spoke to a “Gen-Z” panel for their insight.

“I definitely think it’s a common stereotype (laziness) that is given to a lot of Gen Z,” Lillian Zhang, a recent graduate, said. “But I don’t think it’s true. There’s something much deeper than that, I feel. There are so many options for students, and Gen Z, to choose from that I think when it comes to seeing all of these options presented in front of them, some of them might get too overwhelmed.”

Zhang also says people her age are prioritizing different things like mental wellness, good company culture, PTO, and being treated fairly.

Zayne Violet, who has been ghosted by an employer, also spoke out on the matter.

Violet says she, personally, would never ghost an employer, but she can understand why her generation would.

“I do think that it is, in part, constantly having a phone in front of our face. That’s what we were raised on. And I do believe that it creates a little bit of a discrepancy in wanting to be confrontational and wanting to do things in person. It’s very uncomfortable, because it’s easier to be forthright with the screen in between you, rather than being directly in front of another person,” Violet said.

What is Gen-Z looking for?

  • Flexibility
  • Work/life balance
  • More non-traditional employee benefits
    • POT, mental health days, financial wellness programs, company culture

It may look like laziness, but Clinical Psychologist Dr. John Duffy says that younger people are simply more discerning about their needs in the workplace.

“The pandemic has only exacerbated that where they realize, ‘Oh, we don’t have to work the number of hours that our parents worked at their early jobs in order to be efficient,” Dr. Duffy said on “Banfield.”

Duffy also said that there is an anxiety more prevalent in younger people that we do need to overcome, “in order to just get them in the space where they learn how competent and resilient they actually are.”

Therapist Darby Fox says it’s not a surprise that mental health awareness ranks high for younger people when it comes to a priority.

“We’ve created an environment where it’s okay to say I have anxiety, or I could be depressed. And so I think that’s a really important, if you will, outcome of COVID a positive outcome,” Fox said.

Deutsche Bank has warned its members of a “major recession” coming to the United States soon amid rising interest rates and inflation hitting consumers hard across the United States.

Is Gen-Z ready for a recession? An all-star panel of career experts also joined NewsNation’s “Banfield” to offer insight.

“I think there’s a ‘kid in the candy store’ sort of confidence that job seekers get, and they aren’t always making good decisions,” Julie Bauke, a chief career strategist for The Bauke Group, said on “Banfield.”

Paul McDonald, the senior executive director for Robert Half, says that there might be too many choices for job seekers in this market.

Hiring gains have been strikingly consistent in the face of the worst inflation in four decades, with employers adding at least 400,000 jobs for 12 straight months.

McDonald also said it’s not just Gen-Z acting this way, either. It goes through all generations.

“So with all those openings, the confidence is too high. And they’re making choices right off the bat to try and find a job, get a job. They’re all enthusiastic without doing enough research, without looking for connections, if it’s a good cultural fit for them. And, you know, looking at the job description, Am I really a good fit?”

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