Professional Courtesy – RIP ?

Holden Jones was established over twenty years ago as an alternative recruiter to the familiar market players and the poor business practices that were emerging in the recruitment world in the mid-nineties. Recruiters were garnering a reputation for ignoring candidates and lacking the courtesy you would expect from a professional. For this very reason Holden Jones was born and we hoped to lead the way with a more ethical brand of recruitment agency. I am happy to report that we have never wavered from our mission and we continue to uphold the highest standards we can in recruitment.


Recently we have been experiencing what we describe as rather surprising behaviour: ghosting. This occurs when a person decides to not respond to any communication from another party. For example, trying to inform a candidate they have been offered a job or second interview only to never hear from them again. In the last twelve months this has been our experience on numerous occasions and it has perplexed us. Ghosting has even been given its own WikiPedia page. It’s not a serious problem …. yet, but there are definite signs that ghosting is on the increase.


We have been trying to understand why this practice is on the up and how we, as recruiters, can adapt. In researching this article we’ve read stories about the sharp increase in anxiety disorders and how this affects people-based interactions (more messaging, less calling), and for the anxious we understand there can be problems communicating, which is why it is important to address these issues and create solutions to our changing environment. It’s not just recruiters that encounter ghosts. There are a thousand articles about ghosting and the different ways it affects our lives; dating, friendships, even family members have ghosted their relatives.


But why ghost? Indifference, anonymity, the distance provided by communicating without ever speaking to someone, have all been stated as reasons why people feel they are comfortable ghosting, or why it is acceptable to do so. Perhaps, there is something more obvious at play: the fear of conflict and the use of ghosting as an avoidance strategy.


In spite of the daily news bulletins of war and conflict, it would appear that conflict is not something we are trained to deal with and the multitude of ways we have to communicate allow us to avoid friction whenever we choose. We can block, unfriend, delete, and generally hide from whomever we want, as long as we don’t bump into them in the street. It’s easy to forget and move on in the modern world. Gone are the days when when you couldn’t walk down the street without saying hello to almost everyone you met. Society is becoming digital. Now you can leave the house with your hood up, plug your headphones in and happily not know the name of the person who lives next-door.


What are we to do? Getting frustrated is not the solution. New times require new skills and innovations; we have to train and evolve. Holden Jones are doing our part to adapt so we can continue to provide the ethical recruitment service we set-out to do over twenty years ago. We understand ghosting is causing some recruiters headaches and we only see the issue growing, which is why we have put strategies in place to be flexible to the changing needs of our candidates.


We know we’re not alone and there are many recruiters having to contend with ghosting, so we must see this as an opportunity to connect with a new generation in many other different ways!

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