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People Are ‘Ghosting’ At Work, And It's Driving Companies Crazy

A tightening job market and labor shortage have contributed to the behavior

Jo Weech, a Washington-based recruiter, found a software engineer she planned to hire, one with skills and experiences so rare she dubbed her a “purple unicorn,” recruiting-speak for a perfect find.

This candidate aced multiple interviews for a job supporting a federal contract. She breezed through a technical test. She had already nabbed a top-secret security clearance. Hiring managers wanted to bring her onboard. Weech called the candidate, intending to make an offer.

Suddenly, calls and texts went unreturned. Weech asked a colleague to reach out; he also got nowhere. Weech sent playful notes: “Please let me know that you have not been kidnapped by aliens. I’m worried about you.” She left voicemails. Then she started to get concerned: Was there an emergency in the candidate’s family? An illness? Car accident? Determined to make contact, Weech bought a greeting card and sent it via snail mail. Over three weeks, the engineer ignored a dozen messages. Weech had been ghosted at work.

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