Monday, November 1, 2021

Can't say I have much sympathy either

Via Twitter, this comment on employers from workplace advice writer Alison Green (emphasis mine): 
In today’s topsy-turvy job market, a strange new thing is happening. Employers are increasingly grumbling about job seekers “ghosting” them. These job candidates just don’t show up for their scheduled interviews. And in some cases, new hires accept a job only to disappear....

Employers, unsurprisingly, do not like this. It’s rude, they say, and unprofessional. And sure, it is. But employers have been doing this to workers for years, and their hand-wringing didn’t start until the tables were turned.

For years I’ve fielded questions from job seekers frustrated at being ghosted by job interviewers. They would take time off from work, maybe buy a new suit, spend time interviewing—often doing second, third, and even fourth rounds of interviews—and then never hear from the employer again. They’d politely inquire about the status of their application and just get silence back. Or they would make time for a phone interview—scheduled at the employer’s behest—and the call would never come. When they’d try to get in touch about rescheduling … crickets. It’s been so endemic that I’ve long advised job seekers to expect never to hear back from employers, and to simply see it as an unavoidable part of job searching.
It's not clear to me how much true "ghosting" happens in the chemical enterprise. We hear about it enough from both academic and industrial applicants to the point that it's clear it still happens in the time when 

Still, I would like it to be less than 5%, and it's pretty darn clear that it happens at rates far higher than that. If I could do one thing with my (lol) influence, it would be to end this practice in the American chemical enterprise, and that any and all job applications would be met with a response within 90 days of application or sooner. 


  1. The response can be as simple as an email saying that I didn't get the job. That would be good enough for me. THEN it's cool if you ghost me after that.

  2. As someone who has conducted a fair number of interviews this year (for chemist and chemical engineer positions) I have been shocked that any have just not shown up for the interview, but it has happened more than once.

    1. Can you offer a rate? I imagine that it was less than 3 out of a potential 30 total interviews, but I'm willing to be told otherwise.

      Also, were these in-person or phone/Zoom interviews?

    2. Personally I had 2 out of 9. There are additional though from other people that I interview with for similar positions.

  3. I first want to say "how does it taste?" to these complaining companies...

    Second, I work at a large biotech and we have offered jobs to people from staet ups to small biotechs and they use it for leverage to gain a promotion at their current employer, unfortunately. We pay very well for the area and very generous benefits and pricing, except for PTO which I'd say is only about average. However, I have not experienced people accepting offers and not appearing on their first day.

    My wife has experienced this recently with her work (medical billing/coding/credentialing/contracting).

    I have also observed it at my local PetSmart and Petco where they both have to close at 6pm everyday because they can't get employees. They tell me that no one wants to work because "there is too much benefit to be unemployed" and also their pay is "good" and "several dollars above minimum wage", part of me wants to say that perhaps our minimum wage policy is the issue and not the people who allegedly don't want to work. Anyway, those stores have most of their employees working open to close and I am a little concerned about those veterans will get burned out and quit for something else.

  4. Well, yes, I can tell that the job market now is a lot different - I've been in the application process since 2015. Before the pandemic, I would apply online to jobs I would otherwise have been a 100% match for (according to the job description), and silence for 2 months followed by a generic rejection e-mail. Nowadays the same companies that used to wordlessly reject me are having recruiters proactively reach out and try to get me to apply.

    Now, I'm having to literally swat away the recruiters, and my response rate from online applications is a lot higher, so much so that I have *too many* interviews (I know... #firstworldproblems). But shitty employer behavior is still there. The final stage of a lot of my interviews is a presentation, which employers need to realize is a big commitment from a job candidate - it takes a fair bit of time (5-10 hours or so) for us to put together something decent, just for something which is still a crapshoot/gamble at the end of the day (nothing is certain!). I recently had an employer ask me to put together a presentation for the final round of an interview, and I took the time to do so, including take PTO on the day of the interview. A few days before the interview, I get an e-mail from the recruiter saying that they were cancelling the interview since they made an offer to someone else which they accepted. I was extremely annoyed since I had taken the time to put a presentation together. And if anyone is wondering, that company is Evonik.

    Since then, I am now extremely wary about interviews which require presentations, and I tell the recruiters that up front - I'm really busy, and the hiring managers need to realize that that is a big ask.

  5. I have applied to eight openings in the past year, with seven of these in my field and one outside my field. Of these, I had:

    * One phone interview (which was set up less than a week after submitting my application), but no follow-ups (even after e-mailing hiring manager and the HR person who set up the interview to check in).

    * Four that were no response, apart from "we received your application"-type message (two didn't even do that). Of these, one application was well outside my field and three were within my field, but different than what I do now.

    * One e-mail response that was worded to the effect that the position was being closed for the time being. This was a different position at the same company I had the phone interview with.

    * One response that my application was not being considered (which didn't surprise me - I was probably only a 50 - 60% match to the description).

    * One very quick e-mail response from the CTO of a small company, asking a follow-up question and then he was going to forward my application to the group leader. No response since then. I suppose this didn't surprise me, as I am likely overqualified in some aspects and underqualified in others. This particular position has been re-posted multiple times over an approximately two month period, so they may also be looking for a unicorn (but that's just my guess).

    I'm not sure what to conclude from my experience except that I probably need to lower my expectations regarding communication from potential employers. Apart from the frustration of not hearing anything (particularly after the phone interview), it's pretty frustrating trying to approve my approach when I'm getting the low response rate that I am.

    1. *Improve* my approach, not approve

  6. Personnally, latest _employer_ ghosting have been from 3M and the Johns Hopkin APL. I am a fool for repeatedly applying for jobs with 3M, which can not even spare the lowest-level courtesey of sending an automatic rejection response.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20