Holden Jones Blog - Please Don’t Shy Away from Saying “No”

Please Don’t Shy Away from Saying “No”

“No” can be a scary word. As youngsters we’re conditioned that no will lead to conflict against the powers-that-be (parents, teachers etc.) In adult life we often bring our childhood conditioning with us and when confronted by a situation where only a “no” will suffice, it’s not uncommon for people to shy away from the responsibility to say it.

Another trait we reconcile in childhood and crave throughout our lives is the desire to fit-in, to be liked by our peers. This deep-rooted need drives many of our interactions with others, mostly on a subconscious level, and our resulting behaviour is often tacit agreement to facilitate oneness with others around us. Bonding with other humans makes the individual happy. Saying no flies in the face of this innate craving and it is here we find a common issue in recruitment: ghosting.

We wrote on this subject a few years ago and far from improving, the problem is only getting worse. As a recruitment agency one of the fundamental aspects of our work is communicating with people. Whether by email, phone, or messenger app, if we don’t communicate with people, we cannot do our job effectively. We know the world is demanding and anxiety is on the rise, but we cannot accept that declining a job interview or a job offer via silence – snubbing further contact – is anything less than rude and unprofessional. Please remember, that we will only get to that stage because the candidate has been willingly participating in the process and given us express permission to act on their behalf. Moreover, that action often reflects upon the reputation of the agency and damages the trust between them and their client.

So please understand we are not saying that jobseekers can’t pull out of a recruitment process – of course they can! (and would rather they did if they are not sure) – but surely, we must accept that there is a right, respectful and professional way to do things and “ghosting” is surely not it. Please recognise that we believe people are entitled to make their own choices but should have the decency to advise or explain to those they have been working with, of those decisions.

This blog isn’t the place to delve into the psyche of the modern office worker, but it is the place to ask what is going on? …..

  • Is it really that difficult to say no?
  • Do we feel it is easier to ignore than face conflict – I think maybe.
  • Are we forgetting manners, or good form?
  • Is the age of professional etiquette over?
  • Is it just too easy to ignore?

Or are we just frightened children conditioned to run away from “no”?

Yes, this blog is a little bit of a rant about one of the frustrating parts of the recruiter’s lot, but we would be interested to know about your experiences of ghosting. Is this problem limited to recruitment agencies? Do other industries and professions experience ghosting too? Is this a problem when arranging a night out, a party with friends? Feel free to tell us about your experiences, your thoughts on why/if ghosting is such a problem, and what can be done to tackle the issue.