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Imagine this scenario. You’ve been applying for jobs and get a call back from a company. You talk to them about their opportunity and then go on to do your research. Through the course of this initial conversation, you decide that this job isn’t quite right for you. Or, maybe you get another, potentially better, job offer at about the same time. What happens next. Far too often, candidates simply stop calling. Is it okay to ghost a company when you’re not longer interested or available? The answer is, of course no, but why? Here are some things to consider.

The no call, no show.

It’s surprising to think about, but it happens far more often than people realize. A person might accept an interview or even a job offer and then simply not call or not show up for the appointment or first day. This is the very definition of burning bridges. While it might not seem like it will affect you directly, your name will become associated with the action. Companies do talk to one another and it may become a challenge to find another opportunity with this negative reputation.

It’ll catch up.

Of course, not every ghosting situation is as egregious as not showing up for a job or not coming back from lunch. But even not responding to an interview request or an email can eventually catch up with you. Assume, even if it’s not the case, that every local employer shares information and your name will become associated with your behavior.

How to let them down.

Instead, let the potential employer know that you will no longer be able to consider the position. You can do this through email in most cases. For example, “Thank you for the opportunity. At this time, I need to take myself out of consideration for your job. If anything changes in the future for either of us, I hope we’re able to continue the conversation at a late date.”

Decline an offer.

If you need to decline a job offer, not just an interview request, be clear about your intentions. Let the employer know why whether it’s about the salary or job requirements or if you’ve received another offer. You never know when you need to connect with the company again in the future, so remain positive and honest in your interaction.

Don’t burn bridges.

Finally, we’ve said it before but it bears repeating, don’t burn bridges. Even if you feel like you’ve had a bad experience with a company, don’t directly respond with anger or retaliation. There may be other people within the company who feel similarly and when they move on to another place, you want them to remember you positively when your name comes up in conversation or across their desk again.

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