How Ghosting Can Kill a Career

2 min read

Just in the past few weeks, I have had two candidates ghost my client and me during the final stages of a firm offer. They literally went dark. Never to be heard from again.

While these two cases are a bit out of ordinary, it was not the first time this has happened and I totally understand why some candidates freak out at the last minute and decide to stay with their current firm.

But like anything else, there are second and third order effects for every action one takes. I learned this in military special operations planning. History is littered with winners and losers determined by second and third order effects in unconventional warfare.

What does this have to do with ghosting a client?

It turns out that these two candidates were highly recommended by people we both know in the insurance business.

They personally vouched for these candidates. They put their reputation on the line. And that is not an easy thing to do for someone else.

So within the last two days, both referral sources called me back to find out what happened with these two candidates. I had no choice but to tell them about the ghosting and they were not only surprised but quite upset.

One of them said, “Your reputation is everything in the WDC insurance market. Shame on her/him.”

The other, “Thank you for telling me what happened. Good to know the true character of this individual. I am so sorry.”

Who knows whether this will affect the careers of these two individuals? They will never know.

My sense is this bad behavior will ultimately come back to bite both of them because these referral sources are two well-networked senior executives who work with their respective firms on a routine basis. They are influencers.

The WDC insurance community is a very small community. Everyone knows each other.

Bad news tends to spread fast.

Moral of the Story: You can ghost your friends. But not your professional colleagues. Bad form. Bad character.


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