There is something strange in the neighborhood…
The social phenomenon known as ghosting—when someone basically disappears from your life without warning or explanation.
It’s puzzling. Why do people do this? Do you do this? What’s the deal with ghosting?
According to health psychology professor, Dr. Wendy Walsh, there are different levels of ghosting that can happen. Lightweight ghosting is a slight maneuver to make a point of power, i.e.- You got in a fight with your friend and they didn’t text you back. Midweight ghosting is when you’ve been around or talking with a person a handful of times and then you avoid them. Heavyweight ghosting is when you’ve developed a deep connection, friendship, camaraderie, or relationship and you ignore them entirely without explanation. All in all, they manifest a subtle art of squirming our way out of uncomfortable confrontations. Things are awkward? Go silent. Feel uneasy in a gathering? Just bounce. It’s the way we view the social world and deal with our inner selves.
We ghost because:
• We don’t like confrontation. Biologically, we’re afraid of it. Specifically, we’re afraid of drama and accusatory language.
• We want to avoid causing pain. We actually internalize pain based on the way we treat others. When we ghost, we feel like we’re being nicer than confronting an issue and disappointing someone, therefore, avoiding our own projected pain.
Ghosting extends to the professional world too, an employment trend that has become surprisingly common. In the professional world, ghosting can happen at a variety of the job seeking and hiring phases. In traveling healthcare, midweight ghosting is something travelers have been known to participate in when it comes to their recruiters. A potential traveler can ghost after applying for a new travel assignment, not show up or answer an interview call, not speak to their recruiter, and—the most extreme—not even show up for their first day at their new assignment.
While it may seem acceptable to ghost people and scenarios in your personal life, this behavior is highly frowned upon when extending to your medical traveler job. Rather than communicating with a recruiter, ghosting them can cause damage to your career and ongoing or new professional relationships. Pretty much, ghosting doesn’t belong in the healthcare industry.
What can happen when you ghost on your travel assignment?
You aren’t considering the time and resources.
When a traveler starts working with a recruiter to find a new assignment, they’re entering into a professional relationship with this person, as well as the team of people working to get them placed. They’re utilizing the time and resources of a whole team to get this job for them. You have a compliance specialist, people working on ways and places for the traveler to finish exams, blood tests, drug tests, etc., as well as background checks, paperwork, housing rates, and a whole array of additional steps to take in order to get this traveler placed in their assignment and ready to get to work. It, in fact, takes a village.
When you start ghosting out, it puts the wheels in motion of getting a bad rep. We get it. Sometimes you change your mind. Sometimes things come up in life. But, if you have a change of heart, it’s best to communicate this right away. When employers take the time and effort to process your application and you don’t respond, it makes you appear unreliable and rude. Nobody wants a rude ‘tude in their facility, right?!
The reality is: signing and returning a contract to your recruiter is a form of acceptance of an offer for a new assignment. You’re essentially agreeing to be at that location on a determined day at a specified time to start your new assignment. And once a facility is notified that a traveler has accepted a position, they stop recruiting for that placement. So ghosting on that contract not only depleted the resources of your recruiter, compliance team, housing team, and the entire medical staffing company, but also the facility and their staff, who are depending on you to show up for that placement. Additionally, you’re ghosting on your potential patients, which—hey—it’s just not cool, man.
You will appear less reliable.
If you walk like a ghost and talk like a ghost, people are going to view you as a sheet in the wind. I think the great Joan Jett said something along the lines of not caring about her reputation. But when it comes to your new travel assignment, you shouldn’t take a page from that book. The world of healthcare recruiting is a small one, where recruiters and organizations talk to each other. Your tales of ghosting can haunt you to your next potential job. A bad traveler rep is not doing you any favors in your professional career, and it won’t help you land another travel assignment, let alone a location or specific location you’re lusting after. Ghosting will get you on the track to a bad rep pretty quickly. And there’s reasons for that!
Think about all the people invested in your work: you have your medical staffing crew pulling a bunch of bells and whistles behind the scenes, while communicating with you on what you want and how to get you there. Additionally, you have a facility that is excited about you, committing their time to interviewing you, choosing you from a range of other candidates, and getting a contract all drawn up and ready for you to sign. Let me be clear: By no means should you sign anything you don’t want to or aren’t sure of, but once you sign, the wheels are in motion to help you be your best traveler self. Ghosting on that level of investment can truly burn bridges and make you appear untrustworthy and hard to work with in the future.
What can you do, to be a good boo?
Show your interest. Find out and keep track of what assignments are currently available to you and what you're interested in. When you inquire about open positions, you’re showing your willingness to get serious about your traveling medical career.
Get chatty. We've already established that communication is key when developing and maintaining your relationship with a recruiter. This is your friendly reminder to be fully transparent about what you’re looking for in an assignment.
Be gracious. Ah, the long-lost art of the “thank you” letter. Drop a quick note to your recruiter to stay on their radar, help build a good relationship with your recruiter, and demonstrate open, positive communication.
Stay on top, but don’t haunt. Maybe your recruiter is taking a lifetime (or what seems like it) to get back in touch. It’s totally cool to reach out and say, “What’s the deal?” But also, do avoid creepin’ too heavily on your recruiter during an application process. They’re there to help you. Trust the process, and that they’re getting things done for you.
There are so many ways to communicate. Email, phone call, text, heck—even a handwritten letter delivered by carrier pigeon if you’re feeling medieval. There are several opportunities to talk to your recruiter about your intentions or change of heart.
Fusion recruiters may not be real-life ghostbusters, but if you want a travel assignment that suits you, and you promise not to get spooky on us, we have the job you’ve been looking for. The bottom line: don’t ghost on your recruiter or your travel assignment. Pick up the phone and communicate and save ghosting for bad dates and overwhelming parties.