A man wearing a ghost costume

Ghosting isn’t something that happens at Halloween. It’s when communication stops without warning between two parties. For example, you’ve interviewed a veterinarian over the phone or in person, perhaps even made an offer, when suddenly silence – no returned calls or emails. That’s ghosting.

So why is it happening? There are four probable reasons:

  • The candidate received a better offer elsewhere
  • Vague job description
  • Workplace culture
  • Poor communication

Let’s start with the first point. If a candidate receives a better offer from a competitor and doesn’t let you know, there’s not much you can do about that. In order to prevent that from happening, consider making your offer with the stipulation that you would like the chance to counter if another offer is received.

As an employer, the responsibility is yours to clearly present expectations of the position you are needing to fill. Most veterinary job listings read similarly from clinic to clinic, but make sure you are clear about what each role involves when speaking with the job candidate. You want to present your needs accurately.

Speaking of presentation, making sure your clinic shines (literally and figuratively) is a good way to entice job candidates. Show them a positive workplace culture is in place by keeping a clean, friendly, caring, professional atmosphere for employees and clients alike. Demonstrate to the job candidate how the clinic is run by inviting him/her to spend time with employees and observing while they work. Answer questions about workplace interactions honestly and ask the candidate about how he/she works best to meet their potential.

Which brings us to our last probable cause of ghosting – communication. In today’s fast-paced digital world, an email can get lost and a voicemail can go unanswered. Most of us are never more than an arm’s reach away from our cell phone; those handheld computers are key in getting instant feedback. Texting is the fastest way to communicate these days, so if you have the candidate’s cell phone number, use it. Otherwise, communicate using the method in which you originally contacted them. And remember to communicate often – studies show increased contact between interview, offer, and start date decreases the chance you’ll be ghosted.

Next week in part two of this series on ghosting, we will explore the pitfalls of this practice for associate veterinarians and veterinary professionals.

Not everyone has the time or skill to be a ghostbuster. If you need help ghostbusting, we are here for you.


Jeffrey Audette