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Ghosting, Other Job Concerns Spook Workers

A ghost standing in a doorway in an old wooden house

​Forget howling monsters or vampire attacks. More than half of U.S. job seekers are most spooked about being ghosted: that mysterious radio silence from a recruiter or hiring manager who had been in hot pursuit of the candidate.

"Our recent Halloween survey reveals the proliferation of 'ghosting' during the job search, which can frustratingly happen at any stage of the interview process," said Amanda Augustine, career expert for TopInterview, a network of expert career coaches based in New York City, in a statement about the findings.

Prepping well for the interview can help job seekers ward off being ghosted—and is a lot more effective than stockpiling garlands of garlic or piles of salt.

"[T]hrough preparation—basically 'doing your homework' on a potential employer in advance [of the interview]—job seekers can learn what job candidates, as well as current and former employees, are anonymously saying about the company and its interview practices to see if there's a documented history of ignoring applicants," Augustine added.

To help guarantee a follow-up interview, Augustine gave these tips:

  1. Ask the hiring manager or recruiter if there is any reason they would be reluctant to hire you.
  2. Ask the interviewer about the timeline for making a hiring decision and if you may follow up with them via email or phone.
  3. Connect with them on LinkedIn. If you haven't done so prior to the interview, make it part of your follow-up process.
  4. Send a thank-you email within 24 hours of your interview.

Haunting Concerns

Other fears job candidates have include the form an interview takes. More than half (57 percent) of TopInterview's survey respondents said in-person interviews are scariest.

Video interviews are frightening, more than one-fourth (29 percent) of candidates said, and 14 percent said phone interviews are scary. More than one-fourth (26 percent) are afraid of making a bad impression or being unable to answer difficult questions.

Job seekers are also apprehensive about rejection (30 percent) and competition for the sought-after position (19 percent). Less than 10 percent fear disclosing salary requirements or negotiating the compensation package, networking, and age discrimination. found 26 percent of job candidates fear being unable to answer an interviewer's question; 29 percent are afraid of being late to the interview.

Once hired, a layoff is the top fear for more than half (57 percent) of workers—although also found 52 percent would rather be laid off than undergo a root canal, skydive, see a ghost, swim with sharks or be reunited with their former romantic partner.

Other scenarios that would make employees fearful they are about to lose their jobs:

  • Negative feedback—44 percent.
  • A surprise one-on-one meeting with their manager—43 percent.
  • A co-worker complaining about their performance—42 percent.
So how do employees deal with these fears? They don't call Ghostbusters. Nearly half (49 percent) would talk with their manager or boss about their concern. Other approaches:

  • Look for a new job—38 percent.
  • Take a mental health day—21 percent.
  • Speak to HR—19 percent.
However, if the problem involves their manager, 14 percent fear going to HR about it. HR also is the scariest department to work with, according to 22 percent of respondents.

"It may perhaps be because they may be reluctant to go to HR if there's an issue," said Monster Career Expert, Vicki Salemi, "or they perhaps equate HR with workplace issues," such as -unfair pay, harassment, performance issues, toxic workplaces, compensation, "as the policy creators and enforcers, as well as ambassadors, of the company."

One thing employees aren't afraid of: artificial intelligence taking over their job. Only 16 percent of the 1,060 survey respondents indicated this was a major concern—the same percentage who fear giving a presentation to their entire organization.


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.