Unfair practices of Ghosting from Locums Recruiters

The term ghosting has been popularized in the 21st century to refer to those individuals that cut off or lessen their communication with another individual. This article explores the different forms of ghosting done by locums recruiters.

By FlexMedStaff


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The term “Ghosting” originated in the early 2000s with the introduction of texting and online dating. Millennials and celebrities popularized the act of ghosting as a way to ignore another individual you are dating.

Urban dictionary defines ghosting as “when someone you talk to suddenly stops speaking to you and ignores all your messages. They become a ‘ghost’ because they are no longer there.”

Although the term ghosting originated in the dating world, the term has crept into other industries and spaces. In the locums industry, it has become all too common to see physicians get ghosted by their locums’ recruiter. The act of ghosting leaves physicians confused, anxious, hurt, and deserted. In the past, psychiatrists have stated that ghosting takes an emotional toll on the one getting “ghosted,” whether from a romantic partner or a recruiter.

The feeling of being ignored by another individual can be devasting and leads us to doubt ourselves and wonder aloud what happened. Ghosting can occur in a variety of ways. It can be in the form of emails, calls, and texts. This article explores the different ways a locums recruiter might ghost you.

Breadcrumbing: This ghosting is when a recruiter provides very little communication, ultimately providing you with no new opportunities.

Possible Rationale: The recruiter may have found a physician to do the job for less but will keep you around if a new opportunity arises.  

Zombie-ing: This ghosting is where a recruiter does not respond for at least several weeks and then reappears as if nothing happened.

Possible Rationale: The recruiter may have only wanted your CV and could not land you a new opportunity.

Orbiting: This form of ghosting is where the recruiter is orbiting your life yet not providing honest feedback or communication. A recruiter may like your post/comments on social media but not give any actual communication related to a new opportunity.

Possible Rationale: The recruiters want you to think that they are your friends, and like all good friends, they want to follow you on social media with the hopes that you will consider working with them in the future because you are now “virtual” friends.

Situationship: This form of ghosting is where recruiters communicate with you out of convenience rather than having opportunities for you.

Possible Rationale: The recruiters want to impress their bosses knowing they are friendly with someone like you in the hopes that you will bring them other locums physicians.

Benching: This form of ghosting is where recruiters are purposefully keeping you on the bench to work with other physicians.

Possible Rationale: The recruiters have alternative motives and agendas that may not align with what you are looking for. Thus, they try to keep you happy and feed your sunflower seeds while you warm the bench.

The slow fade: This form of ghosting is where recruiters slowly lessen their amount of communication with you over time.

Possible Rationale: The recruiters may find you difficult to work with or too expensive, so they entertain you for a bit until they have another physician to work for them.

Final Thoughts:

Being ghosted in a romantic relationship can be a difficult thing to overcome. Although the emotional toll may not be as significant, being ghosted by a locums recruiter can bring about many of the same feelings of anxiety, hurt, confusion, and mistrust. As with romantic relationships, everyone should advocate for full disclosure and complete transparency from another individual. This way, we can avoid being the victim of a ghoster. When working with locums recruiters, be wary of these ghosting tactics. Know that no matter what they say (or don’t say), you are a great physician who can do it without them.  

***Disclaimer: Ghosting can be seen by others in the medical industry, not just locums recruiters.

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