You are currently viewing Never burn bridges — Ghosting is damaging to your career.

Never burn bridges — Ghosting is damaging to your career.

Ghosting occurs when a newly hired candidate simply never shows up for work. They accepted the offer but are a ‘no show’ on Day 1. 

Ghosting is becoming more and more commonplace. Hiring managers are guilty of ghosting as well. This trend is more prevalent  among younger attorneys who seek flexible work schedules. 

In today’s competitive legal job market, new hires ghost the law firm for several reasons: 

  1. The compensation is not competitive. 
  2. They received a much more attractive job offer, often receiving multiple job offers simultaneously. 
  3. The job description was confusing.
  4. The firm has a poor reputation or negative reviews.
  5. They feel they are not a good fit for the firm’s corporate culture.

Many attorneys underestimate the cost of ghosting. First of all understand, it’s just business. Don’t take it personally. A job search is overwhelming, exhausting, and stressful. That said, ghosting is simply not a good business decision. 

Here’s what you need to know: 

No Call / No Show 

Burning bridges will cost you. Ghosting is the surest way to being put on a ‘blacklist. Firms view ghosting as a reason to pass on hiring you.  

Reputational Damage 

You might think that ghosting an employer isn’t something anyone outside of the firm will learn about. That isn’t necessarily the case. It’s a small world, sooner or later, someone you’ve wronged will have the opportunity to get revenge. Consequently firms may pass on considering you for future opportunities. 

Job Search Best Practices

Be open and honest with your legal recruiter. Understand that during discovery any awkward or past issues may come to the surface. Recruiters know how to manage your experiences. Knowing potential issues upfront is critical to presenting a strong case to present to potential law firms. 

Find a recruiter who has excellent testimonials and you feel you can trust. Only work with one recruiter at a time. Be prepared to come clean about your past: 

  • Have you ever been fired? 
  • Have you recently worked with another recruiter? 
  • Have you applied to certain firms in the past? 
  • Communicate any changes in your expectations, such as any changes in your standing at the firm.
  • Be considerate and respectful. Understand that it’s highly unethical to learn about an opportunity from a recruiter and then apply directly. 
  • Be responsive. Follow up on emails and phone calls. Don’t ghost a recruiter you’ve agreed to work with. If your plans change, make sure you contact your recruiter and explain you no longer require their services. 
  • Be professional. Make sure you leave a positive and professional impression. Invariably there will be instances when you will be tempted to blow up a situation. Know that by refraining from overreacting and maintaining appropriate behavior will serve you well down the road.

We all need to monitor what people are saying. There may be instances when someone is attempting to damage your integrity and credibility. You may need to defend your good name. 

Schedule A Consultation 

Source: Stop ghosting and start saying no (Harvard Business Review). 

Ghosting is becoming more and more commonplace.

About On Balance Search

On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence. Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises experienced attorneys at every stage of their career to take them to the next level. From making the lateral partner move to succession planning.

Shari takes a proactive approach to advising law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm. On Balance Search identifies opportunities that exist today, not down the road.

Contact us today. Call 516.731.3400 or visit our website at

Please note that the content of this blog does not constitute legal advice and is only intended for the educational purpose of the reader. Please consult your legal counsel for specifics regarding your specific circumstances and the laws in your states pertaining to social media and any legal restrictions regarding the law.


Ms. Davidson, a highly skilled human resources executive with over 20 years’ experience that specializes in finding top talent in the legal community. Shari has placed lateral partner attorneys, as well as group acquisitions & law firm mergers and has assisted several prominent clients in recruiting lateral associates, paralegals and internal professional administrative positions.