As the New Jersey labor shortage continues, companies large and small are facing a growing problem: job applicants who are hired and accept a position with a start date, but then never show up at work and don’t even bother to communicate they have changed their mind about taking the job.

According to Carl Van Horn, the director of the John J Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, the practice known as “ghosting” is the reflection of a very strong labor market for people.

Why are people ghosting?

“Overall what it means is there are just lots of job opportunities, and they may get 2 or 3 job opportunities within a period of a few days and then they just go with the one that best suits them,” he said.

“We have the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years, what that means is there are multiple job opportunities for each job applicant.”

He said someone may get a job that is supposed to start next Monday “but between that Monday and the next 4 or 5 days, they get a better job offer or 2 job offers and then they take the best one.”

Empty cubicles in office
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Van Horn said when we have this kind of labor situation “it increases turnover because a person gets a job at company A, they don’t like it after 3 weeks and go to company B.”

He said what may also happen is “they get 3 or 4 job offers within the same short period of time and they just pick the one they think suits them best, maybe it’s the one that’s closest to where they live, maybe it’s the one that pay 50 cents or $2 more per hour, there’s lots of reasons.”

He noted ghosting usually takes place among hourly workers in employment situations with high turnover rates.

What about burning bridges?

Van Horn said while you certainly do not want to burn any bridges with people who might be in a position to hire you at some point in the future “the person making the job offer, he or she may not be there the next time you go back to that company, and people have short memories, they may not even remember that you did that.” (not show up).

He also pointed out “if employers are really desperate to get new employees they’re probably not even going to hold that against them because they need the workers.”

Who’s doing the ghosting?

He said probably more younger workers are doing this than older ones.

“Maybe the younger folks haven’t learned that politeness and courtesy,” Van Horn said.

He added the practice of ghosting is certainly rude to an extent but on the flip side “a lot of employers will take applications from people and never get back to them either, so this is part of the reality of life where people aren’t as courteous as they should be.”

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions: