More New Hires Are Ghosting Before Their Start Date. Here’s How To Prevent That.

Some Recommendations For Startup CEOs to Help Make Sure Your Team Member Actually Shows Up

Hunter Walk


Most hiring processes start with an antiquated assumption that companies select people to work for them. In the world of technology startups we know that it’s usually the other way around: the best talent have plenty of optionality and the question is, how do you get *them* to choose you?

More recently though I’ve seen that signing an offer letter doesn’t always mean that person shows up on Day One. Counter offers and occasional ‘buyer’s regret’ have always been an issue, but a number of circumstances (including the shift to remote work) have anecdotally increased the renegs and no shows. As the Wall Street Journal reports maybe some of it is a byproduct of tight labor markets,

“The rise in no-shows “could be just an expression of job seekers having a lot more confidence in their ability to find a job,” said Nick Bunker, an economist at the job-search platform Indeed.”

Or from the same article, perhaps it’s a change in cultural norms.

“We have a generation of professionals who grew up on dating apps, where ghosting has been accepted as an annoying, but common, phenomenon,” he [Keith Wolf, a managing director, Murray Resources] said. “I believe that is leaking into the professional world.”

Photo by Tandem X Visuals on Unsplash

Regardless it’s become more common if not the new normal. So what are some ways that early stage startups can reduce the odds of a newly signed team member becoming regretted attrition before they’ve even signed into their corporate email? Here are a few tips we’ve been giving portfolio founders:

  1. Limit the Time Between The Offer and Start Date

Anything longer than a few weeks and chances of something going wrong start to increase. Obviously people often need to give notice and wind down the obligations. And sometimes they might seek a break or have a vacation already planned. But really press to get a start date on the calendar sooner, even if it’s just a week of listening/onboarding before they disappear for a two week trip.



Hunter Walk

You’ll find me @homebrew , Seed Stage Venture Fund w @satyap . Previously made products at YouTube, Google & SecondLife. Married to @cbarlerin .