You did everything right. After meeting a recruiter at a networking event, you landed a job interview and were invited to meet the team in person. With 15 years of experience in the field, you felt like you were a shoo-in for the role. Then a week goes by. And then two. Nothing. You even tried following up via email and phone and received no replies. It’s called “ghosting,” and now employers are doing it too.
Ghosting used to be a term only reserved for the dating world. And yes, prospective employees have been known to do it to employers. The term refers to abruptly cutting off contact with someone without giving that person any warning or explanation. And recently, the practice has been on the rise. In fact, a survey by job aggregation site Indeed reveals that 77% of job seekers say a prospective employer has ghosted them since the onset of the pandemic. And 10% reported that an employer ghosted them even after the company made a verbal job offer.
So, what should you do if it happens to you? Here are some steps to take before and after you are ghosted following a job interview.
Ask for a timeline at the end of the job interview
One of the best ways to set yourself up for success is to ask the recruiter for a timetable at the end of your job interview. Find out exactly when you will receive a response either way. Also, confirm whom you should contact if you don’t hear anything within a specific timeframe. That way, you will have clear expectations following the interview.
Follow-up after the job interview
If you don’t hear anything after the job interview by the designated timeframe, it is appropriate to follow up with your contact via email. Start by thanking them for their time and reiterating your value to the organization. Then, if applicable, let the employer know you are interviewing with another company and anticipate a job offer. That way, you are being transparent and creating a sense of urgency. If you still don’t hear anything after a week or two, try following up again a few more times—but don’t go overboard. You may even want to try contacting them via a different channel like LinkedIn. After the third follow-up, it may be time to move on and focus on other opportunities.
Reach out to someone else in the organization
If it was a role you were genuinely excited about, you could also try to reach out to a different contact within the organization. For all you know, there may be extenuating circumstances. For example, your primary contact may be on sick leave or taking care of an ill family member. So don’t assume that the lack of communication is always about you.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
If possible, don’t put all your hopes in one role. It is always a good idea to interview with several employers to create a scenario where you receive multiple job offers. That way, you will have more leverage to negotiate and insurance if one job offer falls through.
Leave honest and polite feedback
After doing everything possible, you may want to leave an honest and professional review about your interview experience on a company review website like Indeed or Glassdoor. A review like yours will help not only other job seekers but also employers. According to Sarah Stoddard, a career expert at Glassdoor,” It also benefits employers by helping their recruiters and hiring managers identify opportunities to improve their processes and communication so that future candidates can have a better experience.”
If you are ghosted after a job interview, know that chances are there was nothing you could do. In most cases, a hiring manager has changed their priorities or decided to fill the position internally. Whatever the case may be, employers in the private sector are not legally obligated to inform applicants that they were not selected. But while you may never find out why a particular company ghosted you, it could be a blessing in disguise. That just means that there’s a better opportunity waiting for you with an employer that knows your worth.