Navigating the Silence: How to Handle Being Ghosted in Your Job Search

Imagine you’ve had a great interview – you were vibing with your potential boss and the hiring manager and you’re waiting to hear back on an offer. Fast forward to a few weeks later and crickets…you never hear from them again. Unfortunately, this is becoming more common in today’s hiring landscape. This is the textbook definition of getting “ghosted” and it never makes sense. When this happens more than once it can be extremely frustrating and discouraging. You don’t know if you’re doing something wrong and you start second-guessing your interview performance. If this has happened to you, I don’t know that I will be able to give you a satisfactory answer as to why…but I can tell you how to handle it and move on with confidence.

Navigating the Silence: How to Handle Being Ghosted in Your Job Search

Ghosting is on the rise, with 40% of job seekers reporting that a potential employer had ghosted them after a second- or third-round interview, up from 30% in 2022. I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but if a company ghosts you, you dodged a bullet. They are most likely very disorganized and it’s a sign that you probably don’t want to work there. If you’ve been ghosted, it can mean a few things:

  1. They’ve hired someone else.
  2. They had to pause the hiring process for some reason.
  3. They are completely understaffed and disorganized.

Recruitment Ghosting

If you’ve been ghosted, don’t take it personally. While you may have really wanted this job, this frees you up to find something even better. While this is easier said than done, job searching is like dating, you want to be the one getting pursued, not doing the pursuing. Here is how you should handle getting ghosted:

Send a Follow-Up

You should have already sent a thank you note and/or email following your interview, but if you haven’t heard anything back in one week, you can send a follow up email that gently asks if there is anything else they need from you to help make a decision. At your next job interview, make sure you ask about the next steps and what their hiring timeline is. This will help you know when to follow up in the future. Don’t continue to follow up. If they don’t respond then you have your answer.

Try Another Contact

If the ghosting goes on for more than a week, you can try reaching out to another contact that you met at the company. Perhaps it was the team member you vibed with in the interview. Reaching out via LinkedIn might garner you more candid feedback than the company email will. If you had a great rapport with them, it never hurts to keep the connection. They might keep you in mind for a future position or if they move on to a different company.

Find an Opportunity to Connect in Person

This one might be more industry-specific, but if one of the team members is involved with a professional organization or charitable endeavor, consider attending one of the events and making a personal connection. For example, if one of the executives is speaking on a panel, use that as an opportunity to connect in person. Don’t be a stalker, but if you have the chance to approach just share your enthusiasm for the company and how you’re pleased to meet them in person.

Ask for Feedback

If you happen to see that the position was filled, you can follow up and ask for feedback on your interview. The worst they can do is say no, but it might help give you insight into future interviews. Keep the outreach light and say something like “Congratulations on your new hire! As you’ve closed the job search for xx position, I was hoping you might share some feedback on my interview so I can incorporate it into my ongoing search. I thought we had a great interview and would appreciate the opportunity to improve in the future.”

If you discover that the company has hired someone else, you can look at their LinkedIn profile and see if there are any skills or experiences they’ve had that set them apart.

Manage Your Expectations

The dream position to be in would be deciding between a few offers and having companies clamoring over you. You should NEVER put all your eggs in one basket and stop searching after an amazing interview. Treat every interview like another part of your application and once it’s over, send the thank you note, and a reminder to follow up in a week. Then FORGET ABOUT IT. Continue your search immediately and keep searching for companies and positions that are aligned with your goals.

Ghosted after interview

Practice Your Interview Skills

If you’re still concerned about your interview skills, let’s set up a practice interview. I can interview you over Zoom and give you constructive feedback on your performance. If you have a big interview coming up we can do a practice run, or we can go through difficult questions and workshop your responses. You don’t have to go through this process alone. I am here to support you every step of the way.