The ghosting phenomenon is common in relationships today. Someone just disappears from your life, without any explanation, and ignores your attempts to continue communication via text, email, or phone call. It hurts. Managing this same sensation during a job search can be difficult too.
As a career coach, I’ve been providing a lot of advice lately about managing “the black hole” of downtime. This can be the waiting period between your applying for a role and when you get a phone interview. Or after you interview and wait to hear back.
These are parts of the process you can’t control. That makes it more difficult to remain positive in the face of self-doubt and anxiety. Just like ghosting, the not knowing can negatively affect self-esteem and your other relationships as you become more tense.
The job search is a top priority for you, a focal point for your attention. A lack of communication, and waiting patiently when you’ve been told “we’ll know more next week” (for the third time) is challenging.
Make a Personal Impression
The way to make a difference during these periods is to be more personal in your messaging. For example, every interviewer should be sent a personal hand-written thank you note with specifics on your conversation, not just the role. Anyone can say “I’ll be great as X.” But only you can say, “I really appreciated the examples you shared to illustrate how employee development is valued in your organization. Your support of my continued development excites me about the opportunity to be X for your company.”
You might be waiting to get the interview. Maybe you met with a hiring manager or recruiter, but haven’t heard anything now for two or three weeks. You can assume they’ve moved on to another candidate and do nothing. But its likely they’ve forgotten your conversation. Out of sight, out of mind is so true. Life is so busy. If a person does not do a task in the moment, follow up is much less likely.
So, is it OK to text a quick reminder to re-establish the relationship? In this modern age of quick responses and short attention spans, I say yes! Absolutely. This is especially true for iGens and Millennials who expect fast, concise information at their fingertips.
Moving on from Ghosting
I remember being one of the top three candidates for a position. I was excited and optimistic. They’d said "you have an amazing background and excellent experience. We’d like to fly you to Ohio to meet with the team and executives." Then, over the next few weeks, I heard nothing. The next thing I knew they’d hired someone else for the role. The news left me feeling empty and bewildered. It would have been easier if the hiring manager had been honest and authentic from the outset.
It’s much easier to move on when you are able to get some feedback from the hiring team.
Recently, I was able to have a healthy, productive conversation with a recruiter about a consulting role I did not get. She told me that only one in 30 applicants who interviews gets invited to consult with this training group. She shared their thought process in not hiring me, telling me it wasn’t the right timing as they would want to keep me busy and they didn’t have enough business in my region to do so. Having that information helped soften the blow of rejection.
But what if you aren’t able to communicate further about the role? I’ve tweaked some of the tips psychologists offer people ghosted by romantic partners, friends, or family members to suit our situation:
Give a time limit — If you haven’t heard and are getting tired of waiting, reach out politely to establish a deadline. Send a message asking them to call or text in the next week with an update, or you’ll assume they’ve filled the role. This may be scary, but if you haven’t heard anything for awhile this can help to give you closure and restore your feeling of control.
Don’t blame yourself — Don’t get down on yourself. You have no way of knowing why the company you were working with has stopped communicating. It could have absolutely nothing to do with you.
Spend time with those who love you — Appreciate your healthy relationships and seek companionship from people who will give you positive feedback. They’re the ones who are going to shore up your self confidence and help you get through the hard times.
What we all need to remember is that we are already perfectly divine the way we are, whether we land that one job or not. Every human has to handle rejection and live through adversity. We just need to stick with it, stay positive, and continue to treat everyone with kindness and respect. We’ll get there in the end.
Need help along the way?
At the Best You Career Advantage I help people find or follow their true calling. I’m passionate about coaching career-driven professionals to be their BEST self at any stage in their professional journey.