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Don't Get Ghosted In Your Job Search

Updated: Nov 2, 2022

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. 

A close up of a hand reaching out for a handshake.

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. 

A business woman sits nervously in a waiting room with a blur of people walking by.

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?