It never feels good to be ghosted. But it happens. Job seekers often accuse recruiters of this practice. But here’s a bit of insight. Recruiters are human. Many of them have huge workloads and work long hours fulfilling their clients’ (meaning the employers’) requests for suitable candidates. So, when a recruiter ghosts you, don’t take it personally. Here’s what it can mean:
- The recruiter is busy and/or and priorities have suddenly changed. Employers redefine roles. They decide to delay hirings. It happens all the time. Honestly, many recruiters don’t have time to share this news with all the candidates. Is it impolite? Maybe. But remember: You are not the client. The employer is.
- They are sorting through lots of candidates for multiple positions. They have not had time to get to you yet. Be patient.
- You don’t meet the qualifications. It’s a sad reality that many job seekers reach out about roles for which they just don’t have the right experience or skills. It is important to do your homework. Find out what the company’s goals are. Read all the requirements thoroughly. Be ready to talk about how you meet them. Don’t waste a recruiter’s time if it’s truly a long shot.
- We don’t know. There could be a lot of reasons why one human fails to connect with another. Maybe they fell ill. Maybe they no longer work for that recruiter or company. Perhaps it’s a full moon.
When an employer has spoken with you, and you hear nothing back, the story could be similar. Of course, it’s disappointing. You spent time and energy on this potential employer, and then – silence. But here are some reasons employers might “ghost” you:
- The company decided not to fill the role right now. This happens frequently, especially when economics are uncertain.
- They already had an inside candidate. Unfortunately, this happens a LOT. Many companies have policies dictating that they must interview outside applicants. It’s a stretch to say whether they intended to ignore all of these additional interviewees. But it’s best not to speculate and just move on.
- The role wasn’t “real.” Crazy, right? But sometimes companies – and recruiting agencies – will put up an ad to fill their pipeline for future openings. To some extent, it’s understandable. It gives them more time to explore the market. But it is frustrating.
- The role is old. It could be you applied to a stale posting. Old ones can linger for quite a while.
- You didn’t meet the requirements. This is the No. 1 reason, in my opinion. And by this, I mean that you did not take the time to show on your resume and cover letter, or on your LinkedIn profile (the first place they will look) how you match them. If you are the world’s most brilliant PR executive, that won’t matter if you do not make sure your words match the words that are on that job posting. You want to be found by the applicant tracking software.
But here’s a bigger reason why you feel like Cinderella before she attended the ball: You did not use your network to help you get more information or a referral. I tell my clients: You should never apply for a job before you have talked with people connected with that company in some way – or learned something that will help you. Use your network. Maybe they did business with this company. Maybe they used to work there. Maybe they still work there. Maybe their spouse’s brother has inside connections. Leverage your social capital to get someone to recommend you for that interview – or at the least, to give you information that could advance your candidacy.
So, what should you do if you get ghosted?
You can always simply try to reach back out to this person. Pick up the phone and call them if their phone number is listed. Send them an email or a text message, and remind them that you’re there. Gently inquire about where you stand in the process.
If they don’t respond to you, then I recommend just moving on. The mental energy you spend on it will derail you from finding the right connection – one that won’t ghost you.
Need guidance? That’s what I’m here. Set up a call with me.