Ghost-Catcher: How to Deal with Employers Who've Seemingly Vanished
You’re corresponding with a recruiting or hiring manager for a promising role at a notable company, and then, *crickets*, they’re no longer communicating. You’ve just been ghosted.
It has happened to the best of us. You find out that a highly-desirable company is hiring for a job which your skills and qualifications are the right fit for, and true to your assumption, you receive an invite for an interview after sending in your resume. You do well when you meet the recruiter/hiring manager, with your being hired looking very promising. They tell you they’ll contact you soon regarding the next steps of the hiring process, until… they don’t.
You follow up after that first (or maybe even second, or third) interview, but still don’t receive a response. You’re left wondering what happened and if you could or should have done anything differently, and if there is any way you can revive their interest in having you join their team. Sad to say, you’ve just been ghosted.
If not familiar with the term, it actually already part of modern vernacular, but is more commonly used in a social context: someone you’re dating suddenly stops seeing you or a friend suddenly stops communicating. Yes, as if the stress of looking for work isn’t enough, we still have to have some recruiters not notify us despite being in an age where tech has made communicating be at its most convenient.
First, the why
Before trying to figure out why a potential employer ghosted you, it is important to first realize that it likely had nothing to do with you. Even prior to being called ‘ghosting’, many employers were already notorious for leaving applicants hanging, ironic considering the uproar ‘ghost employees’ get these days. The point is, it’s not a new trend, so never take ghosting as an outright rejection of you or your skills and qualifications.
The company is disorganized. It is possible that who you applied to intended to contact you, and simply neglected to do so. Perhaps the company and the people who work there are in the midst of a busy season. That, or they are outright disorganized. Either way, they’re ghosting shouldn’t be too personal, as it could say more about them than about you.
The role wasn’t really available, to begin with. Sometimes, some companies put up job ads to comply with fair-hiring laws or industry rules, but in reality, the job, especially when it’s a mid-level or higher role, is filled by an internal hire. In short, someone was promoted, and they neglected to tell you and the others who applied as they tested the market that the role is filled.
There was a change in plan/s. In other instances, there may have been a change in plan for the company. Whether this was due to a change in budget or a change in the business overall, the result is the company put a freeze on hiring, and in the midst of the change, you and other applicants were not notified.
These are but a few reasons why employer ghosting occurs and, while not illegal, it is definitely disappointing when it happens.
What to do about it
While being rejected is never great, it still considerably better than being left to figure out why you weren’t contacted, much more turned down properly. If dead set on finding out what happened to your application, you can look to the following ways to “catch a ghost.”
Start by deciding how many times you’ll follow up, and keep to that number. This is best decided on how far into the process you got if you were ghosted. If you only submitted an online assessment and received an email confirming they received it, you may want to keep follow-up emails to one or two. However, if you are at a point where the hiring manager was short of making an offer on the spot at the most recent interview, you may want to not only send a follow-up email but maybe send a second one a few days later. You can also directly call the point person you spoke with after another few days to get the answers you need.
Search for a more reliable point person. Speaking of point person, some don’t respond because they may not be the right contact. There is a chance the one you’ve been speaking to is on some form of leave of absence (maternity, bereavement, etc.), or outright left the company, so you’ll likely need to follow up with a more ‘live’ point person.
Become more interesting by showing how busy you are. You’re likely looking for work, so you’re surely applying to other companies. Make sure the company you are following up knows this, and your activity will either make you more attractive to them or at least give them a sense of urgency that you won’t be available for too long. You might want to send a message that goes along the lines of: “The reason for my correspondence is to follow up on the status of my application made with your company X weeks ago. I am presently also interviewing with other potential employers, and would hate to have to consider possible offers without first being able to speak with you again.”
Make sure you present yourself as someone worth considering. No matter how successful you feel you were during the process before you started being ghosted, continue to approach your potential employer in a way that is both professional and still eager for the job. Write thoughtful follow-up emails, and prepare what you’ll say on the phone if you call in advance.
Move on. You can only do so much following-up on a job application, and it is obviously in your best interest to give attention to your other options if you’ve indeed been seemingly ghosted permanently. Still, you can remain ready, just in case and out-of-the-blue, to suddenly get a response. At best it’s an offer, at worst it’s an apology that you weren’t properly notified that they went in another direction.
Whether you get a response or not, as mentioned, you should never take the process too personally. Remember, you were ignored, not necessarily rejected, and you still put yourself out there to get a feel of your options and can take the lessons learned from the ghosting to find the ideal employer.
Ready to meet that employer who won’t ghost you and offer you your dream job? Sign up at Kalibrr and be connected to thousands of employers, today!
Kalibrr is a technology company that aims to transform how candidates find jobs and how companies hire talent. Placing the candidate experience at the center of everything it does, the company continues to attract the best talent from all over, with over 2.5 million professionals and counting. Kalibrr ultimately connects these talents to companies in search of their next generation of leaders.
The only end-to-end recruitment solutions provider in Southeast Asia, Kalibrr is headquartered in Makati, Philippines, with offices in San Francisco, California, and Jakarta, Indonesia. Established in 2012, it has served over 18,000 clients and is backed by some of the world’s most powerful start-up incubators and venture capitalists. These include Y Combinator, Omidyar Network, Patamar Capital, Wavemaker Partners, and Kickstart Ventures.