Have you ever been in contact with a potential employer and never heard from them again? Maybe you submitted your resume, had a phone screening, and reached out to your network.
You may have even made it to the job interview stage.
After a conversation about a promising new role, they stopped returning your messages. Complete radio silence. Unfortunately, you’ve been a victim of what’s called “employer ghosting.”
If this has happened to you, you're not alone. Over 75% of job seekers have experienced employer ghosting after a job interview.
To help you understand why this happens, we've put together the following article. We'll tell you some of the most common reasons for being ghosted and give you tips to get back on their radar.
"Ghosting" is a term that describes the act of ending a relationship with someone by suddenly withdrawing all communication without warning.
Employer ghosting is just that — when a hiring manager doesn't respond without an explanation. While it can be disappointing, try not to take it personally.
Employer ghosting can happen at any stage of the hiring process. For example, you might not hear back after sending in your initial job application. Or, you could have a final-stage interview and never learn the outcome.
If it's been a drawn-out interview process, you're more likely to get a rejection letter if you're unsuccessful. But, employer ghosting can still occur.
Sometimes, ghosting isn't intentional, and there can be a reason. A simple follow-up can give you the clarity you need.
While you may feel discouraged after being ghosted, the good news is the lack of communication is often for a legitimate reason.
The most common reason job candidates get ghosted is also the one they have the least amount of control over — there’s a new company direction.
Here are some other reasons why you may not be receiving a response.
Hiring a new employee is a commitment. It costs time and money to train team members, and the investment needs to be worth it.
If the company changes priorities and the position is no longer relevant, it may decide not to proceed. For example, a current employee could fill the skills gap, or the company budget might have changed.
In this situation, the company in question may notify candidates. Or, they could move on and ghost them.
Job ghosting can happen when communication lines are broken. For example, the recruiter you originally spoke to may be unavailable. They could have quit or lost their job.
The hiring manager could be feeling overwhelmed, or they might have taken leave. If they're not doing the job to the best of their ability, oversights can happen.
There can be 100 or more job applications for one position. Right now, many people are looking for a change, making the job market more competitive than ever.
If it's a small company, the person in charge of the hiring process could have a busy schedule, and follow-ups could be at the bottom of their priority list.
The prospective employer may have forgotten about you. Your job application could have been misplaced, or they might have assumed someone else from the company had been in touch.
Everyone is busy, so we recommend taking the time to follow up with the individual you spoke to. If you don’t, it may slip their mind to get back to you.
If you have an email contact, follow up via email so they can respond when it's convenient.
Employers are looking for the most qualified candidate. If you don't have the right skills, you might miss out on the job.
For example, tech companies need people with strong computer skills. If you don't know how to use common programs, you won't be a good match.
Some companies only contact successful candidates, and you won't always get constructive feedback. Early-round ghosting is more common before you've gone through the interview process.
The hiring manager may want to contact you but can't. If you put the wrong details on your cover letter or resume, the employer won't be able to reach you.
It's important to double-check your email address, phone number, and social media links before submitting your job application.
And you should keep an eye on your spam folder just in case the employer has tried to make contact via email.
It can be confusing and upsetting when you don't hear back from a company.
If you've been ghosted by a potential employer, here are some steps you can take.
If an employer ghosts you, remember to follow up. If you hear nothing back, continue to focus your search elsewhere.
If they choose to break the radio silence — great. If not, move on. Before reaching out, make sure you’re confident in writing an effective follow-up message.
You can send a thank-you note within 24 hours after the interview. If you don’t hear anything, wait 7–14 days before sending a follow-up email. It can take employers time to consider all candidates and make a final decision.
Here’s a follow-up email example from someone who's been ghosted after an interview:
Dear Mr. Jennings,
Thank you for meeting with me to discuss the administrative assistant position at Drove’s Office.
It was a pleasure learning more about the company and sharing my skills and experience with you.
The way your team collaborates is appealing to me, and I feel I would be a good fit for your company.
If you have any questions or would like to speak to my references, please let me know.
I look forward to hearing from you soon,
Phone: (000) 000-0000
As mentioned earlier, sometimes the person you’ve been speaking with has had to depart suddenly or is overwhelmed with other tasks.
Do some research and find another contact within the organization that you can follow up with.
Even if you think the conversation went well, you aren’t hired until you sign the offer letter. Continue searching for applicable roles, and don’t be afraid to accept other interview offers.
If you end up with multiple job offers, you can choose the one that best suits your career goals.
If you're in need of fast cash, you may also want to consider some flexible side jobs you can do throughout the interview process.
If you've been ghosted more than once, it might be time to refresh your resume. Is it appealing to hiring managers? Your resume should fit on one or two pages and be free from spelling and grammatical errors.
List your experience starting with your most recent job, working backward. And highlight your skills.
Read the job description and tweak your resume to suit the position. If you do receive a formal rejection letter, don't be afraid to ask for feedback to help you improve your resume.
When you go through the job application process and don’t hear back, it’s called employer ghosting.
If an employer doesn’t send you an email or letter to let you know you’ve been unsuccessful, it could be for a few reasons.
They may have pulled the position, so they no longer need a new team member. Or, they could have issues with management or have forgotten about your application.
You might not have the right skills for the job, or you gave the wrong contact details.
If you haven’t heard back, you can send a follow-up email. See if you can find a new point person, and keep looking while you wait.
Don’t forget to update your resume to give yourself the best chance of an interview.