- You can't control whether an employer "ghosts" you – but you can control how you respond.
- Insider asked LinkedIn careers expert Charlotte Davies and psychotherapist Hilda Burke for tips.
- You should call back three times before moving on, they said – and keep searching while you wait.
You've just had an interview for your dream job. You spent hours preparing, and think it went well. The recruiter says they'll get back to you within a week.
This time you're certain – the job is yours.
But then a week passes, and despite their promise, you've heard nothing. You've been "ghosted."
Ghosting is where a company breaks contact with a job seeker without offering any reason. It can happen for numerous reasons, from poor hiring methods to bad communication. It's not a new phenomenon – but the pandemic appears to have exacerbated the problem.
When you're ignored by a prospective employer mid-way through an application process, it can be demoralizing, and can leave you wondering both what you've done wrong and how you can improve.
The unfortunate truth is that there is little you can do when an employer fails to respond, Charlotte Davies, LinkedIn's resident careers expert, told Insider. But that doesn't mean you're completely powerless.
Insider spoke to both Davies and Hilda Burke, a chartered psychotherapist and life coach, for their tips on how job-seekers should respond to being ghosted.
Chase, chase, and chase again
You're within your rights to ask for feedback, so you should – it might even help you stand out from applicants who aren't as proactive, Burke said.
"It feels very forward and intrusive to call someone out of the blue. But if you're looking for an answer it's often a more effective way to get one," Burke said.
There is a limit to how many times you should chase, however, Davies said.
"Follow up (politely) three times, each time adding something to the conversation that highlights your expertise and interest,'' she said. You could talk about how one of your skills matches the company's strategy, for example.
If you don't hear back after three chases it's time to move on, she added.
Put things in perspective
Moving on is easier said than done when you've invested a lot in an application – but taking a step back is essential to stop negative thoughts overshadowing your job search, Burke said.
"There's a lot of things in the mix that mean it's good to look at it in the round, rather than thinking, 'Oh, what is it about me?' and carrying that negative energy of the experience to the next thing to do," Burke said.
There are many reasons you might not have heard back from a recruiter that have nothing to do with you. They might just be a poor communicator. "Recruiters are human too – they have their own insecurities," Burke said.
If you've done all you can, and still not heard back, accept it, and put your energy into the rest of your job search.
Make yourself unforgettable
You can minimize your risk of being ignored in the first place by networking strategically, Davies said.
Find the organizations you're interested in, make a list of people at each one, and contact them.
Not only is it a good way of building relevant, valuable contacts, but it also gives you people to talk to if you think you're being ghosted, Davies said.
Don't pause your search, ever
When you've got your heart set on one role, it can be tempting to put your job search on hold until you hear back. But this could mean you lose momentum and miss out on other opportunities, Davies said.
"Even if you feel really good about an interview, don't stop your job search until you've got a written offer or a signed contract in-hand," she said.