It still felt a bit like someone had punched me in the gut when it happened. The disregard is insulting. The lack of closure is maddening. You move on, but not before your self-esteem takes a hit. The only thing worse than being broken up with is realising that someone didn’t even consider you worth breaking up with. [Psychology Today]
‘Ghosting’ has made its way over from dating sites into the business world. Have you come across it? It’s the disappearance of a party from any line of communication without explanation. It is actually quite endemic in the field of recruitment, where I work. Many will have experience of it sadly, in the job application process.
Is this familiar? You apply for jobs and may receive an auto-response from a job board or company website, or perhaps even a call or two from the in-house recruitment function. Then radio silence. This is very poor candidate experience and there are lots of examples on LinkedIn; where candidates have just had enough. I read a recent thread that attracted 839 responses to a candidate who turned down a job (paying more) because of the way she had been “ghosted’ in the process. Ironically by the time the company came back and offered her the job, she felt it was adding insult to injury and turned the job down!
This type of ghosting will not be personal at all; it will merely be a function of a recruiter not having time to revert to the candidate with concrete feedback. I’m not excusing this. I explain what happens in this vlog and why it may not be personal. Remember, there may also be a lot of red tape in an organisation, particularly large ones so even if the intention is to hire you, offers may be hindered.
We recruiters can be ghosted as well; as we acting as the intermediary between hiring manager and candidate. The recruiter can also potentially experience ghosting from a candidate who has just taken a better job. Often they won’t take the time to update the recruiter.
I am concerned about the rise of ghosting. We are losing the art of face-to-face connection and that makes it much easier to “drop off” and not bother getting back to contacts.
How Do I Avoid Ghosting?
The most important thing is in your original conversation, establish a means of future contact. Secure the direct contact details of the hiring manager as this email may have been set up by an assistant or recruiter. Ask in the meeting: “how and when shall we follow up?”.
Follow up straight afterwards: “Thanks for today! I thought I would capture next steps/add a bit more detail on that point we discussed etc”.
In a week or a fortnights time “I remain very interested in the role and reflecting on our meeting, I wanted to expand on this experience”
or “If there is anything else I can clarify for you, please let me know”
Your tenacity just might be the thing that seals the deal.
Perhaps you can you try a different, more creative communication channel i.e. can you switch from email to phone, send a quick video application (Linkedin has the capability for you to attach a file in messaging), or do you know someone who could get the inside story for you?
Trust your instinct: a contact of mine was rejected on CV alone when applying for a role but decided to challenge when the feedback didn’t add up. She asked a friend who worked at the organisation how to get a call in with the decision maker, and called. She gave them three reasons why she thought she should be reconsidered. She secured the role and was told it was her tenacity that sealed the deal. Ironically, the perceived “ghosting” propelled her to act and land the job.
Finally, cut your losses if you feel you are being treated poorly. I had this feedback recently “I had a really positive meeting with a prospective client a few years ago (I had to travel 1.5 hours to get to them) and I knew one of the people in the meeting from previous work. After the event NOTHING! Asked for feedback, an update, connected on Linkedin. Still nothing! I understand if things move on or they change their mind, but it is polite to let the person know! ”
It’s about Judicious Tenacity
For any scenario where you think ghosting is happening, be methodical in your chasing but only with a valid reason for doing so. Some people are unfortunately just terrible at saying “no thanks”. Would you want to work with them even if they did offer you the job?
Have respect for yourself and place value on your offering so that you are confident enough to walk away if timely feedback is limited/non-existent. After all, we need to value our own brand before we ask someone else/a company to value it.