So, what exactly is job ghosting?
Getting ghosted after a really good date is a kick in the teeth – but getting ghosted after a good job interview might be even worse. You might have had a first interview, or even a second interview, where you feel like you’re getting on well with the recruiters, you’re smashing their questions – and they seem into you too, laughing at all your jokes and nodding enthusiastically at your answers. And then… nothing. They promised to call, but haven’t. And it’s unlikely you’ll hear from them again. A recent survey by recruitment software company iCIMS, reveals that 76% of people feel not hearing back from a potential employer is worse than having your Tinder match disappear. But sadly, this is actually quite a common occurrence – a recent study reports over a third of us have been rejected from a job by receiving no response at all.
Aren’t employers obligated to contact you after an interview?
We wish, but as Darain Faraz, careers expert for LinkedIn, says, it’s not actually a legal requirement for employers to let you know you didn’t get the job after sending an application or going for an interview: “There are some exceptions to this as it, of course, depends on the company you interview with and their hiring practices and culture. If you’ve not heard back, you can certainly contact the HR team or hiring manager to find out the status of your application, but remember, they aren’t obliged to give feedback."
Why would employers do such a thing?
There could be a whole host of reasons an employer is ghosting you – and unlike ghosting in the dating world, it will likely, genuinely, have nothing to do with you. “There are often dozens of factors that go into the recruitment process,” says Lauren Blackwell, Recruitment Expert at VHR Global Recruitment. It could be down to the size of the team, the different levels of experience the applicants have, what current projects the team is working on. All of these can slow things down, and further complications can put the process on hold entirely. None of these mean you aren’t right for the job.”
A lot of the time it’s just down to time and resources, so Darain suggests you try not to take it too personally: “A recent survey by LinkedIn showed over a third of HR decision makers and recruiters felt the time it takes to hire a candidate has increased noticeably since the start of 2018. With so much energy needed to find the perfect candidate, it’s perhaps no surprise companies simply don’t have the resources to draft responses to every applicant that’s already been rejected.”
When should you follow up if you think you’ve been given the silent treatment?
“If you’ve been told you’d hear back about a job after an interview, but haven’t heard anything yet, it’s important not to jeopardise your chance for the role,” Lauren warns. “Calling incessantly or demanding to know if you’ve got the job will put you in a bad light, and can negatively impact how likely you are to get it.”
However, if you were told in the interview they would get back in touch with you, then you deserve to be kept in the loop about the progress of your application. “If you haven’t heard anything after a week, a polite email can help show you’re interested in the role, and might separate you from more passive applicants,” Lauren continues.
If after you’ve sent that initial email you still haven’t heard back, it might be the case they’ve gone with someone else – but a good recruiter should tell you that. “At this point, consider sending another polite email, asking what the situation is,” Lauren suggests. “Being clear, concise, and respectful will show you’re professional, and could help them make a decision.”
How long should you wait before admitting you haven’t got the job?
If you don’t hear anything after sending a couple of emails, each around a week apart, then it’s probably time to accept you haven’t been successful this time around. But don’t give up! Keep applying and you’ll get something eventually.
A good tip going forward is to ask during the interview when you might expect to hear back from them – that way you can manage your expectations and avoid chasing up too soon. Plus, as Darain says, “If you don’t get the job – or never hear a whisper back – there are over 20 million jobs on LinkedIn, so opportunity is out there.”