#GetHired – Should you be afraid of ghosting?
My email lit up one day in 2015 with a message from a hiring manager explaining that several people recommended me for an open position. While I wasn’t actively looking for work, I replied that I’d be happy to set aside time to chat. I never received a reply. I was ghosted.
Ghosting is a hot topic of conversation in the hiring world — whether you’re a job seeker or a recruiter. You’ve been ghosted if a person fails to respond or engage with you despite an ongoing conversation. As you can imagine, the phenomenon can happen in many areas of life — not just job seeking.
The exchange (or lack of one) that I described above is a common occurrence. In fact, a poll that I posted on LinkedIn about ghosting garnered more than 2,500 votes in three days. Of those responses, 93% said they had been ghosted by a potential employer after an interview or after they were contacted for more information. Many of you shared your stories with me.
Dana N. explained that she was ghosted after two interviews with a prospective employer. “They promised to let me know either way, and I’ve heard nothing,” she wrote. “I followed up with my initial contact twice, and he has not replied to my emails. In the past, he was very responsive.”
Chad P. offered another example of ghosting. The head of HR at a company stood him up for a phone interview, he wrote. “When I reached out to that person to see if another time/day would work better, we rescheduled. When the [second] appointment was supposed to occur, the person stood me up again with no explanation or follow up.”
Interestingly, ghosting goes both ways. Recruiters and hiring managers said they were being ghosted before the pandemic when the labor market was tight. Chip Cutter reported in 2018 that people were failing to show up for interviews and new jobs they had accepted. About 42% of recruiters whom I polled on LinkedIn said candidates are ghosting less during the pandemic, the rest said that’s not true or they’re ghosting about the same amount.
To learn more about ghosting and what you can do to minimize the odds of experiencing it during your job search, I reached out to Bob McIntosh, who is a career strategist and among the 2019 LinkedIn Top Voices: Job Search and Careers.
What you need to know about ghosting
One of the first things you need to know is what is and what is not ghosting. While people may argue over the specifics, many job search experts agree that ghosting occurs when a hiring manager or recruiter fails to respond after you’ve had some initial contact. You have not been ghosted if you haven’t heard back after submitting your resume or application.
“Maybe your resume didn’t get through the [applicant tracking system] or maybe it did, but the company doesn’t have an obligation to get back to you,” said McIntosh.
Another difference between the two is that ghosting tends to sting a bit more. No one likes sending their applications or resumes into a black hole, but it feels worse when you’re ignored after an initial exchange or meeting.
“I think it’s probably more common than we know,” he said. “Hiring authorities say we’ll get back to you by the end of the week and they never heard back. I think that’s extremely rude.”
What should you do if you’re being ghosted?
The unfortunate truth is that there is little you can do about being ghosted since you can’t force a person to respond to a message or make them answer the phone.
“Follow up is important,” McIntosh told me. “I would say if you have contact information, you should follow up three times. If you don’t hear back, you should move on.”
The reality is that you should also keep looking for a job even if you’re far along in the interview process with a potential employer. If you put your search on hold while interviewing for another job, you will lose momentum and miss out on other opportunities.
“You always have to be looking until you get a signed offer and until you come to a salary agreement,” said McIntosh.”You always have to be looking.”
One difficult part of the process is to remain cordial throughout your communications — even if you know you’re being ghosted. You could risk earning a bad reputation in your industry if your emails are harsh or combative.
“Always leave on a good note. As hard as it is to stomach, it’s in your best interest to send a good follow up that’s cordial.”
McIntosh added that it’s also important not to take ghosting personally. “Understand that it’s going to happen and not to take it personally and lose faith and confidence.”
How can you prevent being ghosted?
You can never be 100% certain that you won’t be ghosted by a recruiter or hiring manager, but there are steps you can take to minimize the risk of being ignored.
“Get yourself known by companies, hiring managers and individual contributors who have your back,” said McIntosh. “If you feel you’re being ghosted or ignored, you can reach out to those people.”
Additionally, he said it’s important to conduct a proper job search that includes networking.
You can also make a point to ask the recruiter, hiring manager or interviewer if you can follow up with them in a few days. “If they say yes, take them up on it. Email them or call them.”
Keep in mind that you will never be able to fully prevent ghosting. Even after I was ghosted by the hiring manager in 2015, I’ve experienced similar treatment a couple of other times. What’s important is that you keep moving forward.
—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: August 17, 2020 at 09:35PM