You found and applied for the job of your dreams. You nailed the interview. You’re sure they’re going to call you and invite you back for the second round. You wait… and wait… crickets.
Sound familiar? It sounds like you’ve been ghosted.
Whilst this incredibly rude (and hurtful) behaviour is usually reserved for romantic relationships or failing friendships, it is now starting to crop up in working relationships, and in particular the job hunt.
Whilst this behaviour is rare and extremely unprofessional, it does happen.
To end a personal relationship with (someone) by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication. "I didn't want to ghost her, so we ended up having ‘the talk’ and it was horrible"
Most ‘professional’ ghosting will happen after a first stage interview, although we have come across candidates who have been ghosted after phone interviews and event final stage interviews! I know, the horror….
As a candidate, you invest serious time – and sometimes money, into applications, phone screens, interview preparations, the right ‘outfit’ and travelling in to ‘meet the team’. And although we encourage all our candidates to ‘close’ the interviewer for a decision there and then (more on this later…), in most cases you’ll be told the interviewer will get back to you soon.
A day passes, a few, then a week.
Insert tumble weed here.
But how has this happened? You followed up with a thank you note like every ‘Job Seeker’s Guide’ going advises. But still nothing. You follow up again to see if maybe they’ve made a decision or the vacancy has been filled and they’ve forgotten to let you know…
In last ditch attempt, you call the internal talent acquisition team only to be told they’re busy and will call you back. If this has happened to you, you’ve been ghosted.
There is no real explanation for ghosting. Simply put, it’s a cowardly way of someone getting out of having a potentially difficult conversation, or worse – They can’t be bothered to get back to the unsuccessful candidates.
Either way, take comfort in the fact if you’ve been ghosted, you’ve dodged a SERIOUS bullet. Who would want to work for a company that treats people like that? Not me.
So, what can you do to avoid being ghosted?
There are a couple of things you can do to avoid being ghosted;
At the first stage interview, if you’ve prepared well you will have a list of questions to ask the interviewer. Here is where you can question them about their hiring timeframe and how quickly they are looking to get someone started.
Click here to read our guide on ‘Questions to Ask the Interviewer’.
At the end of the first stage interview, particularly in a sales interview, you should be ‘closing’ the interviewer for a second stage invite. Simply put ‘closing’ is a sales term which refers to the process of making a sale – In this case, selling yourself so well, you ‘close’ the interviewer to inviting you back. An example close could be;
“At the start of the meeting you said you were looking for X, Y and Z. I feel that I have demonstrated X, Y and Z, however what is important is not what I think, but what you think - So, based on what you have seen and heard today, are you comfortable taking me forward to the second stage?”
If you’ve reached the final interview round, you can be a little bolder in your line of questioning.
“How do I compare to the other candidates you have seen?”
“When is your deadline for making a hiring decision?”
“Do you plan on notifying all candidates of your final decision?”
You might not feel super comfortable asking these kind of questions, but trust us – They’re assertive, but they’re still professional and could help prevent a potential ghosting.
It’s also best practice to ALWAYS reiterate your interest in the role – Both at the end of the interview and in any follow-up emails.
Forget Them, They Didn’t Deserve You Anyway
Hiring timeframes change, priorities shift but you do deserve to be kept in the loop, successful or not. Continue to follow up 1-2 weeks after your interview - Be persistent without being a pest.
If after that, you still haven’t heard back, it’s safe to assume they’ve either hired someone else or the role has ‘gone off’. The best thing to do if you are in this situation is to move on.
It can be hard not to take something like this personally, but be reassured if they’ve done it to you they have probably done it to many others; so try and maintain your confidence and move onto the next job application as best you can.
The Interview Checklist
There are several things you can do to reduce the risk of being ghosted, but the failsafe way to go is to ensure you are always professional, polite and know and respect your value.
Make sure you arrive to interviews on time, send polite follow-up emails and reiterate your interest in the role – all these actions go a long way to avoid being ghosted.
Click here to read our complete Interview Checklist to make sure you are prepared for every eventuality at interview.
Whilst we cannot guarantee ghosting after an interview will never happen to you, using these strategies will go some way to helping you avoid such a scenario.
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