Recent trends in Ghosting

I’ve read a lot of articles lately about the ghosting trend in which candidates aren’t showing up for job interviews, or they get hired for the job and then don’t show up. Part of the explanation is the strong economy and lots of choice for applicants. That doesn’t excuse it, of course! Employers are rightfully appalled. Realistically, though, employers have been ghosting candidates for years in various ways. As a job seeker, is there anything you can do?

Recently, I had a job applicant who had a particularly aggravating situation. She’d interviewed with a company for a position, but wasn’t sure if she had all of the required skills for the job. The internal recruiter assured her that they were looking for someone with her particular strengths. After three different visits to the company’s office, and individual and panel interviews with 10 different people, she heard nothing. A month, then two months passed, still no word. Finally, after three months, she heard she was no longer under consideration. Not surprisingly, she felt like the process had been a huge waste of time.

In the age of keyword-based resumes and hundreds of applications for a single position, a non-response from an initial inquiry isn’t unusual. But when you’ve gone for multiple interviews and you don’t hear anything, that’s downright frustrating.

How to Decrease the Odds of Getting Ghosted in a Job Search

Being ghosted by a prospective employer qualifies as one of the red flags during the interview process. Even so, there are three simple steps you can take, beyond saying, “I don’t really want this job anyway.”

1. Ask about the process. During a final interview, you should ask when you can expect to hear back or when a final decision will be made.

2. Advocate for yourself. If you haven’t heard from the employer by that date, follow up with a call or email to the hiring manager or internal recruiter, as appropriate.

3. Give yourself a personal deadline. If you haven’t heard anything by the expected date, or if your follow-ups have been ignored, you need to set a boundary of how long you’re willing to wait.

In an ideal world, hiring companies would keep you in the loop during your job search. Many good companies already have those types of processes in place. But you also need to recognize that things go on behind the scenes that you don’t know about and that have nothing to do with your suitability for the job. There might be more candidates than you realized. The company may be having problems getting approval to make an offer. The job specifications may have shifted during the process, so the original skills and experience requirement are no longer applicable. An internal applicant may have thrown their resume into the mix.

I’m not excusing the ghosting trend, but those are a few explanations of why it happens that may make you feel better about your situation.

Have you been ghosted in a job search by a potential employer? What did you do? How did it make you feel about that company?

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