What to Do When You're Ghosted By a Company or Recruiter
Your interview went great! The hiring manager really seemed to like you and said they thought you would be a good fit. They told you that you would hear back within a few days, but fast forward a week and... crickets.
So what happened?
I often get asked when is the right time to follow up when you don't hear back about a job and honestly, it depends. You want to do it soon enough that you don't get forgotten but not so soon that you're seen as a pest. Here is when and how to follow up:
First, if you didn't write a thank you note after your interview, send one out immediately. A good thank you note can make you stand out, is the perfect way to follow up, and forgetting one can result in a missed opportunity. A good thank you note should be prompt, include information that you learned from the interview, and express your interest in moving forward to the next step.
Want a gold star? Include something unique that will add value for them, like an initiative that you think could work for them or a relevant article.
Already sent a thank you?
Often, an interviewer will have every intention of getting right back to you, regardless of whether you get the job or not, and then work gets in the way. If you have already sent out a thank you email and the date they said they would get back to you has passed, follow up with them 2 - 5 days after that day has passed. If a company did not indicate when they would get back to you, follow up within 2 weeks.
Reach out to them the same way that they originally reached out to you, so if they are a recruiter who sent you a message over LinkedIn, try them that way. You want to get people where you know they are the most active to increase the chance that they will follow up.
Don't overthink the follow-up message. You are just indicating that you are still interested. If you have had other job offers you were considering, let them know that you received an offer but would like to see if you were still in the running since you are still very interested in working for them. Transparency is always best and letting them know that you have other rods in the fire will hopefully get them to move forward more swiftly.
Do not send out a second follow up notice after your initial one goes unresponsive. They may be busy, but so are you and you shouldn't have to keep pushing on anyone who makes you feel like you need them way more than they need you.
Analyze What May Have Happened.
If you have followed up and have still not heard back, it's likely that you won't be hearing from them about the position. I know it's less than professional and it's not very fair of them, but there is a lesson in every rejection.
Is the job posting still up? If not, it's likely that they have already found a new hire or have enough qualified candidates to choose from. Seeing this may help you get a little more clarity as to what happened with that role.
When you reflect back on your interview objectively, were there any areas that you think you struggled with? How would you handle that differently next time?
What did you like the most about this opportunity? The least? Figuring that out may help you in your search for another role that is more aligned with what you need in this stage in your career.
Maybe they hired someone else, or maybe they are no longer hiring for that position, but regardless, they have moved on, so it's time for you to too. You've done everything you could do. A friend once told me that sometimes disappointment can lead to an appointment with something better. So remember that this opportunity may have been nice, but it was certainly not the last. You have plenty to offer and can take your incredible skills elsewhere to a more responsive organization.
Quick note: The company might get back to you weeks, or even months later. This, my friend, may be a red flag. They could have hired someone that didn't work out or have been so overwhelmed and disorganized that they have forgotten to touch back until now. Disorganization and a quick turnover may mean that this role is problematic. Move forward with them if you're still interested in the opportunity but be sure to ask questions and to feel confident that this is a job that you still want. It could also work in your favor to negotiate for a higher salary, especially after living in limbo for so long.
I have a friend whose discerning toddler refuses to eat her preschool lunch unless it's in a bento box. I get it; baby carrots are much more appealing when stacked in their little compartment than not. That made me think: when did adult lunchtime stop being fun? When did a soggy sandwich brought from home or a $12 bowl of greens, scarfed down in 10 minutes while scrolling through emails, come to define midday sustenance? Enter adult lunchables.
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In an interview, it's hard to anticipate what questions an interviewer will ask, but there is one that they are guaranteed to ask every single time (and it may be the most important question of the interview): "Do you have any questions for me?"