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Ghosting - it happens

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

Wednesday Wonder: "I have been ghosted three times in the past week. In one situation I talked to a recruiter and then never heard back. In another situation I interviewed with a hiring manager and three other people and then poof, they were gone. And in the final situation, I was emailing with the recruiter about dates/times to talk and they disappeared. What is going on?"

When a job disappears, Ghosting.

I can't read the minds of recruiters but you are not alone. Ghosting - where you are engaged with a recruiter about a job and they disappear - is on the rise and I know it can be incredibly frustrating. I would never condone ghosting or make excuses for it, but I do want to provide some insight about ghosting:

1. Consider where you are in the process. When a recruiter reaches out for a first phone or zoom screen, you may feel like you are in the interview process, but you aren't yet. That first phone call is to determine whether you have the basic experience needed for the job, to gauge whether you have the presence of the level of the role, and to learn more about you to determine whether you will fit the culture of the team, function and organization as a whole. Since recruiters may screen 20+ applicants for one role, most people don't hear back after that first phone call. That is not ghosting; that is you not passing through the recruiter screen into the hiring process. Recruiters simply don't have time to call back 20+ people they screened for every job they are trying to fill, since most recruiters carry a workload of 10-20 job openings.

2. The recruiter is no longer with the company. Have you been reading the news? That's right, hundreds if not thousands of recruiters have been fired recently from companies all over the world. During an unstable economy, companies slow their hiring and therefore don't need as many recruiters so recruiters are many times the first to be impacted. Therefore, if you were talking to a recruiter and that recruiter is no longer there, it will take some time for another recruiter to pick up where the original recruiter left off, especially in smaller companies where they may not have an applicant tracking system that logs where candidates are in the interview process.

3. The job has been put on hold. When a job is put on hold, recruiters may not be given enough information as to whether it is a temporary hold, a permanent hold or when the job opening will become active again. You may still see it posted, but what you can't see is no one is actively working on filling the job. Recruiters will refocus on the jobs they can fill now and don't think about you sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring on a job the recruiter knows is on hold. Further, recruiters may be told not to tell the candidates what is going on. That puts the recruiter in an awkward position - champion the company but don't be transparent. Hence, the recruiters may ghost you because they don't know what to say. Is it nice? No. Does it happen. Unfortunately, yes.

Finally, if you are in the hiring process and the recruiter disappears sporadically, that isn't ghosting but definitely means something about your candidacy. Whether you've been ghosted or there is intermittent silence, remember, it's not always about you. Keep going. Don't let negative energy or fear hold you back. As frustrating as the job search may be, you will land the right job for you at the right time.

The journey is yours.

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