What is ghosting?
Maybe in 2019 it’s redundant to ask, but for those who might not know, ghosting is the practice of ending a relationship by abruptly closing all contact with someone, never to be heard from again. Typically, the term is used in the context of romantic relationships. However, it’s lately also come to be referred to as its own action verb in a number of contexts – including communication between employers and candidates.
In the age of online job applications, most of us have probably experienced this. You send in your resume and wait patiently with crossed fingers. If you’re lucky, you get a message, to which you eagerly respond. But after a bit of back and forth, the replies suddenly stop, and you’re left wondering what happened. Sometimes, the ghosting occurs after you’ve already been called in for an interview. This is especially perplexing, since an interview usually means you’re being actively considered for the position, right?
So, what gives? Why do some employers ghost, and what should you do if it happens?
Understand Why It Happened
First of all, it’s impossible to discern why certain employers ghost, since this is entirely dependent on context. However, you can wager it has a lot to do with the sheer extremity of application processes. The internet has led to a higher volume of applicants, and sometimes it comes down to employers not having enough time in the day, or shifting priorities, so they end up just not responding, however disappointing that may be.
Naturally, being on the receiving end of a ghost automatically makes a person wonder if they’ve done something wrong, but it’s vital to keep in mind that it’s almost certainly not your fault. The employment process can be messy and inefficient, and can involve varying levels of management, plus you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes of the company. Aside from being respectful, enthusiastic, and meeting the desired standards for the position, there isn’t much you can do to control the actions of the employer themselves.
Remain Courteous and Professional
This doubles as a tip for how to reduce your chances of being ghosted in the first place. While there’s no way to completely eliminate the possibility, making yourself memorable and likeable can certainly help. Courtesy and professionalism ensure that the messaging stage is enjoyable and compelling for both parties, which means that the employer is less likely to get distracted and focus on other applicants instead.
If you make it to the interview stage, it goes without saying that you should utilize all your best interpersonal skills in order to present yourself as the ideal candidate. After the interview is over, make sure to send a thank you email so that the employer knows you are still interested in the position and keeps you in mind.
Know When to Move On
Unfortunately, there’s no way to completely prevent yourself from being ghosted. Once you’ve done your part as an applicant and understood that anything from that point is out of your control, the final step is to simply know when to move on.
If an employer ghosts you, the most you can really do is follow up a few times and hope for a response. If you still only hear crickets, it’s time to mourn the lost opportunity and look for the next option. Many positions receive hundreds of applicants, and statistically, the majority of them hear nothing back. The reason ghosting hurts is because of the impression that the job was within your grasp before being snatched away. However, it’s not the end of the world, and the sooner you can move on, the sooner you can find the position that is right for you.