Ghosted by a Recruiter? Here’s What You Can Do
Let’s talk about something that‘s a really big deal. It’s one of the most frustrating aspects of a job search, and it happens all of the time.
Recently, some of my members have been asking the question about ghosting.
Why do recruiters ghost? It’s terrible for our confidence. It’s frustrating and discouraging, and here’s what I want you to know.
It’s not about you.
The most important take away is that when you are ghosted by a recruiter, it has absolutely nothing to do with you, 90% of the time.
Does this sound familiar?
A recruiter will reach out…Say they’re interested in talking to you. Or they’ll interview you and you’ll get all indications that things went really well, and then they’ll fall off the face of the Earth.
Why do they do that, and why is this not about you?
The truth is, recruiters are held to certain metrics so their job, obviously, is to hire, and as quickly as possible.
Their performance is based on the roles that they fill, for the most part, unless there’s another metric that they’re being held to, but that’s sort of the industry standard.
They’re constantly pursuing candidates, they’ve got applicants coming in, they’re tracking down referrals and when you land in front of them, there’s a moment where they have an interest and they want to move forward, but behind the scenes, so many things could be happening.
A million different things could be happening.
A manager could come to them and say, “We’re thinking about pausing this role.” There could be a referral that came in through the backdoor. They could have spent the rest of the day looking at other applicants. There are so many variables that dictate why a recruiter doesn’t get back to you.
Is it best practice? Absolutely not.
The ideal situation is that a recruiter responds to every candidate, but it’s actually not possible in many cases. If you think about giant companies, sucha as massive enterprise companies, they’re getting thousands of applications. Their database is filled with millions of applicants. At any given time, they could bump into another candidate.
It’s discouraging to get ghosted, of course. It’s not a good feeling. If that happens, there are a couple things you can do.
- You can obviously follow up with an email, so the next question is how often do you follow up? You can follow up once a week. After three emails, you probably just need to let it go. The recruiter will get back to you when they can, if there’s a fit, if it makes sense.
- If you’re incredibly frustrated or really confused because you’ve been through the interview process is that you can reach out to someone else. Look for the recruiter’s manager if you can find them on LinkedIn or someone from the hiring team. I know that sounds a bit controversial. I’m sure recruiters don’t want to hear that, but if a company wants to be seen by candidates as one that cares about the candidate experience then it’s the responsibility of recruiters get back to you. Period.
You may be concerned that going over the recruiters head or reaching out to another person on the interview team, or the hiring manager, or even a cold contact who is a leader on LinkedIn could hurt your chances, but ask yourself. What do you have to lose? You’ve been ghosted. No one’s getting back to you. You’re actively looking. What do you have to lose? And a lot of times, candidates who really pursue the recruiter are the ones that get the answers.
Candidates who persist get the answers. The point is, never be afraid to pursue opportunity. Never be afraid to reach out in other ways. You don’t have to be aggressive in your approach. You could just say, “Hey, I had a great interview. I thought things went really well. I just wanted to know where I stand, because other companies are pursuing me. I’m talking to other companies,” so you want to position it in a positive light, to get through, to see if you can get some feedback.
I hope that helps. If you have any questions about why recruiters ghost you or what you need to do in your specific situation, just drop them in the comments. Also, I want to hear from you. Are you nervous to continue to reach out to the recruiter? Are you just incredibly frustrated? Drop me a note in the comments.
Tracy Saunders is the CEO & Founder of Women’s Job Search Network, a company which empowers women to land better jobs at every stage of life through gender-specific resources, online tools, and expert support that help them succeed through the job search process. Her newsletter, The Job Search Skinny, is read by nearly 50,000 ambitious women weekly.
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