Dec 15, 2023 | Advancing Your Career

The company ghosted me after the interview; what can I do?

Q. Dear Zenagos,
I had a job interview, and I thought it went really well, but now I’m not so sure. A week has gone by, and they have just ghosted me. I have left multiple emails and voicemails with the recruiter and no response — nothing. Is there anything I can do to still get the job?
–David

You interviewed at a great company last week, and you thought it went well. But, nobody has called you or told you anything. You’re being completely ghosted. What should you do? Some candidates get angry and send a nasty message to the recruiter or the hiring manager. Or, they go on a rating site like Glassdoor and flame the company. Others leave multiple messages per day for the recruiter or hiring manager, thinking that persistence will win the day. However, the best strategy is to remain calm.

It’s not you; it’s them
It would be wonderful if all recruiters and hiring managers at all companies were efficient and professional. However, the truth is that most aren’t. The company is hiring because it needs help. So, the people who are doing the hiring are probably doing the job right now that they want to hire someone to do. They are tired, overworked, and overwhelmed. They just don’t have the time or energy to conduct detailed correspondence with all of the candidates in their pipeline. So, sadly, it’s not unusual for a company to fail to get back to candidates quickly, or even at all.

Don’t Panic
Companies often do work in spurts, so they manage to get the job description out and then they launch into some other priority. Then, they get some interviews done, and they leap into some other priority. They may simply be having a busy month. Maybe it’s the month of their big annual conference. Maybe they need to try to close a fantastic deal opportunity. As a candidate, you have no visibility into the company’s needs and priorities, so don’t assume that no news is bad news. They might just be taking a while to get back to you. Don’t be surprised if it takes them several weeks (or even months) to get back to you with an offer. For some companies, this is a fast timeframe.

Send Thank Yous
It is polite to send thank you notes to everyone you met during the interview. Handwritten notes are still appreciated, but email notes are perfectly acceptable. Many hiring managers make a decision between two close candidates based on which one took the time to say thank you. This is an easy thing to do that reminds the interviewers of your candidacy and expresses interest.

Express Enthusiasm
If you want the job, make sure the interviewers know it. In your thank you note, be specific about what you like about the company and the job. Demonstrate to them that you listened to them and heard what they need from the role. Tell them that you would like to fill the role.

Don’t Badger
It is acceptable to check in with the recruiter or hiring manager about once a week. More than that will not be received well. If you badger the people who are going to make the decision, they may decide that you are going to be “high maintenance” or tough to satisfy. Just check in once a week and reiterate how interested you are in the role and ask if there’s anything else you can do to strengthen your candidacy. That’s it. After that, make yourself busy getting other interviewing opportunities. No matter how much you like this job, you can’t control their decision. Use your time filling your pipeline with other chances, so you will shorten your overall job search.

Don’t Try to Connect on Social Media
Candidates who try to connect with the hiring manager on social media (and particularly on more personal platforms like Facebook) may be perceived as “creepy.” If you get the offer, you can connect with everyone then. In particular, do not try to make contact with other employees in the company and ask about the hiring manager, the culture, etc. This will absolutely get back to the hiring manager. A few hiring managers may appreciate your moxie, but many will decide that you are pushy and will probably be a complicated employee.

Remember that they are anxious, too
Trying to find a job is an anxiety-producing activity. You may be afraid that you will run out of money or that you will never find a job that you really like. However, try not to focus on your own anxiety. Instead, put yourself in the hiring managers’ shoes. They are anxious, too. If they make the wrong hire, it may set them back months and add to their workload, instead of lightening their workload. Firing is difficult and scary, so they want to hire the right person – someone they won’t need to fire later. Think about how you can reassure them that you will be a great candidate – someone who will really help them and lighten their workload.

If you can keep your emotions in check (instead of panicking and doing something to hurt your candidacy), you may be rewarded with an offer. If you have used the intervening time to find other interviews, you may win another offer that you like even more.

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