How to avoid being ghosted in job search

by Nov 2, 2017

Three easy ways to prevent a “slow no” in a job search

It is tricky to know when to stop pinning your hopes on a job that hasn’t got back to you. These three tips will help you to know where you stand, without being a nuisance. 

We have all been ghosted in a relationship. The other person simply disappears and although we know it’s curtains and we’re never going to see them again – we don’t really know why. This also applies to job search. Sometimes called the “slow no”.  Being ghosted in job search is both a cowardly and inefficient way of dealing with candidates.

Ghosted in job search

Dorothy Dalton Executive Search specialist and Career Coach says:

A “slow no”  or being ghosted in job search is a communication device used by hiring managers or recruiters for keeping short listed candidates warm as a back-up plan. It involves indirect and opaque communication, which is a death knell to any search carried out with integrity. It might involve no communication at all, or fluff about delays. Or it might avoid totally communicating with the candidate even a final rejection.”  

Three of the most frustrating experiences candidates report relate to the quality and regularity of communication with the head hunter or hiring manager. Dorothy continues:

“Sometimes it’s intentional. Sometimes it’s about incompetence, lack of knowledge, training, experience and confidence.  Frequently, it’s about all of the above. Either way the candidate knows that he or she is not the preferred candidate, but doesn’t know why. No direct feedback is given.”

3 Ways to minimize the chances of  being ghosted in job search


1. Establish the next steps at the interview

Make sure you know what the next steps are with a timeline and if there are any issues that would preclude you moving forward. You can get a sense of the lay of the land by that response. It also gives you an opportunity to pitch again and clarify any ambiguous points. Always ask for a business card for the people involved in the process and make sure you have all their contact details. Tell them you will follow-up if you haven’t heard from them.

2. Send a thank you mail

Saying thank you indicates good manners and shows respect. It is also a further touchpoint in the communication chain. Some pundits even suggest a handwritten note.  Dorothy says an email works fine for her and stands a greater chance of staying in the online file.

3. Follow  up

Allow a reasonable amount of time before chasing up a response. Job search communication is never fast enough for the job seeker, we all know that. But if you have asked about the next steps and you know that a decision should be made within two weeks, in week three either call or email to establish the status. This is not about being a pain but efficiently pursuing your own interests. Be careful not to spill over into the nuisance territory, which can end up exasperating hiring managers and recruiters alike.

Be polite and respectful and simply action what you said you would; it creates a good impression. If you still have no response, chalk it up to experience but file the thought. Companies that don’t treat aren’t people well before they are hired, imagine what they might do once you are an employee. There are always lessons to be learned.

But with automated recruitment systems and the anticipated arrival of AI, including bots into the process, Dorothy says that there is no reason today why anyone should not receive some sort of communication even if it is impersonal.

Make sure your organisation’s executive searches are conducted professionally and no one is ghosted!  – contact 3Plus


Staff Writer: Career Contributor
3Plus welcomes any writers to join 3Plus as a Staff Writer. If you are an expert in Job Search, Career and Mentoring or just want to share your experiences, contact us! We would love to give you a voice!

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