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4 Things You Should Do When an Employer Ghosts You

It’s not easy to deal with the suspense and the guessing that comes with non-communication from a recruiter. Find out why this could be happening and what you should do.

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It’s not easy to deal with the suspense and the guessing that comes with non-communication from a recruiter. Find out why this could be happening and what you should do.

Photo credit: Drobotdean

Have you ever been ghosted? I have. It was a very tough and frustrating time. The suspense that I had to confront every day was nothing less than gut-wrenching.

It gets more intense when you invest all your energy and emotions into an application and you don’t even get an acknowledgment email. Sometimes you take your time with an application by studying the vacancy post so that you don’t miss a single detail. Even the punctuations thereof.

Having read all the meaningful blog posts and articles you could get your hands on, you decide to implement the principles you’ve learned. And you make a compelling case for the validity of your candidature. You even make it to the interviews and you prepare adequately. When the d-day comes you ace the interview because you had done your homework and the job was yours. The interviewers tell you that they’ll respond once they come to a verdict.

Days turn to weeks and weeks to months. The response has never come and you keep second-guessing yourself. The voice of self-doubt and wondering what you could have done better replays prominently in your mind. You’re not alone.

What the statistics say

  • 53.5% of job candidates receive no feedback after the screening and interviewing stage.

  • 69.7% of candidates receive no feedback after being rejected during the screening stage of their candidacy according to Workopolis.


Reasons why you don’t hear from employers

According to Workopolis, only 2% of job applicants make it to the interview stage. What then makes employers “ghost” you? Here are a few explanations.


1. You may not have met the requirements of the job

An employer may read your cover letter and your CV and find that you lack what they’re looking for. For example, you may miss a mandatory skill they need, lack the personality for the job, grammatical errors, and more. 

Internal regulations in some companies bind recruiters from sharing internal information. This could be one of the reasons why a recruiter may fail to respond to you.


2. Failure to include keywords

When you send an application, it first goes through screening by resume scanners for specific keywords. These keywords show your qualifications and requirements. Therefore, if the keywords which feature prominently in the job description are missing, the scanner eliminates your application before any human sees/reviews it.

When the scanner approves of your cover letter and CV, a human recruiter now assesses your application to determine your suitability. This is where they perform background checks and verify your authenticity further.

Additionally, nowadays employers are concerned about your social media activities. Workopolis says that 70% of employers screen candidates on social media. They review your tweets, LinkedIn, Facebook, IG, and all other platforms. If any of your posts prove to be objectionable to the employer, they may never respond to you.


3. There was someone better for the job

Sometimes you may have the right qualifications and probably have an error-free application. However, there might be another candidate who makes a better case than yours. They might have better examples, more skills, or they were more likable than you. Hiring managers, therefore, find it hard to articulate the same to you. You can however find out if you are a good match for a role you are interested in before applying as well as compare yourself to top applicants with Fuzu’s Instant Feedback.


4. The legality of providing that kind of feedback

There are cases where providing detailed feedback might have legal implications. The person who provides you with detailed feedback might face legal blowback which might result in lawsuits. In this case, the recruiters may want to provide feedback but they can’t because they are legally tied.


5. The recruiters might already have a candidate in mind

It is often easier to entrust someone who already works in the company with a role than a completely new person. Secondly, HR professionals also trust recommendations from people they trust. That means that even if you had a winning application, sometimes this key component may cause the recruiters to overlook you.

That is why a good recommendation from someone who works there or formerly worked there would make a big difference.


How can you respond to non-communication by recruiters?

1. Be patient

If your interview took place a few days before, you should wait or give it more time. You can send a follow-up email or call when it takes more than a week and you’ve not received any kind of feedback.

Many job boards and even job descriptions state that if you don’t receive any communication in two weeks, consider the application unsuccessful.

If you know your application was unsuccessful, review your social media, change your CV and cover letters before you send another application.


2. Ask for feedback like a professional

When you decide to ask for feedback, there are various ways you can go about it. Instead of asking directly what you did wrong, there are different ways you can frame that query. Here they are:


  • Would you kindly suggest ways on how I can improve my cover letter and CV?

  • What skills or qualifications did you see that I should add to my portfolio?

  • Would you suggest that I get stronger references?

  • What details should I stop overlooking in my submissions?

Balance careers says that many employers prefer giving feedback verbally more than in a written manner because it could be used against them. It can be used as evidence against them if the hiring decision is contested legally in a court of law.

Leverage on platforms such as LinkedIn to initiate conversation and ask if you can talk on the phone to get constructive feedback from them. 


3. Ask for advice appropriately

If you get a meeting with one of the hiring managers, you need to ensure that you are well prepared for the conversation. Keep it brief and objective. Begin the conversation by thanking the recruiter for granting you their valuable time. Balance Careers says that you should try as much as possible to reaffirm your interest in the employer.

Ask for advice on how you could have better researched the company. You can also tell them to advise you on what to improve as you attend interviews.

Thirdly, tell them to guide you on additional skills/certifications that you should acquire. In case the new hire doesn’t work out, these vital components could make them reconsider you for the post.


4. Send an appreciation note

In the worst-case scenario, you might never receive any form of feedback from an employer. There is a cousin of mine who lamented once that despite making all efforts to elicit feedback from a recruiter, it never came through. There is nothing more that you can do other than thanking them for considering your application.

Write a brief email and even describe how the process taught you something you didn’t know. Also, acknowledge that the process was rigorous for them because they had a large pool that they were considering from. You can finish by saying that you wish you would have gotten feedback. But then end by reiterating your gratitude.

In conclusion

It’s not easy to deal with the suspense and the guessing that comes with non-communication from a recruiter. However, you can take actionable steps to improve your communication so that you get what you want. At the same time keep on tirelessly working on yourself to ensure that recruiters have a hard time bypassing your application.

Written by

Wahome Ngatia

Peter Wahome Ngatia is an all rounded Marketing Specialist who deals in Graphic Design, Social Media, SEO and Content Writing. My passion is to use my skills and knowledge to help African businesses grow and thrive so that we can create employment for the youth. I also want to churn helpful content that inspires millennials to go hard after their dreams. Mantra: You learn more from failure than success.

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