In an ideal world, recruiters and HR managers would always contact you after the interview. They would tell you whether you got the job, progressed to the next round of interviews, or failed to make the cut. And they would explain what you did wrong–why you failed, so you could improve for the next time, and do better. But we do not live in an ideal world. Not in this regard, or in any other one.

More often than not, you will get no reply from the interviewers. For a day, week, two weeks, a month. They are not answering your follow-up calls or emails. But what does it mean, how long should you wait until losing your last hope, and what can you do to turn your fate around–if anything? We will try to find the answers in this article…

 

Ghosted after screening interview has just one explanation

You should realize that famous companies receive hundreds of job applications anytime they advertise a job offer. In a time of economic recession, any position with a word “manager” in a job title (or any other fancy word) may attract hundreds of applicants, regardless of the brand behind the job advertisement.

Companies will typically do a short screening interview (online or on the phone) with several dozens of applicants who meet basic criteria on education and experience, or who had something on their application that caught the eye of the hiring manager.

If you are ghosted after this short screening phone interview, there’s just one possible explanation: they decided to not progress with your application further. It doesn’t matter what they politely promised while still talking to you: that they would let you know the result, and what not. It’s very unlikely that a corporation notifies unsuccessful candidates from the first round of short, screening interviews. They will notify only the successful applicants, informing them about the next step (a long interview session, face to face or online).

Things change in face to face interviews (or long behavioral interviews conducted online during the pandemic)

Things get a bit more complicated if you are ghosted after a proper interview (or series of interviews) in the company. Because it takes time to evaluate what you said and how you fared at this stage. Contrary to short screening interviews (which have easy criteria for success and failure), you may deal with complex behavioral questions and assessment tests in the second (and third) interview.

Different experts and managers may look at the results, and sometimes have a lengthy discussion whether or not to hire you (or let you progress to the next round of the interview process). And when many people decide about something, it can easily happen that they forget to inform you what’s going on.

It’s naive to think that many managers do not live in a bubble. They do not realize that you have your deadlines, other interviews on your list, or perhaps bills to pay. They consider their company superior to the rest of the market, and think that you are ready to wait for their call forever

 

Try all means of communication before giving up

Do not give up yet if they do not call you within 48 hours. The decision process can sometimes take up to a week, but rarely longer. If they do not inform you about the results within 72 hours, I suggest making a follow-up call. Do not send emails, because you often may not have the address of a decision maker, and sending emails to general HR address won’t do you any good.

Simply give them a call, and ask to talk with the manager who led your interview (you should know their name). Do not be afraid to directly ask whether they want to proceed with you or not. The worst thing that can happen isn’t rejection–that’s actually a good one, because you know where you stand with your application and can move on. The worst thing is when they say that they do not know yet, and will let you know later.

 

Ask for a deadline, or give them one–politely

You should not leave it as that, however, waiting for a call without knowing when it will arrive. Ask them directly when they will call you, when they will end their interviews and let you know their decision. If they are at least half-serious in their recruitment, they will tell you.

Of course, you should not sound pushy on the call, or get emotional. That could cost you your chances eventually. Just explain, in a calm voice, that while they are your first choice, you cannot afford waiting forever. You have opportunities in other companies, you have your commitments, and it is important for you to learn their decision in a reasonable time. Honestly, not a single manager can get upset about such a phone call. And if they do, than it’s better avoiding the company altogether…

 

Completely ghosted–no answers to emails or phone calls

The most annoying situation happens when you simply cannot get hold of any answer, whatsoever. You keep sending emails to the company, but there’s no reply–not even an automated one.

You keep calling the recruiter or hiring manager, but they do not answer and they never call back. So you decide to text them, What’s up them, you direct message them on LinkedIn, or even find their account on Facebook and send over a friend request.

You got just one answer though: silence. They ignore you completely, as if they died–or you did. In such a case there’s no need to keep nourishing your hopes: you are out. Mark my words: if they were even half-interested in giving you the job (or offering you some other opportunity), they would reply. Especially when you tried to contact them in different ways.

 

Leave an honest reviews on Glassdoor–so other job seekers know how the company treats the job applicants

Before you forget about this and start focusing on your next opportunity, you should do one more thing. A small favor for other job applicants, and also for the company–but not for the person who led the interview with you.

Head to websites like Glassdoor or Indeed, and leave your review on the interview process. Narrate how they ghosted you, how they treated like as if you did not exist, after you had spent your precious time and resources to interview in their company.

This may help you get at peace with the situation, because at the end you’ll have the final word. But it is also good to do so because senior managers read these reviews, and may reconsider the way their subordinates treat the job candidates, creating negative publicity for the company. Not that it helps you in any way with eventually turning the situation around, but at least you can help you successors in the interviews. What goes around comes around as they say :).

 

Conclusion, final thoughts on being ghosted after interview

Interview processes has become incredibly complex in the last decade, with all interview rounds, behavioral questions, and assessment tests. It can take a company some time to evaluate the results, and to eventually make a decision. So you should not panic when they do not answer your email within a day.

On the other hand, if you try different means of getting in touch without getting any results, and it’s been two weeks since your last interview, they are definitely ghosting you. It means that they are not interested in moving forward with your application. What’s more, they do not have courage or dignity to tell you their verdict.

The best thing you can do in this case is simply to forget about the interview, and move forward. I am sure you deserve to work for a better company, one which treats their employees and job candidates fairly and with respect

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Matthew Chulaw
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