Navigating Recruiter Ghosting in Your Job Search

GettyImages-693547126Picture this:  you apply for your dream job and land an interview. You think the interview goes great, but a couple weeks pass, and you have not heard anything back from the job recruiter. The unfortunate reality is that you might be experiencing recruiter ghosting firsthand.

Most people have heard the term, ‘recruiter ghosting’, at some point, but not everyone understands what it entails. Recruiter ghosting occurs when a recruiter has expressed interest in and communicated with a candidate at one point, then they go cold and stop communicating with that candidate. The recruiter gives no indication that they are not interested in moving forward with that candidate – they just never reach out to or respond to them again.

There are many reasons why recruiters should not ghost candidates. To name a few significant reasons, it harms the employer brand of the company the recruiter is representing, it eliminates the possibility of hiring ghosted candidates for a future job that could be the right fit for them, and it is discouraging to the job-hunting candidate that is being left in the dark. This is why recruiters should always prioritize consistent communication and avoid ghosting candidates.

The good news for candidates, however, is that being ghosted is not always as bad as it seems – there are several common reasons why recruiters ghost job seekers, and these reasons may have more to do with themselves than they have to do with a candidate’s qualification for a job.


Why Do Recruiters Ghost Candidates

Here are some of the most common reasons why recruiters ghost candidates.


1. Company Is No Longer Hiring for the Role 

When a company fills the role you applied for, recruiters do not always inform their prospective candidates that the role is no longer available. So if this is the reason you get ghosted, it does not necessarily mean you were a bad fit, it just means that the role was not right for you and their was a better suited candidate out there.


2. Recruiter Switched Jobs 

Turnover is common in this industry. A recruiter might stop communicating with you because they switched jobs and did not have time to let their contacts know before they transitioned to the new position.


3. Recruiters Need to Meet Their Targets 

Instead of staying on top of communication, recruiters might be prioritizing the targets that have been set for them. Recruiters often work to meet pre-determined targets, so if they are struggling to meet these goals within the timeframe, they might not make time to follow-up with candidates that they are not moving forward with. Recruiters’ jobs might depend on meeting those targets, so communication falls to the backburner.


4. Salary Expectations Were Too High

Sometimes a recruiter will think you are a good fit for a job until you reveal your salary expectations. If your expectations are too high, you might get ghosted. If recruiters know they have no chance of accommodating your salary expectations, they will not see value in keeping the conversation going.


5. Miscommunication Between Agency Recruiter and Hiring Company

When a company hires an agency recruiter to handle their hiring process, they must clearly convey what type of candidate they are looking for to fill each role. At times, a recruiter will start communicating with candidates they think the company will want, only to eventually realize miscommunication occurred and they have to switch gears.


6. Internal Obstacles 

Lastly, internal obstacles on the recruiter’s end or the company’s end might arise during the recruitment process. For example, the hiring company might run into financial troubles and be forced to pause their hiring, which could lead to a recruiter going cold.


How to Prevent Being Ghosted by a Recruiter 

Although there is nothing you can do to guarantee the prevention of recruiter ghosting, the following tips could decrease your chances of being ghosted.


Be proactive and ask about next steps. 

After an interview, it’s best to ask the recruiter about next steps in the process. Taking this proactive step encourages the recruiter to prioritize keeping in touch with you, or it gives them an opportunity to tell you that they will not be moving forward with you, which is typically better than being ghosted. If you don’t put the recruiter in this position, they might not feel obligated to communicate with you again.


Don't hesitate to Follow-up with a recruiter if you think you are being ghosted. 

Sending a follow-up email or phone call can never hurt. There is always a chance that a recruiter simply forgot to reach back out or was not ready to yet, so sending them a reminder will often warrant a quick response. Recruiters are busy, so a friendly nudge can help.


Convey why you are a great fit for the job and express your genuine interest 

If you plead your case for being a good fit for the job at hand and express the reasons why you are interested in the position, you could leave a strong impression on the recruiter. The recruiter is most likely working with a lot of candidates at once, so going the extra mile to sell yourself as a top candidate might just pay off.


Only apply for jobs that you know you are a good fit for 

If you apply for a job that you know you are not qualified for, but you manage to get an interview anyway, you have a higher chance of being ghosted once the recruiter realizes you are not the best fit. So if you are someone who will get discouraged by recruiter ghosting, avoid job listings that are outside of your qualifications.


Final Takeaways

Now that you understand that recruiter ghosting happens for many different reasons, and they are not always a reflection of yourself, try not to get too discouraged if you fall victim to recruiter ghosting. You will not be ghosted when you find the job that is meant for you, so do not give up.

And as a final note, if you are a recruiter reading this, please remember that candidates are people just like you, so treat them the same way that you want to be treated. Ghosting is never fair, so try your best to practice consistent communication and always keep candidates in the loop.


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