You apply for a job, have a great interview, and instead of a job offer, you get nothing at all. No call. No email. No final communication. It’s as if your contact vanished without a trace…like a ghost.

If this has happened to you, you’ve experienced ghosting.

In recent years, “ghosting” has referred to personal relationships that met with the eerie end of an unsolved mystery, with one partner unexpectedly leaving the other without explanation. Unfortunately, as some companies fail to respond to candidates who don’t get the job (and, to be fair, as some in-the-running candidates fail to respond to companies), it’s now a professional term as well.

Masiello Employment wants to exorcize those not-so-friendly spirits, so here’s our guide to avoiding or dealing with ghosting:

  1. Make Real Connections. According to a CareerBuilder survey, a majority of employers are ghosting more than half of candidates. Because it’s more difficult for an interviewer to ghost someone they’ve made a connection with, find and explore commonalities during an interview (perhaps you both like to fish or you both went to the same college).
  1. Set Expectations. At the end of your interview, ask when you should expect to hear back—say that you’re looking forward to it and you’ll be in touch after that time if there’s no response. Sometimes, when an interviewer knows you expect a follow-up, you’ll get one.
  1. Repeat Expectations. Immediately after your interview, send a “thank you” note or email to the interviewer, and include that you’re looking forward to hearing back within the timeframe given. 
  1. Reach Out. If the interviewer wouldn’t commit to a timeframe, wait two to three weeks before reaching out; if the interviewer did offer a timeframe, wait one week beyond the time given to respond (so, if the interviewer says you’ll hear back within two weeks but hasn’t yet responded by week three, now’s the time to follow-up). 
  1. Choose Wisely. You have a choice between reaching out by phone or email—choose the medium you feel will best get through to the interviewer. If you choose email, have someone you trust proof it for you to make sure your message is clear and without typos; if you decide to call, expect you might need to leave a message so write out what you want to say (and make it brief and upbeat!) 
  1. Ask For Feedback. If your follow-up doesn’t inspire a response, send another message about a week later in which you recognize you most likely didn’t get the job and are requesting feedback.
  1. Know When to Quit. If the second follow-up doesn’t generate a response, chalk it up to a company’s “no feedback” policy, and move on. Allow yourself to grieve and be upset, but try not to take it personally, and don’t beat a dead horse by calling back incessantly.
  1. Be Professional. In your follow-up messages and any social media posts and online company reviews, always maintain a professional demeanor and positive outlook. You never know when you might cross paths with the interviewer and the company again; you didn’t get one job there, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get another.
  1. Don’t Be Afraid of Future Ghosting. Just because it has happened once doesn’t mean it will happen again, so don’t assume ghosting is how every company handles the hiring process. Additionally, don’t become paranoid during your interview process (don’t overshare that you’ve experienced ghosting and expect a response or say something like “Are you sure you’re going to respond?”).
  1. BONUS: DON’T YOU BE A GHOST. Candidates are ghosting companies, too, by not responding to a request for a follow-up interview or even an offer. It’s important to be professional, responding to every call or email, even if you’ve decided the job isn’t right for you. It’s not only common courtesy, it’s also smart—you might apply to the company again for a different job or cross paths with the recruiter at a different company, and you don’t want to be seen as an unfriendly ghost.

Ghosting is something you’ll never experience with Masiello Employment. We’re always here for you—just give our recruiting team a call  at (800) 639-7021 for a free consultation (we promise we’ll call back).