What to Do When You’ve Been Ghosted after an Interview

Illustration of a panicked man holding a smartphone and a hanging clock in the background

Interviewing for a job can be a daunting process. Not only do you have to be well-prepared but, when you walk through the doors, you also have to face the pressure of making a good first impression – as well as nailing the interview itself!

No matter how good or bad the job interview went, when it’s all over and you exit the interview, you ultimately want to know one way or the other what the recruiter thought of you.

Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for candidates to get ghosted after an interview, meaning they don’t receive a single email, call or message from the potential employer. Indeed, a 2013 study carried out by CareerBuilder found that a whopping 75% of jobseekers didn’t hear back from a job they applied for.

One of the most common reasons for being ghosted is because the company simply changed focus. From receiving a sudden influx of internal referrals to a change in priorities where the role is no longer important, there are plenty of reasons why this might occur. On the other hand, perhaps the interviewer felt the candidate didn’t show initiative.

Whatever the case, being ignored after a job interview can be devastating, particularly when you had high hopes of landing the role.

If you’ve found yourself in the throes of this disappointing situation, here are 10 steps to follow.

1. Ask about the Hiring Process

As the interview itself is coming to a close, make a note of asking the recruiter about the next steps of the hiring process.

Questions to ask include:

  • Do you intend to hold a second round of interviews?
  • Do you have a deadline for making a hiring decision?
  • How firm is that deadline?
  • When should I follow up?
  • What is the best way to reach you?

These questions are for your own wellbeing so that you can know what to expect (and when). This will also help you to be well-prepared when it comes to following up.

2. Send a ‘Thank You’ Note

This simple yet important part of the interview process should never be overlooked. Even if you feel you did exceedingly well in the interview, don’t be fooled by the impact sending a ‘thank you’ note can have. 

Meanwhile, Jessica Liebman, the executive managing editor at Business Insider, rather controversially admitted that she refuses to hire applicants who don’t send a ‘thank you’ note. While this didn’t go down too well with many, it just goes to how impactful this simple act can be.

Keep it brief, thank the person for the opportunity to interview, and highlight an area of the interview that particularly resonated with you.

3. Focus on Thoughtful Follow-Up

Without question, the best thing you can do after an interview is follow up.

Write your first interview follow up email within 24 hours of interviewing, thanking the hiring manager once again for their time. Make sure to reiterate how interested you are in the role and the company, and why you believe you are a great fit for the position.

If you don’t hear back from them, send another email one week later, but don’t inundate the hiring manager with endless daily emails. Stick to a maximum of one email per week for the next three weeks.

Within your emails, demonstrate how confident you are in your abilities to succeed within the role and that you can walk in and begin contributing immediately.

Most recruiters don’t ignore this type of follow-up. Even if they tell you you’re not the right fit, at least you’ve received definitive confirmation, and you can then move on.

4. Don’t Expect to Hear Back Immediately

While waiting for feedback is inevitably frustrating, it’s critical to remember that the hiring process almost always takes longer than most people expect.

Once you’ve sent a ‘thank you’ note and initial follow-up email, sit back and wait. Avoid reaching out again to your interviewers, as this demonstrates that you have unrealistic workplace expectations, and you’ll probably come across as needy!

5. Connect Through Different Channels

If a few weeks have passed and you still haven’t heard from them, try reaching out through different channels to increase your chances of getting an affirmative ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

For example, try sending them a polite message on LinkedIn or a text message. Focus on your enthusiasm about the position and avoid using accusatory language (such as ‘I haven’t heard from you, and it’s been a long time since our interview’).

If they still don’t respond, avoid bombarding them via other channels. Don’t call the office, show up at the office in person or do anything overly performative (sending chocolates or flowers is a huge no-no!). One simple, polite follow-up message on an alternative channel is more than enough. This also presents you in a professional light, giving you the best chance of receiving an update.

6. Reach out to Build Other Relationships

If you notice the job posting has been removed, that’s a fairly clear sign that the role is no longer vacant. If it’s still up, though, then you may wish to consider reaching out to another recruiter at the company in order to show your interest and build another relationship with someone else internally.

If you learn that the recruiter you spoke to remains active in the company, then accept that the interview didn’t go as well as you thought and move on to alternative options.

7. Reflect on Your Actions

There are plenty of reasons why candidates get ghosted. Sometimes recruiters simply change their mind about a vacancy, budgets get adjusted at the last minute, or hiring managers fill the role internally. If this is the case, accept the situation and move on.

However, if you’re constantly being ghosted by companies, you need to find out why. Reflect on your own actions to determine if you’re doing wrong somewhere along the line. Are you interviewing for the right role for your skills and experience? Are you the right cultural fit for the companies you’re interviewing at?

8. Get Advice and Support

Recruitment agencies are a fantastic resource for jobseekers. From providing careers advice and market information to interview preparation and pre-interview briefings, many recruitment agencies work closely with candidates to help them prepare for all aspects of the interview process.

Connecting with an agency is a great way to secure your chances of succeeding in an interview and landing your dream job.

Whether you want to prepare your elevator speech or learn how to develop intelligent answers at interviews, they have the skills and knowledge needed to appropriately guide you. They will also connect you to jobs that you are suited for, meaning they’ll be the ones to receive the feedback from the company.

You could also reach out to a trusted friend to assess your follow-ups or hold a mock interview with you.

9. Accept the Behaviour

Sometimes, this type of behaviour simply needs to be accepted and expected from employers as part of the jobhunting process.

While hiring managers and recruiters should apply the same degree of professionalism that jobseekers put into applying for jobs, this isn’t always going to be the case. Accepting the situation, learning from it and moving on is sometimes your best option.

10. Persevere

Yes, being ghosted can be a frustrating and emotional experience, but don’t let that define you. Work out why it’s happened, make necessary changes, ask for help, and put yourself back out there!

Never interview for a job just for the sake of interview practice. Instead, interview for roles that reflect your skills and experience. Be patient and, eventually, your ideal job will come along!

Have you ever been ghosted after an interview? What did you do about it? Share your tips and experiences with us in the comments section below!