Career Advice

What to Do If You’ve Been Ghosted by a Recruiter

Young woman using mobile phone against bus

In the world of dating, being ghosted means having someone abruptly end all contact and the relationship without any explanation. But unfortunately, someone dropping off the face of the planet doesn’t just happen to people romantically. If you’ve ever been on the job hunt, chances are you’ve been ghosted once or twice by a recruiter. Whether it happened after a brief phone screening or right through at the final stages, being ghosted by a recruiter can be frustrating and psychologically draining. To lessen the blow of future occurrences, consider the following:

1. Follow Up Thoughtfully

If you feel like you’re being ghosted by a recruiter, take the initiative to follow up with them before throwing your hands up in distress.

While it’s totally possible that you’re being ghosted, the recruiter could also be on vacation, the job may have been put on hold or the recruiter dedicated to the role may have been transitioned out of the organization. There are so many moving pieces behind the scene, so don’t immediately jump to panic mode!

If it’s been about a week or so, reach back out for a status update and be persistent, but not too pushy. If they are not responding to your email, consider reaching out (once) through LinkedIn for a response.

2. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the process of purposely bringing your attention to experiences and not becoming overwhelmed or hyper-reactive by what’s going on around you. Practice mindfulness in whatever form helps you reduce the impact that being ghosted might have on your confidence. Remind yourself that not every job is meant to be and that like in a relationship, the person you’re meant to be with won’t flake out and ghost you!

Rather than taking it personally, remind yourself just how many applicants per open job requisition recruiters deal with on a daily basis and understand that sometimes giving feedback just isn’t possible for them (though this is not a good practice on the recruiter’s part).

3. Don’t Wait Around

If you’re actively seeking a new position in the job market, make sure you’re keeping your eyes open to many new opportunities. Job hunting can feel overwhelming, so when we find a promising lead, it’s tempting to stop looking elsewhere and just focus on that one opportunity. This has the possibility to work out, but can also backfire.

Operate with the assumption that until you’ve signed your name on the dotted line, you’re not employed anywhere and should be evaluating many offers at once, even if you’re in the final stages with a company. Circumstances can change quickly with employers, and by keeping your options open, you reduce the negative impact that one of them not working out can have.

4. Reflect on Your Own Performance

Reflect on your own performance during the interview, as well as the way you’ve followed up post-interview. It’s possible that somewhere along the way, you’ve behaved or communicated in a way that has put the recruiter off, and as a result, you might not be a priority for them anymore.

For example, perhaps you didn’t show enough enthusiasm or interest during the interview, or perhaps you didn’t prioritize your follow-up and next steps. If the recruiter feels as though you’re not 110 percent committed and interested in the role, they will be less inclined to keep you in the running.

5. Think About Your Lessons Learned

With every job interview, you get better for the future. Interviewing, negotiating and working with recruiters are all skills that are built and improved each time. If it didn’t work out with this recruiter or hiring manager, reflect upon the experience and ask yourself, what can I learn from this moving forward? While not every recruiter will give you feedback, those who are can provide you insights on how to improve for the future. If you’re able to find feedback from a connection within the organization, or even through mock-interviews with friends, you’ll be better prepared for interviews going forward.

Just like finding the right partner, finding the right job takes time, effort and a little bit of heartache along the way! If you’ve been ghosted, take a few days to mourn the opportunity, and get back out there and show the world what you have to offer.

Stacy is a Human Resources professional with a passion for improving the workplace. She began her career in recruitment and quickly fell in love with training and organizational development. She is passionate about coaching and helping people succeed at work. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or at

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