We all (unfortunately) know what ghosting is when it comes to dating—but did you know that you can get ghosted during a job search as well? That’s right: a potential employer could woo you over an in-person interview, only to never call you again.
“Ghosting is the absolute worst for job candidates,” commiserates millennial career expert Jill Jacinto. “The not knowing is frustrating—and similar to dating, you’re left asking yourself, are they at all into you?” But unlike in dating, you can get the answer to this perplexing question post-interview—and even better, you can take steps to prevent being ghosted in the first place, our career experts say. Here’s how to deal.
1. Get info before you go.
Before you leave the interview, ask the hiring manager if he or she has any concerns about moving you to the next step, suggests career coach Hallie Crawford. After all, once you leave, you may not have the chance to assuage his or her concerns. “Maybe a story wasn’t clear, he or she doesn’t think you qualify in a certain aspect, or they don’t think you have the necessary experience,” she says. By asking if they have questions of concerns now, you’ll have “the opportunity to clear up any doubts and prevent them from ghosting you,” Crawford points out.
You also shouldn’t leave the interview without knowing what those next steps might be, and who the point person will be for contact moving forward, says Jacinto. “This will ensure you know their process and what to expect,” she says. “You’ll also have the name and the number of the person who you should talk to after the interview.”
2. Send a thank-you card.
The first thing you should do after an interview, according to Crawford, is send a thank-you card. While a handwritten note or heartfelt email won’t guarantee you’ll receive a callback, the gesture increases the chances you’ll get one—a lot. As Crawford explains, writing a thank-you card “opens the door to further communication with the hiring manager,” and leaves a good last impression.
3. Take the initiative and follow up.
“If the [hiring manager] seems to have vanished into thin air, don’t give up quite yet,” encourages Crawford. Instead, “get in contact with them. If they don’t email you back, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call them directly.” That may be a bold move—and one you wouldn’t make if someone ghosted you after a date—but it’s totally reasonable in the workplace. “The manager may just be so busy they haven’t had time to respond to an email but they would be willing to speak with you on the phone,” Crawford explains.
When you follow up, “be persistent without being a pest,” instructs Jacinto. “Check in with your interview coordinator once a week and check offering new information the hiring manager might want to learn about you.” That means, don’t call or email empty-handed, so to speak. If you’re reaching to check on the job’s status, be sure to give the hiring manager a reason to reconsider you, in case he or she has moved on. Send new additions to your portfolio, updating writing samples, new designs, and so on, suggests Jacinto. Just, “try to keep up the flow of conversation,” Jacinto says.