How can I avoid being ghosted by a recruiter when job hunting?

Ghosting in the workplace is on the rise. Elaine Varelas guides on best practices when working with a recruiter to hopefully avoid this.

Q: Job hunting is already stressful, but it is extremely frustrating when I’ve been ghosted by a recruiter for a job that I’m really interested in. This has happened several times. A recruiter contacts me about a job and says they want to schedule an interview and then nothing. Or worse, I have an interview, then radio silence. What’s the best way to handle this when it occurs?

A: Both sides of the equation, job seekers and recruiters are frustrated by “ghosting”. Examples of ghosting in the workplace and in job settings may include: when a job applicant stops responding to a hiring manager or recruiter; when a candidate accepts an offer and never show ups; or when a recruiter stops responding to your email messages, ignores your phone calls, and you never hear back from them. Job hunters are ghosted by recruiters and recruiters are ghosted by candidates when they have invested time and energy. This is just inexcusable behavior on both sides.

Ghosting is an extreme example of bad professional etiquette, and it is increasing. As a job seeker, the level of energy that you have committed to a recruiter or to an organization is the same level of energy they should reciprocate with. If you have sent a company your resume, expect nothing back. A recruiter and an organization don’t owe you a response if you don’t fit the qualifications for that role. If you have interviewed with anyone, whether it was via Zoom or in person, it is reasonable to expect a response from that recruiter with feedback from that interview and information on next steps. Recruiters should commit to that.

If you are working with a recruiter within a company, they have the freedom and flexibility to schedule a time to meet without needing a manager to approve that interview. If you are working with a recruiting agency, the recruiter may say they want to schedule an interview with you, but they may have to get approval from the company that they want to see you.

Ensure that you know what type of recruiter that you are working with and whether it’s a decision that they will make themselves or whether someone else will need to approve your resume to move forward. In addition, be sure that you know what the timeline is for everything. If a recruiter says that they want to schedule an interview, ask them when they anticipate that happening. It’s perfectly okay to ask them, “If I don’t hear from you, when should I call you? “

It’s important to be an active participant in this process. Be sure to let recruiters know that you are interested in the position and that you are a professional and that is the kind of communication you expect in return. You can do that without being obnoxious because that will not get you anywhere. When contacting a recruiter when they haven’t followed up with you in a while, be sure to maintain your professionalism. You might say to them, at the end of our last conversation, we agreed that I’d move ahead to interview for the job. I’m very interested in that and would appreciate knowing if that is the case or not.

Make it easy for the recruiter to get back to you. If it’s a no, they are uncomfortable and they may not see the value in providing that answer to you since silence is often seen as a no. If there is a delay in the hiring process, recruiters may also not want to get back to you thinking that they will have an answer for you soon. Another possible reason for not hearing back is that the company decided to not hire anyone for that role. In your email communications to recruiters, ask them to please let you know if there has been a delay in the hiring process. It’s not unreasonable to ask them that you would appreciate knowing the status regardless of what it is. We need to encourage recruiters to make sure that this interaction remains a conversation. And both sides need to recognize that this is only one opportunity. There may be many more opportunities to work in both careers, only if each person is seen as a valued professional.