why haven’t I heard back after my interview?

You had a great job interview, seemed to connect with your interviewer, and left feeling good about your chances. The employer told you to expect to hear something in a week … but now two weeks have gone by and you’ve heard nothing. Should you reach back out? Is the silence a bad sign? And for the love of god, why are they putting you through this?

If there’s one experience nearly every job seeker has, it’s this one. Even employers who provide candidates with very precise timeline for when they plan to be in touch (“we will reach out to all applicants no later than the 15th”) often miss their promised deadlines – sometimes by a lot – without bothering to update you. And some employers never get back to candidates at all, instead just full-on ghosting them even after multiple rounds of interviews. This, of course, leaves candidates frantically checking their missed calls and wondering if they’re still in consideration, or if no one bothered to tell them they’ve been rejected.

Why do employers leave candidates hanging?

An awful lot of employers simply don’t bother to contact candidates until they have something definite to say, even when they’re well past the timeline they told you to expect. That’s not a great practice, of course — ideally they’d write back to say, for example, “Things are taking longer than we expected but I should be in touch in another week or two.” But realistically, hiring managers are busy and often pulled in a bunch of directions, and hiring can end up lower on their list than work projects with pressing deadlines now. (Since this is a common point of confusion: “hiring manager” means the person who will be managing you once you’re hired, not the person who’s in charge of all the organization’s hiring. So they often have other, higher priorities.)

Plus, you never know what’s going on behind-the-scenes. Maybe the hiring manager is out sick, or unexpectedly had to go out of town. Maybe a last-minute candidate emerged and they need time to interview them. Maybe the CEO announced at the last minute that she wants to sign off on the final hire, and they’re debating whether to bring people back in for final interviews. Maybe a key person on the team resigned and now they’re thinking about reconfiguring the role. Maybe they’ve had a project explode spectacularly and that’s all anyone over there is dealing with right now. Who knows. It’s really impossible to tell from the outside what might be going on that could massively mess with their hiring plans or hiring timeline.

A job is never a sure thing.

For candidates, this means that no matter how well your interview went, you should always avoid the trap of thinking a job is a lock, because hiring is never a sure thing. You can be a stunningly perfect candidate for the job, and then another candidate can come along who’s even stronger. Or you can be perfect but they decide at the last minute that they really need to go with someone who speaks Flemish. Or an internal candidate expresses interest and they value a known quantity over an unknown quantity. That’s just how this goes.

OK, but what’s up with ghosting?

It’s one thing to take a little longer than planned to get back to people, or to have to reject someone who thought they’d nearly clinched the job. But it’s another thing to just never get back to people at all — and it’s irritatingly common.

Employers who ghost candidates defend themselves by saying that they don’t have the time to get back to every applicant, but that’s pretty ludicrous in the days of electronic applicant management systems, which will send rejections with the click of a few buttons. (It was also a pretty ludicrous claim before those systems.) It’s incredibly rude and inconsiderate not to get back to people after interviews, particularly after someone has taken time off work, maybe bought a new suit or traveled a long distance, and invested time and energy into preparing for the interview. But it’s really, really common, so if you haven’t heard back for a long time after your interview, it’s always possible that’s happening.

So what are you supposed to do in the face of silence?

The frustrating thing is that you can’t know for sure what’s going on. Maybe you’re being ghosted and will never hear from this employer again, or maybe you’re going to hear back this week, or maybe you’re going to hear back in two months, long after you’ve given up hope. The most important thing to remember is that if they want to offer you a job, they’ll be in touch. If you’re their top candidate, they’re not going to forget about you over the next few weeks, or even over the next few months, just because you don’t keep checking in. So you don’t need to worry that you need to keep nudging them or find ways to stay on their radar. If at some point they want to move forward, they’ll let you know.

It’s fine to check in once when you’re past the point when you would have expected to hear something. Wait about a week past their stated timeline and then send an email saying something like, “I’m still very interested and wondered if you had an update on your timeline for next steps that you could share with me.”

But beyond that, there’s not a lot of use in continually nudging them or finding ways to stay on their radar. If at some point they want to move forward, they’ll let you know.

Meanwhile, though, the best thing you can do for your own peace of mind is to assume you didn’t get the job and move on. Otherwise you’ll be stuck in this angst-filled limbo, wondering if you’re going to hear from them today, or maybe tomorrow, or what all this silence means, and did you offend someone in the interview, or maybe your skills aren’t as impressive as you thought they were, and agggghhhh. It’s so much simpler to just decide that you didn’t get the job and put it out of your head. Then, if they do contact you at some point, it can be a pleasant surprise, rather than the thing that you have been pinning all your anxious energies on.

Originally published at New York Magazine.

{ 138 comments… read them below }

  1. Julie*

    I once had two interviews for a position at a local hospital. The hiring person left me a voicemail shortly after responding to my thank you note and how everything went great. She said she would let me know shortly. This was in September.

    Before the holidays in December, she said they were waiting until after the new year to make a decision (I had already moved on way earlier at this point).

    She finally got back to me mid January and left me a very anxious voicemail about how it had been between me and someone else, and then gave me the several generic reasons why they went with someone else. She reassured me I was great at what I did, etc etc.

    I figured at the end of September that they would have moved forward if they wanted me. Four months is kind of ridiculous and I’m glad I didn’t hang on.

    1. Triplestep*

      Whenever this subject comes up, at least one recruiter will post to say she does not have time to get back to all applicants. So let me preemptively say this:

      No one as asking you to get back to all applicants. You are being asked to get back to people who have had further contact with you, whether it was a phone screen, an interview, or multiple interviews. By saying you do not have time to get back to all applicants, you are minimizing the actual problem. People are preparing for and showing up to interview(s) which involves both time and emotional investment. (Not to mention logistical gymnastics if the candidate is currently employed.) There is no excuse for ghosting. None.

      1. Exhausted Trope*

        Thank you! No time is a ludicrous load of BS.
        FWIIW, I used to work in recruiting and my company got back to EVERY rejected applicant with a hand addressed card. I used to write them.
        In this electronic world, there is literally no excuse to ghost applicants.

        1. June*

          I once typed out on an electric typewriter rejection letters to every person that send in a resume. There were easily 300. *shrug* I can’t see that it’s that hard to send emails.

      2. Former Child*

        You never know you were second choice. After I took a job I got a call one night from another one saying the person they’d hired didn’t work out and offering it to me.
        And the next night, another one did the same! Neither got back to me after the interview and I had NO CLUE I was in the running.
        You don’t know.
        But your good jobs usually go smoothly and feel right, don’t they? The one I took did.

      3. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        Normally, the claim is that so many apply that the recruiter can’t even consider them all, let alone reject them.

        1. Lenora Rose*

          Still isn’t relevant once you’re talking about people who got as far as an interview, or second interview — and THAT is where people usually complain. I don’t care if I get no notice about a job where I didn’t even get called for an interview. I assume I’m one of a hundred-plus and leave it at that. But if it’s between me and 10 people, that’s manageable with a form letter, and one of the final two or three, you can definitely call.

      4. BRR*

        All of this. At the high end you’re doing a phone screen for what, 15 candidates (and usually a lot less). You can copy/paste a generic “thank you for your time but we’ve decided to pursue other candidates” message in 15 emails and add their names. If you don’t have the time to do that, that’s a you problem but that doesn’t take the long.

        1. June*

          Also, most recruiters have assistants. I mean even the receptionist could do something like this. Set up an hr email and give them access.

          1. rachel in nyc*

            If you use gmail as your email server, a basic add on will let you send a mail-merged “thank you for applying” email that will take 2 minutes to send once you have the basic form.

            and would probably be free if you are sending less than 100/day.

            1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

              This is also quite easy to do with a combination of Excel, MS Word, and Outlook if you’re a Microsoft-based office rather than a Google-based office. (Once I realized that Word could now do mail merged emails as well as printed documents, it simplified so many annoying tasks for me. I was already a heavy user of mail merge for printed documents before that, though, so it was a minimal learning curve for me to also send emails that way.) All you’d need would be a Word document with your form email and to keep a spreadsheet of your candidates, then copy the newly rejected ones at each stage to their own tab in the spreadsheet and use that tab for your merge that time.

      5. Rayray*

        Exactly! I don’t need a personal response for every application I submit but if I have interviewed with you, completed an assessment, or did one of those ridiculous hirevue “interviews” then I have given this position some extra time and attention and I deserve some communication so I know what’s going on in the process.

      6. June*

        Exactly. You have time you just don’t chose to prioritize it. And it’s incredibly rude to applicants.

        1. Rayray*

          Recruiting is one of the few jobs where it somehow becomes acceptable to whine that they don’t have time to do their job efficiently and actually get away with it. If I left clients hanging and didn’t communicate, I would certainly be reprimanded.

          1. Triplestep*

            I told both my adult children to become in-house recruiters for large employers because you didn’t need experience, would get on-the-job training, and could get away with things no other job would allow. (Neither followed my advice, but both now see why I said this.)

      7. ecnaseener*

        Yep. Once you’ve had an actual conversation with someone, you gotta close the loop.

      8. Deejay*

        The ones I get annoyed with are the ones who specifically say “We will be in touch regardless of the result”, followed by silence.

        Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you’re not going to reply to everyone, give them the “If you haven’t heard in two weeks (or whatever) you can assume you have been unsuccessful” line.

  2. SweetestCin*

    One extremely poor experience with this type of situation.

    “We will call you by the 21st to update you on the status of a job offer” as apparently there was an entity that had to sign off on it.

    21st went by
    28th went by
    The fifteenth of the next month went by
    Multiple voicemails and emails were ignored in this timeframe.
    On the seventeenth of the next month, I had a phone screen and request for an interview on the 20th.
    On the 20th I was hired on the spot by a different company.
    Started work on the 1st.
    On the FIFTEENTH of that month (two months later, if we’re keeping track) I got a phone call saying they had approval to hire me.

    The lack of clarity and lack of communications were not just limited to the hiring practices, come to find out. Dodged something there.

    1. pretzelgirl*

      They obliviously missed the boat on hiring you. I can’t imagine on how many more applicants they are missing out on this way. It makes no sense.

  3. MishenNikara*

    Working and applying for new jobs in lowly retail and customer service I get ghosted 90%+ of the time. I’ve actually just hit a point where if I hear “We will get back with you/everyone in X days” I assume I don’t have it. That’s how bad it is. Just send me an automated rejection e-mail. Do it the second I leave the place for all I care. I just want some sort of response.

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*


      We get ghosted because ghosting requires no effort and there’s no consequence to the employer for doing it.

    2. HigherEdAdminista*

      When I was looking for my first job, I had a phone interview for a clothing store. It was definitely a highly structured interview, likely one handed down from corporate or from some company they contracted to design interviews. The interview itself was at 2:00 and ended by 3:00.

      The very next day I received a postcard rejection in the mail. While it was better in some ways than being ghosted, the idea that this guy hung up the phone and basically sprinted to the post office box to make the final collection time (which is almost always somewhere around 3:00pm where I live) was kind of hurtful. It felt like he thought I was so bad, even a second of delay before rejecting me was too long!

    3. Caboose*

      Heck, I’m in software and the same thing happens to me!
      Of course, since it’s so frequent, I wound up missing out on what could’ve been a decent job, because I just assumed when they took forever to get back to me that I was out of the running. Whoops.

    4. Drago Cucina*

      I hate this. I would send notices that a position was filled to everyone who applied for a part-time library aide position. It’s not hard to send an email.

  4. Nicotena*

    From the hiring side, one thing that makes it difficult is that an update with no news is generally not considered very helpful (although in reality it may be, if an applicant thinks they might have already been rejected). Particularly if you think any day that you will hear back from some higher-up about the next step, and then you write a more substantive email, it’s quite hard to send the “no updates, uncertain timeline” email. Plus, applicants will often respond wheedling for more info, re-stating their case for employment, or requesting a faster response (understandable, but still a PITA).

    1. I should really pick a name*

      Being ghosted by a potential employer is more of a PITA then having a few applicants pester you.

    2. mediamaven*

      And it honestly goes both ways. I have been ghosted by countless applicants this year. People who apply and then don’t even bother to respond when I try to set up an interview. Or who legit don’t show up for the interview.

      1. LTL*

        While not responding to an initial interview request is unprofessional, it’s not comparable. The equivalent to an employer ghosting an applicant after an interview is an applicant doing the same thing. Which is much more aggravating and extremely rare from the applicant’s side.

        1. Triplestep*

          Not comparable is right! @mediamaven, if someone invests themselves and prepares for a job interview, then shows up to a job interview (which might involve a commute, using up an excuse to be away from your actual job, adjusting your family commitments thereby impacting family-members) and then never hears from the prospective employer … THAT is being ghosted. Not hearing from an applicant who was previously interested? That is one of your job’s annoyances. Characterizing these two things as the same is frankly part of the problem because it attempts to minimize how inexcusably callous it is to ghost a candidate.

        2. Your Local Password Resetter*

          Agreed, although not showing up for an interviewing is much more comparable.

    3. boo bot*

      I actually don’t think that an update with no news is unhelpful to someone applying for the job. Basically, people are looking for three types of information: (a) you got the job/you’re moving on to the next stage, (b) you’ve been rejected, or (c) you’re still in the running. So, “no updates, uncertain timeline” isn’t really no news, it’s information type (c).

      If I don’t hear anything from a job, I’m assuming I’ve been rejected. So, if there are people you really might want to hire, there’s value to keeping in touch.

      1. Nicotena*

        Absolutely, the fallacy is just that if you wait even just a day, you’ll have even more valuable information to share, such as that the boss has approved the hiring of someone else now. I don’t think i expressed this well above – wasn’t trying to justify ghosting entirely.

  5. Cobol*

    I don’t expect much when applying. I’m actually one who would prefer not to get a rejection for just an application, and no phone call rejections ever. However, I will completely write off a company that ghosts me after I conduct an interview with an actual hiring manager. There’s no way that doesn’t translate into how the company runs.

    1. Elle Woods*

      I don’t mind getting the rejection emails or phone calls. Like you, however, I do write off companies that ghost me after interviewing with the actual hiring manager.

      1. Cobol*

        I don’t mind either, and think it indicates at best a thoughtful organization, and at worst one that at least is striving to not have loose ends.

    2. Anonym*

      At a minimum it likely has some correlates with the hiring manager’s management approach.

  6. I'm that guy*

    About 15 years ago I interviewed with a company where the hiring manager told me flat out, “No news is bad news.” In other words we won’t reject you, we’ll just ghost you. He told me this after every interview, because he didn’t want me to call if I didn’t hear back from him. (He told me that too) I went through multiple rounds of interviews: phone interview with hiring manager, in person interview with hiring manager, in person interview with hiring manager’s manager, and finally, the last interview with the team I would be working with.

    I was told the team interview was just a formality.

    And then crickets. At least he was truthful about no news being bad news.

    That sucked. I hope that they went out of business.

    1. Former Child*

      So, if he offers you the job and you ghost him w/no answer, is he fine with that?

      I think NOT!

      1. I'm that guy*

        It’s always do as I say not as I do. I remember a time where I was a temp working on four month job to review a backlog of paperwork that had been submitted by their subcontractors. The previous temp in the position had quit via the temp agency and on my first day the boss at the company called me in and said, the he had been in the Marines and in the Marines you are honorable and truthful and if I was going to leave he wanted me to tell it to his face instead of going behind his back and having the temp agency do it for me.

        Well…. on a Friday about three months in I finished going through a pile of papers and went in to ask him for the next pile. Apparently I was much faster than they thought I would be and I had finished the four month job in three months. The boss signed my timecard for the week and said that he’d see me on Monday.

        You can see where this is going.

        Shortly after I got home there was a call from the temp agency saying that I because I had finished the jog early I was being let go. Mr. I’m an honorable Marine so tell me to my face had lied to my face and gone to them temp agency and had them fire me because he was too cowardly to do so.

        1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

          I would be sorely tempted to write a note along the lines of:

          “After being fired through the temp agency rather than to my face, I want to thank you for showing me much you, a former Marine, hold yourself to the same standards of honor and truth as you hold others.”

    2. AFT*

      I think this is very true. I have not had any job offers when the employer has left me hanging – IME, if they want to hire you, you will hear from them frequently and regularly. So if it’s been a week and I haven’t heard anything, I usually move on.

  7. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

    This is why I prefer going through a recruiter. I got feedback (negative, but still) from a recruiter within 1-2 days of the interview 100% of the time. I got ghosted when not going through a recruiter 100% of the time.

    The article reminded me of how, back when I was young and extremely marketable, I started a job search and sent my resume to two places – one that I found through a friend who’d heard of it from his recruiter and didn’t want it, and the other, a frenemy weirdly called me and said her team had an opening and she very much wanted to bring me in. (This from someone who’d apparently said it behind my back a year earlier, that she could never be my reference, because that’d be a stain on her reputation.) I really needed to get out of the workplace I was in then, and said yes to both. Had a phone screen with company 1, then an in-person interview, accepted an offer, went through the background check and the drug test, gave notice… On my literal last day at my old job, I got an email from company 2, first time I heard from them in the four or six weeks since I’d sent my resume in. “We have decided we would like to schedule an interview.” Sorry. You snooze, you lose. (Probably for the better, I didn’t really feel like working with Frenemy.)

    1. PT*

      Well not everyone can be “extremely marketable” as you say.

      The vast majority of the workforce isn’t.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        Neither am I, now. That’s a strange takeaway from a comment about a company that was so slow, I assumed they weren’t proceeding with me and went with somebody else.

        They would’ve probably ghosted me after that interview anyway. Or gotten back to me 15 years later about having finally decided they wanted a second interview.

      2. Melody Maker*

        Alot of it has to do with being young. I also was extremely marketable when in my early 20’s and 30’s, it took just a few days to get hired and it was great. Now that I am older with more experience, I can go quite a long time before the doors open and I get hired into a good position. Age is an important factor, more so than experience.

    2. The New Wanderer*

      I had a similar situation. The first company I interviewed with sent me an offer about a month after the interview. Just before I received that offer, I interviewed with the second company which sent me an offer within the week and I had about a week to respond/negotiate. I was leaning hard toward the first company’s offer so I followed up with questions about relocating and got no response, none. They had previously been pretty responsive so it was surprising.

      I ended up accepting the second offer and sent an email declining the first offer. A month later, I finally got a response from the first company that they were vexed I had declined the offer. But, with no information to go on, I wasn’t going to hold out indefinitely when I had a very good offer in hand somewhere else.

    3. Lady Catherine de Bourgh*

      I’ve gotten ghosted by recruiters before, so that doesn’t always work.

      I had one recruiter ghost me after I went on multiple interviews for his client. Then 8 months later he suddenly was sending me jobs he wanted me to interview for again. Nope.

  8. Jake*

    Quick question for you all? When’s it ok to say thanks but no thanks to a company before a final offer is received?

    I’m going through a situation where I’ve been told I have an offer coming for the past three months. I always get this “one more week” and one more week goes by and silence and then it’s a “so and so” had to approve.

    At first I was really intrigued by the opportunity, aced the interview, and got a verbal offer the next day. But now months later, I’m having major doubts about how this company is run if they are so disorganized (or hamstrung by red tape). They’re just stringing me along and I’m getting to the point where I’m ready to say thanks but it’s time to move on.

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      I don’t think you can do that preemptively; I think you wait for the next correspondence and drop out of the running at that point.

      1. KayDeeAye*

        No, I disagree. You can drop out at any time, so long as you’re polite about it. I mean, I wouldn’t say “Your goofiness has soured me on your company, so thanks but no thanks.” But so long as you’re completely sure you don’t want the job, you can just send an email saying, “Thanks so much for your consideration, but I’ve decided to pursue other opportunities. Good luck in your search!” Or you could call, too, though I’d only recommend that if you can talk to someone directly – I don’t think this is a good thing to communicate via voice mail.

        It’s a kindness, really, because if they need to start looking at new candidates (or reevaluating previous candidates), the sooner they can get started, the better.

      2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        Why not? You’d be saving them time if you let them know as soon as you realize you want to pull out.

    2. Former Child*

      As AG often says, you have to just forget it and let it be a nice surprise if they offer.

      And if they make a great offer and act pulled together, you can consider it. But if they keep acting flighty and messy, you don’t have to care much.

      The only reason I wouldn’t tell them to forget it now is that you don’t know who’s the roadblock or what might be going on.

    3. Richard Hershberger*

      When is it OK? Any time. But why? If your attitude moves from “major doubts” to “Heck, no!” then use, I guess. But at the “major doubts” stage they might make you an offer you can’t refuse. Don’t contact them. If and when they get things sorted out, you can decide what to do.

    4. Zephy*

      If they came through with the written offer this afternoon, would you take it? Because it sounds like you’re pretty over it at this point.

      If you wouldn’t take it if the email came through right now, go ahead and reach out to your contact and let them know you’re no longer interested.

    5. BRR*

      If you’re 100% sure you wouldn’t accept an offer you can reach out at any time and thank them for their time but you’ve decided to pursue another option and are withdrawing your candidacy. Otherwise I would just ignore their messages and you can take a look at the offer, ask any questions you have, and always decline it.

  9. FearNot*

    I am not allowed to update candidates on the status of a search until the background check is finalized and the chosen candidate shows up (this takes MONTHS). I work in state government and am told it is policy. I just have to say “The search is in progress!” if they call, even though we chose our person weeks ago. It’s horrible.

      1. The Dude Abides*

        From experience, it’s because they will go down the line with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th choices before re-posting the job.

        The post I have now, I applied back in September, did not get my grade until January (had to go back and forth over wording because reasons), interviewed in mid-March, and three weeks later got the offer.

    1. Bofa on the Sofa*

      Wow, I’m lucky that wasn’t my state’s policy. I hadn’t heard back for a long time but had another interview coming up, so I called HR to ask and she very kindly told me they chose 4 candidates to interview & I wasn’t chosen for an interview. It was nice to know that going into my next interview. She was very kind and encouraged me to apply again in the future.
      I believe I got a rejection e-mail 2 or 3 months after I applied. Overall, I appreciate how it was handled.

  10. BRR*

    One of the best things I’ve learned from AAM is “assume you didn’t get the job and move on mentally.” However it took me reading that answer to numerous letters before it really sank in. Going in with the assumption that you won’t hear back at all has made job hunting much easier emotionally. And if that’s something that seems to far of a reach, because it can require a huge shift in thinking, assuming they will miss the date “they will for sure get back to you by” might be easier to do mentally/emotionally since there are so many possibilities for that.

    1. C.*

      I feel the same way. I’m currently “waiting” to hear back from an interview, but I’m also not at all emotionally invested in the process. If it works out in my favor, great. If it doesn’t, I’m totally fine. Alison’s advice + being in the professional world for a while now has allowed me to recalibrate my attitude toward work. Now, I can’t really point anymore to an actual “dream job” I would be devastated by if I didn’t get.

  11. Perstephanie*

    My record was when I got a rejection letter *a year and a half* after my interview. “Thank you for your blah-blah, however, we have decided to hire a different candidate.” Um, yes, I kind of figured that eighteen months later. They really could’ve saved the stamp.

    1. FFT*

      Hah I got one of those once too, about 15 years ago. It was for a final interview with our provincial government and by the time I got the rejection notice via snail mail, I had to think which job it was since I’d interviewed at several provincial departments lol

    2. Coffee au Lait.*

      I applied for an internal job I really wanted. I cried for two days when I received my rejection email.

      On the application portal the status still says “Active.” NO, NO IT IS NOT.

    3. KH*

      I got a great one recently when I applied for a job and learned during the interview that it was likely to require a 55% pay cut. It wasn’t certain, though — the interviewer was very cagy about comp, first saying she wasn’t “allowed” to tell me anything about pay but then giving me a (very low) range anyway but then saying she wasn’t sure what the final budget would be. The interview had gone really well up until that point; I had a lot of really niche experience that they were looking to find, and she seemed really excited about me, but a pay cut anywhere near that magnitude was just a non-starter for me.

      I said it sounded like we were too far apart on compensation for it to make sense to move forward in the process, but since she wasn’t positive about the range, that I’d love to hear from her if it turned out that anything changed and they were able to get closer to my range (mostly just being polite). I didn’t hear anything, which was what I expected, until about a month and a half later, when I got a personal email from my interviewer telling me that while she enjoyed our conversation, she regretted to tell me that “after careful consideration” I had “not been selected.” My first reaction was, wait, didn’t I already reject YOU when I found out you pay wildly under-market? Definitely a case where I would’ve been fine being ghosted!

    4. LifeBeforeCorona*

      I interviewed for a job, they liked me and would let me know. The next week I found out I was pregnant so I didn’t bother pursuing it. I was nursing my daughter and got a call offering me the job. Too late!

  12. AnonPi*

    I had one I applied for and it was 6 months before they called me for an interview. I figured they’d ghosted me. They said there had been delays in getting confirmation from management that they could go through with hiring.

    Problem was by that point I didn’t remember what the job was for (it had a generic job title) so had to contact HR for a job description. Still didn’t get the job because the person hiring already knew she was hiring her friend, so I wasted a half day doing interviews for a job I was never going to get.

  13. Spreadsheet Enthusiast*

    I recently had a short interview where they said they expected another round or two of interviews in the coming weeks. By 9AM the next day I had an email asking for a longer interview for the following day. Within a week of that second interview they asked for references. And I haven’t heard a peep from them since (and neither have the references I sent them).

    Three months after that experience, I was asked to interview by a different team in the same organization. Within a week I had interviewed, provided references, and heard from references that they were contacted and provided glowing reviews. I haven’t heard anything from the org since. Thankfully before going on radio silence the hiring manager said that HR can take weeks to months to actually extend the offer, but that only shrinks the ball of anxiety in my gut so much!

  14. OhMy*

    I got offered a job once, and THEN never heard again. I’ve been burned enough that I didn’t make plans until a start date and paperwork were done, but still… actually thinking about it, this may have happened twice.

    1. Former Child*

      Getting hired smoothly doesn’t guarantee it’ll be a good job for you, but getting jerked around and ghosted and run over by their car is usually not a good sign if you do end up getting hired.

      My great jobs have come more easily. Some stinkers have been easy but I kinda knew it and needed the work.

      1. OhMy*

        Yeah, I wasn’t totally surprised, but I needed a job at the time. Things have worked out though :)

  15. Kiki's Grandma*

    “Plus, you never know what’s going on behind-the-scenes. ”
    This. I interviewed with a prominent U.S. financial services organization in early 2007. The pay and benefits were great and my skills were spot-on for the job. The interview went great. I was even introduced to potential co-workers, given a short tour of the unit’s office space, and provided with other information (like no internal candidate) that led me to think that I was the top candidate. The interview was on Tuesday, I think, and I was told that a decision would be made by Friday since the position needed to be filled. Friday came and went. A week later I e-mailed them with a message similar to the one Allison suggested. Crickets. I never heard anything from them ever and shortly after accepted another position.
    Fast forward more than two years with the recessions was in full swing when I read something that revealed what happened and why I never heard a peep from them. It seems that the organization was the “canary in the coal mine” for the failures in mortgage lending practices and regulators began to close in just before my interview. Their business would be undergoing substantial scrutiny and I surmise that a hire freeze was implemented. (Large layoffs came a year later.) At the time, none of this trouble could be public knowledge so the organization could not give any inkling of it, lest it lead to worse trouble. From their standpoint, ghosting candidates was better than making excuses.

    1. I'm that guy*

      And your being ghosted probably worked out way better for you than being hired and then laid off the next year.

      1. Kiki's Grandma*

        Right you are. When the recession was at its worst and the stock market diving lower by the day (and my 401(k) had become a 201(k)), every afternoons after work I would hear the financial news while driving home and think that I was lucky that I was not hired by the other place. I had a job, kept investing in my 401(k), and made out well when the market rebounded.

  16. Heffalump*

    I once interviewed at a small sole-proprietor business. The owner told me that he would call the successful candidate on a certain day, and if I didn’t hear from him by then, I should assume that I wasn’t it. I was sorry not to be hired, but I appreciated not being jerked around.

    1. Former Child*

      At least now we have cellphones. The days of “answering machines” or just a landline were tough.

  17. PT*

    I worked somewhere that sent out a form letter “Your qualifications were not a match” as the default auto-rejection from the ADP applicant/employee tracking system they used, when they closed out the job requisition.

    However in this particular case, I’d been serving as an interim and had applied for the full time job but the full-time job had been given to a less-qualified man, who then dumped most of his job on me while he spent all day watching YouTube videos for the next half-year, and then was promptly fired within a month of my leaving because without me doing his job for him, it did not get done.

    So perhaps a more tactful wording would have been helpful.

    1. Rayray*

      I agree here. I don’t expect personalized responses but it really chaps my hide when I only submit an application but when I Match the qualifications per the posted job description and get a BS copy/paste email from donotreply that my qualifications don’t match. It goes to show that the ATS failed at interpreting my resume or that they’re too lazy to come up with a better rejection email.

      To that point though, in my unemployment last year I got pretty good at figuring out how to work with the ATS.

      1. PT*

        I’d be happy with “This position is now filled” or “This posting is now closed.” That way it’s not saying anything about the candidate, it’s making a statement about the job.

  18. pretzelgirl*

    I truly don’t understand why people do this. People take time out of the their for interviews. In pre or post pandemic times this may include taking off work, driving to the interview site, interviewing and returning home or to work. It often entails taking a day or half day off work. At least have the courtesy of sending a rejection email!

    1. Esmeralda*

      Academia is its own beast, but, we can have chosen our top candidate — then HR has to bless it and WE CANNOT SAY ANYTHING TO ANYONE about it until it is blessed. (We wised up a couple years ago and do the HR hoohah needed to call references before making an offer, because that was adding another layer of delay)

      Then we contact the candidate and make the offer and WE CANNOT SAY ANYTHING TO ANYONE until the candidate says yes or no.

      And we learned from experience that we don’t reject anyone until the paperwork is signed by the candidate who accepted the offer.

      So that can be a lot of time before we can say anything to anyone, depending on how expeditious HR is = has our search been assigned to a mediocre HR specialist, or to an organized and on the ball HR specialist. If we’ve gotten permission to hire during a hiring freeze, add more time because that’s it’s own special corner of hell (although we are grateful to Satan for giving us the line).

  19. ThatGirl*

    I’ve had two wildly different experiences with hearing back at two jobs I ultimately got offered.

    Job 1 took awhile to get back to me, even though I had a networking in there (in HR even). I learned later they’re just slow to hire in general. I had the phone screen, then waited a week to get the call about the in-person interview, then nothing for awhile… well, the company was moving buildings so some of it was understandable. Then I was told the hiring manager no longer worked there (!!) but they had a new hiring manager who I’d also interviewed with … and then I waited more… the whole process took about three months, I think? and it only seemed to be getting another offer that spurred them to hurry up a bit.

    Job 2 on the other hand, I applied on a Friday around noon and got a call to schedule a phone interview an hour later. I had the initial phone screen the following week, then the week after that a bunch of of Zoom interviews (this was all last year) and I got the offer four weeks to the DAY after I’d been laid off, and 26 days after I applied. It was kind of astonishing, actually.

  20. fluffy*

    When I was nearly finishing up grad school I had a long, protracted interview process with a research lab that was affiliated with the university. They kept on saying they’d get back to me about the job but kept on dragging their feet, and then stopped responding altogether. Meanwhile, being a now-graduated grad student I really needed an income and was getting more and more desperate to hear back about this job.

    Eventually I had to give up on it and move back in with my parents hundreds of miles away while looking for other jobs, the literal definition of “moving on.”

    It was less than a week after that when they contacted me saying I’d been hired and when could I start?

    1. Kimmy Schmidt*

      Academia is notorious for losing great candidates because the process takes five-ever and a day. It’s one of my least favorite things about higher ed.

  21. KH*

    I’ve been ghosted twice in the last month and am so fascinated by it! Both times, I had great conversations with internal recruiters (at different companies in vastly different industries), who were both enthusiastic about me and asked me to provide availability to interview with members of the team. I sent a number of windows, offered to be flexible if none worked, and reiterated my interest in the job/company (my standard response in cases like this), and then … crickets! When my availability windows all came and went with no response, I sent a polite follow-up to check if they were still interested in having me meet with the team and an offer to provide new availability. And still nothing! I’d never had anything like this happen before, so to have two experiences in such quick succession was a little galling. It was great timing to read this!

    1. Skippy*

      I had a similar experience recently. I had a message from an HR rep about doing a call on a Wednesday afternoon at 2:00, and I responded that yes, that would work, and here’s my number. The interview time came and went with no call, but then that evening the HR person emailed again to see if I could talk on Thursday afternoon, also at 2:00. I had an appointment at that time, so I couldn’t make it work, but I responded that I was available anytime on Friday or the next week.

      The next day I got an automated rejection from their ATS. Whatever.

  22. Glomarization, Esq.*

    Has anybody else simply lowered their expectations to the point where they don’t care one way or another whether they hear back after an interview? Or is it just me? I honestly don’t care if I never hear back after an interview any more. I don’t take it personally, and I don’t think it means I’ve “dodged a bullet” when an interviewer fails to call me back. I don’t think it signifies anything at all about that workplace or its HR department; it just is what it is. I keep my job search 100% active until I have an offer in hand.

    1. Anonym*

      I’m pretty much there. My take is that I can’t actually be 100% certain whether a job will be great or not before doing it, so if it doesn’t work out, I have no idea if I missed out on something great, something meh or something outright unpleasant. It actually relieves some of my “is this the right path for me” anxiety when I don’t hear back!

      And yes, it’s so very not personal. If I don’t make someone’s top 3, no hard feelings. I just don’t want a bad match.

    2. BRR*

      I’m basically at the same point. I care a little bit if I’ve come in for an interview and I’ll have a small thought of “hmm that’s rude.” But I’m not an anxious mess while waiting to hear, I’m not crushed if they don’t get back to me by the day they said they would, etc. And like you, I don’t think I’ve dodged a bullet, although I might be less enthusiastic to apply there in the future.

  23. SheLooksFamiliar*

    I was in corporate recruiting for decades, and wish recruiters would do a few things differently.

    First, understand that applicants deserve a status update, too. Use your ATS to message applicants as you decline them, either individually or by batch. If your company didn’t purchase that function – some don’t – at least put a message on the job posting, saying only applicants you’re going to interview will hear back from you. Even that is better than nothing.

    Next, stop telling candidates you’ll have a decision ‘by the end of the week at the latest’ or any specific time frame if you don’t own the decision. Hiring managers often can’t, don’t, or won’t make a decision on a certain date, and you’re not helping the process by making promises you really hope someone else will keep. However…

    Commit to keeping every active candidate on a status update schedule. Weekly, bi-weekly, once a month, whatever makes sense for the role. Use your ATS if it has messaging, or your CRM if you have one, or just create an entry in your calendar and literally track candidate names and positions in it. It took me about 20 minutes to copy, paste, edit, and send a basic email template to my active candidates once a week, even if all I had to share was onging status and not a decision. It makes a difference.

    Finally, learn how to deliver a decline – via email or phone call, and not through the ATS. It’s unpleasant, but letting candidates know this is part of the job. It’s a kindness to let someone know where they stand.

    Sorry for soapboxing but this is a sore point with me, too.

    1. Tasha*

      Next, stop telling candidates you’ll have a decision ‘by the end of the week at the latest’ or any specific time frame if you don’t own the decision.


      1. Caboose*

        Yes!! If I’m told that I’ll have a decision by X day, and that day comes and goes without any input, I am assuming I’m out of the running and moving on with my life.

    2. T. Boone Pickens*

      Totally agree here. I have a folder saved with template emails for status updates since my CRM lacks a bit of functionality there. Copy/paste is my friend.

  24. RJ*

    I have been ghosted multiple times in the past year of unemployment, so I’m not even surprised by it anymore. I did, however, hear back from a company nearly a year after my initial interview with them as they’d been unable to fill the senior position (their salary was very low AND they weren’t allowing staff to WFH after reopening). I passed as did a few members of my network who are also searching. They eventually based the position in another state to justify the low salary.

    To those of you in HR and procurement who do follow up with candidates, all the best to you. I wish there were more who did.

  25. Bus Boy*

    Had a first round interview almost three months ago. Had an additional interview a couple weeks after that. Then, was invited on site for a two hour dinner/interview, then a day long interview (9am – 5:30pm) where I was given a six week window for a decision. I’ve met with over 40 people and spent so many hours interviewing, prepping a presentation, missing time with family, etc. to hear NOTHING back at this point…

    1. Bofa on the Sofa*

      That’s awful! You invested a significant amount of time into interviews. They should really get back to you.
      This sounds a lot like my cousin’s job search in higher Ed.

      1. Bus Boy*

        Yep, this was in higher ed as well. They are traditionally the slowest and worst at responding, being professional, etc.

  26. The Grammarian*

    The more interviews a company has candidates do for a position, the more the company should feel obligated to let candidates know whether they were rejected or not for the position. If I do five or six interviews with you for one (1) position, please let me know if I didn’t get it!

  27. QA Engineer*

    There’s a small remote-first start-up I’d love to work for that tried hiring their first QA twice. They are very public about treating their employees as people and gave time off for Black Lives Matter protesting and throughout the plague gave Fridays or weeks off for helping people cope. Overall, awesome sounding place, and their job descriptions were very straightforward about “spend no more than x minutes on this stage”, “you’ll hear back on y date”, etc. Impressive since some apps can take hours of coding problems to do, so they seem to really value time and trying to even the playing field a bit for people who don’t have hours outside of work to apply.

    First time I applied, it was totally not a match. I know that. They wanted a quality person who was full devops and would help assure the systems were up and performant and scaled not that the systems were doing the thing they were built to do. It was a stretch, but if that’s how the market is trending, cool.
    I applied, heard nothing, but since they publically post hires I know they didn’t hire anyone either.

    Second time I applied, it got reposted about a year later, it was completely redone to be more verifying the deliverables than verifying the architecture. Cool, sounds like a better match, applied. Got on to the next round where one of the interview questions mentioned about how everyone writes the requirements, how do you feel about that. Answered I’d help out if I had subject knowledge, but since I’m supposed to be verifying requirements are met that seems a little conflict of interest-y to be a BA and a QA.

    Never heard back; they still don’t have a QA. Each round just makes me think they don’t want a QA, either. They need more devops and business side people first.

  28. DivineMissL*

    I am an EA and I watch my bosses take forever to hire folks, and unfortunately, the applicants are left hanging. Recently, we ran an ad for a high-level position; the ad ran for 4 weeks, and we received about 2 dozen resumes. It took them another 5 weeks to get around to scheduling interviews for just 4 candidates (I don’t know if HR ever notified the other 20 applicants that they were not getting interviews). This doesn’t mean that there weren’t other qualified candidates in the pool; they just aren’t going to do that many interviews and have to narrow it down in some way.

    Then it took them 2 weeks more to find a good date to schedule a second interview with their top 2 choices, and then a week to decide that they wanted to make an offer and another week to negotiate. If #1 had said no, they would have had to go to #2 and spend time negotiating. So for someone who sent a resume in Week 1 of the advertisement, even for the ones who had actually come in for interviews, 13 weeks had elapsed. They aren’t going to say anything to the other applicants because, in case they weren’t happy with the first 4 interviews, they would have gone back to the pool to take another look, or maybe re-advertise in hopes of getting different applicants.

    All this means, often it has absolutely nothing to do with the applicants and everything to do with the company (can’t find a date that everyone is available for interviews, someone’s on vacation, they’re waiting to hire a new manager to get her input on hiring her reports, more urgent problems came up, etc.). Alison is absolutely correct – send your resume and move on; if you hear from them later, consider it a pleasant surprise.

  29. De Minimis*

    At workplace we’re hamstrung by our many rules and policies, and the fact that HR controls the offer process, is required to be the point of contact for the candidates, but isn’t involved in the actual interview/hiring decisions. I’ve been on an interview team and have been the one to actually schedule the interview with candidates, and oftentimes they will follow up with me but I am not allowed to tell them anything even if I know the outcome. All I can do is refer them to HR [who are unresponsive.]
    One time I really wanted to reply because the candidate was offered another position but wanted to know what we had decided before taking it, but I could tell them nothing [I checked with my boss and he said absolutely not,] and could only refer them to HR.
    In case you might not have guessed, this is a fed agency….but I’m guessing a lot of larger organizations have a similar structure that make this more difficult than it needs to be for candidates. Just know that a lot of us who are doing the interviewing don’t like it any more than the candidates do.

  30. Former B4 Veteran*

    I still am annoyed by one interaction related to this around 15 years ago.

    I was looking to go into public accounting, and all of the Big 4 and regional firms did formal recruitment at my (large state) University, where-in you would apply through the school, they would have on-campus interviews for the first interview, and then if that went well, they would invite you in office for one or multiple additional interviews.

    I did a number of first round interviews, some of which resulted in resulted in second round interviews, and I eventually landed with one of the Big 4. At every stage, all of the companies bar one let me know my status after each round, whether it be rejection, moving on, or offer.

    The weirdest part was that the one who I never heard back from was by far my best first round interview, at one of the mid sized firms (top 15 in the US). The partner had just returned from a rotation in a European city. I had lived in Europe during middle/high school, and had been to that city multiple times, so we just mainly talked about Europe the whole time, and at the end he straight up told me I would move on to the second round. However, I never heard back.

    I didn’t take it personally, but at the end of the season, after accepting another offer, I decided to reach out to their and just let them know I never heard back, assuming something fell through the cracks, and that they would want to know so they could look into it an avoid it happening again (as I assumed it could impact their relationship with our university if they weren’t following up with students). I received what a perceived as a very rude response about how I wasn’t good enough for them, so they didn’t want me. I just wrote it off as I had a job anyway. Looking back, I probably should have forwarded it on to the career center.

    5 or 6 years later, after making manager, I had a recruiter from that company actively try to poach me. Took alot of willpower to just ignore them and not respond with a snotty remark about not being good enough then, but being good enough now.

    This whole thing just left such a sour taste in my mouth…

  31. JT*

    I remember one time I applied to a marketing agency. Felt like I nailed the 2 interviews and got along really well with my would-be manager. He said they would get back to me within a week. A week goes by, I send off an email inquiring about the timeline. He says they’re still making the decision and it was down to me and one other person, but once they make that choice I was going to get an answer regardless of the outcome.

    One week goes by, two goes by…I’ve read enough of this blog to know to put it out of my mind at this point and I wouldn’t be getting an answer if I got the role or not.

    Fast forward four months at a new company in a higher role than the one I originally applied to at the marketing agency. I receive a Linkedin message from the would-be manager saying he saw I was currently employed but was I still interested in the job because they opened up another position. At this point, that role would’ve been a step-down career-wise and salary-wise. I know it’s petty but I felt a small amount of satisfaction in never responding.

    Don’t ghost good candidates if you think you want to keep them in mind for the future!

  32. Lizy*

    OldJob’s hiring timeline (from me submitting an application to start date) took… 4 months? Knowing what I know now about the org and where they were, it absolutely doesn’t surprise me. I think the initial contact was pretty quick, and I was interviewed maybe a couple of weeks after applying. They said CEO wanted to meet with me, and they’d be in touch in a week or so. About a month/month-and-a-half later, they called and offered me the job, for a start date out a couple of weeks.

    They were hiring 3 people for the same role. My predecessor decided she wanted that role, so instead of hiring 3 people for that role, they hired 2 and then me into her role (same team, just slightly different job). They started the other 2 newbies about a month before me, which makes sense so that my manager didn’t have to train 3 people on 2 different jobs at the same time.

    Hiring for my replacement took … 6 months? I think from the time they interviewed her to when she started was a month or two, and that was one of the quicker hires I saw during my time there.

    There’s always delays for one reason or another.

  33. knxvil*

    My birthday is coming up and I’m distressed to dig up this memory that I realize is now old enough to vote in the U.S., but I had one of those “hey, remember us” experiences with an organization I really, really wanted to work for that ghosted me.

    Online job applications were still in their infancy–they more or less involved emailing your resume and any sort of confirmation/acknowledgment was a crapshoot, so it was a pleasant surprise when a regulatory agency called me to set up an interview for an editor position. Most of the publishing houses in the city were still asking for hard-copy resumes and sending formal rejections, like the old college application process, so *any* kind of positive response, let alone from an email, was like manna from heaven at that point.

    Being new to the area and reliant on Mapquest (lol), I got lost on Interview Day. I’d never been late before, and although it was only by 5 minutes, I was terrified they’d boot me out and never speak to me again. Instead, though, I had a very stiff-feeling interview and was then isolated in a room with one red pencil and one blue pencil–provided by them, I couldn’t use anything of my own–and told to copy edit one of their regulations. I’m trying to remember the distinction between red and blue, and I think red was a “must change” typo whereas blue was a suggestion/query. It was an intense half-hour test, and actually the only one I’ve ever taken that was a true reflection of what you would work on, not some jumble of obviously purposefully “messed up” copy on an unrelated subject. I also appreciated that they drew a clear line between different types of edits and what could and couldn’t be done.

    I made it all the way to the offer stage, and at $35K, I think it was, that was music to my ears. Everything was discussed over the phone, and I was waiting for the formal, hard-copy letter… which, you guessed it, never came. I don’t remember if I called to follow up, but I wasn’t particularly assertive at the time.

    Fast forward almost a year, after I landed a different job with better benefits and a shorter commute, and I get a phone call one day: “You interviewed with us and were our top choice! We know we haven’t talked to you in a while and things got tied up with funding, and we’re really sorry about that, but would you like to come in again and be reconsidered?”

    When I found out that “be reconsidered” meant “start completely over,” I informed them in no uncertain terms that I’d found something else and was not available. For all the ghosting that goes on in the job-searching world, I cherish that I got to close the loop just once with a hard “no.” I also chuckle every time I see a typo on a fire extinguisher label, because guess what, jerks, had you hired me the first time FINDING AND FIXING THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN PART OF MY JOB. Suckers.

  34. Junior Assistant Peon*

    If you’re too limp to have a difficult conversation, you have no business being a manager.

  35. Bookworm*

    As someone who has been on both sides: it sucks. It’s enormously frustrating to put in the work, time, labor (mental, physical, etc. if it required some sort of skills test) and never hear back. I don’t get it. Send a form email.

    And as someone who has watched the hiring process from the other side: sometimes it’s really about the organization. A former organization would put out job posts and then not bother (to my knowledge) actually go through the hiring process. Since I wasn’t involved I don’t know why they did this and what changed their minds and whether they engaged at all after putting up the post (ie, looking at resumes and realizing there weren’t any good applications?). This same place could sometimes take MONTHS just to get management to understand that we needed more staff, let alone begin the hiring process.

    My point? The ball is in their court. I’ve seen enough of this to try to brush it off–it’s a reflection on them if they can’t get it together and at least update me or send me a form email.

  36. June*

    I once had someone call me about my resume/application for a job and was VERY interested to talk to me further about it but didn’t have time right now (so why did she call? I dunno) but could she call me tomorrow at a time suitable to me to discuss? You guessed it. No phone call. No phone call the next day either. 2-3 weeks go by she finally calls me. Oops sorry I got another job. *shrug* Didn’t even apologize for missing the first phone appointment.

  37. Spike*

    UGH I had an employer ghost me after what seemed to be a good interview earlier this year. I applied to the position after talking with a friend who works there and she put in a good word with the hiring manager. They invited me to interview, I thought it went well, and my friend confirmed afterwards with her inside intel that it had. And then I never heard from them again, even after following up by email (only once!). I just don’t understand it – this is a company I interact with somewhat frequently through a professional organization, specifically including some of the people who interviewed me. We’re going to run into each other at some point and it’s going to be the most awkward thing in the world – “remember that time you interviewed me and then ghosted? That was cool.” Fortunately I am starting a different new job in three weeks that pays about 50% more than they would’ve been able to pay, so I suppose from my perspective it’s worked out.

    1. Spike*

      Adding to this to clarify – I have no real issue with non responses to job applications, I definitely understand the volume problem and don’t think employers are obligated to respond to every resume that’s submitted. I do think there’s an obligation to respond to people you interview though, as they’ve taken the time and energy to interview, and frankly as a person, now you’ve met them and it’s basic courtesy to close the loop. If an employer is interviewing and rejecting so many people they don’t have the bandwidth to send rejections, they probably should rethink that process..

  38. VoteKnope*

    Ugh, I’ve had bad luck with this recently. I got through the 2nd of 3 interview rounds in late February 2020; the 2nd round went well, and of course then the pandemic hit. So I didn’t think much about not hearing back and assumed their timeline had gotten moved back, especially given the nature of the work they did (it was a non-profit). I checked their social media and website a few times and didn’t see anything about a new hire for the position. When I reached out at the end of April, they finally dropped the hammer of having hired someone else. This one really stung, both because of the ghosting and because one of my references happened to know the CEO personally, plus I’d been referred by a friend at an agency who did their IT work. I couldn’t have nepotismed any harder if I tried. It was a blow to my confidence that took a year to shake off…

    …at which point I applied for a position at my previous company that had just been created and was exactly the upward move I’d hoped for while employed there. And was promptly ghosted after the final interview round and writing exercise. Having a bit more knowledge about the hiring manager in this case (she wasn’t in my city’s office so I’d never worked with her directly), it doesn’t entirely surprise me, but COME ON. It’s so shitty. People need to stop doing it!

    1. VoteKnope*

      Forgot to add, when I got the rejection response in the first story, I was en route to a shelter to check out some puppies after putting in a bunch of dog adoption applications in vain for a month. Lots of other people had the same idea and we waited in line for 2 hours, 2 people behind the total number of puppies available. Fortunately a couple of them dropped out so I got my pandemic puppy! My roommate came with me and said later, “I honestly don’t know what would’ve happened if you hadn’t gotten a puppy that day,” haha. Possibly a complete breakdown on the highway.

  39. Triplestep*

    People – Ghosting is when you have had one or more interviews and then never hear back. Communications from the company stops. The end.

    Some of the anecdotes above are from people who heard back after a month or two – that is not ghosting because you heard back. Some describe not hearing back after submitting an application – again, not ghosting. You are not owed anything beyond the automated “we got your application” unless you have had further contact with a human being at the company. Someone above says she’s seen it from both sides because her company would post jobs and then never interview for them – no one is being ghosted there because no one had contact with the company for the express purpose of getting hired and then had all communication cease.

    Ghosting of candidates – real honest-to-goodness no-post-interview-communication-ever-at-all ghosting – actually happens as many of the responses above can attest. Please stop giving hiring managers and recruiters a way to minimize actual ghosting by conflating it with what are essentially annoyances like hearing back too late, or not being asked to interview, or working somewhere that posts jobs and then does nothing. Anyone will tell you “Well, those things happen sometimes” so in some way mashing those things up with ghosting legitimizes it. Ghosting should not be thought of as “normal” or “something that happens sometimes” by employers. It should be thought of as an embarrassment.

    1. Caboose*

      I think the reason people bring up companies who contact them way later is because they assumed the company was ghosting them, and had therefore moved on with their lives, potentially missing out on cool opportunities (and denying the company their first choice!)

      1. Triplestep*

        Yes, I understood why they used the term “ghosted”, but there are people using it to describe being contacted one or two months later. That is a NORMAL hiring time frame. This allows the ghosters to think “People are being unreasonable” rather than stand back and take a good look at themselves and their hiring practices.

  40. Skippy*

    After every interview, no matter how well it goes, I always assume that I will never hear from the organization again. I’ve had far too many experiences where interviewers have promised that I will hear from them “one way or another” by a certain date, and then it’s been complete silence. I don’t even bother following up anymore: I figure if they want to get in touch, they know where to find me.

    What makes this phenomenon especially annoying is the fact that employers seem to be demanding more and more from applicants — and yet, they still keep ghosting with absolutely no consideration for how much time these people have put in to the process. I did two interviews for a position last month, and afterwards I was asked to do a performance task that took me a couple of hours. I emailed it to them three weeks ago, and I never heard from them again — not even a reply back acknowledging that they’d received the document I sent them — but the other day I noticed they’d reposted the job. Well, okay, then.

    1. Triplestep*

      That sucks I am sorry. A family-member of mine spent a whole weekend researching and devising a presentation (complete with a project budget) after having been given the assignment Friday at noon and being told it was due Monday at noon. He had been told earlier in the week to expect the assignment on Friday, but not when it would be due. So they knowingly blew up his weekend. They knew the whole week they intended to blow up his weekend, but did not tell him until Friday at noon.

      BUT … they did not ghost him. They had him give the presentation and THEN they ghosted him for two weeks. He e-mailed to say he’d been made another offer and ask if they had a timeframe for their decision and they wrote back and rejected him.

  41. CW*

    While I was job hopping a few years ago, I can’t tell you how many times I was ghosted. It was very dejecting and was a huge blow to my confidence. I knew I wasn’t the only one, but the lack of stability and financial health at the time made me feel hopeless. It was a good thing I was one of the lucky ones in 2020 NOT to lose my job (and yes, I am still employed there). Otherwise, I would have had a mental breakdown. If I barely handled in 2018, imagine having to handle it during the pandemic when the economy was in shambles and everything shut down. I don’t think I would have made it to be honest.

    1. CW*

      Sorry, I meant job searching. I wasn’t job hopping. SMH. One of these times I wish there was an edit button.

  42. SpatialGeography*

    The ghosting thing is unprofessional. I’ve experienced ghosting after an interview has been scheduled. Twice when the interviewer didn’t show up for the Zoom interview. All attempts to contact the recruiter, HR, or any other contacts sent by the recruiter resulted in silence. And two weeks ago I was ghosted for an in person interview. After informing the person at the front desk that I was there for an interview I was told they weren’t of any interviews that day. Showing them the email confirmation on my phone didn’t appear to matter. Attempting to call the recruiter resulted in leaving several voicemails that were never returned.

  43. Bofa on the Sofa*

    My most recent job interview was for a job labeled full-time on Indeed. At the end of the interview I was taken aback when they asked me if I was interested in full-time, part-time, or as needed/ per diem work. They went on to say they had a few more interviews to do and would evaluate patient caseloads and determine if they needed a full-time, part-time, or per diem employee and get back to me in 2 weeks if I was chosen or not for the position, and what amount of time the position would be for.
    A little over a month later, they got back to me saying they were getting through their patient wait list faster than expected, and wouldn’t actually be hiring for any amount of time, but they’d keep my resume on file & asked me to reach out to them if I’m looking for a job in the future .

    I’m very annoyed and wished they would have been upfront about the status of the position when they scheduled the interview.
    I’ve heard from the grapevine this isn’t the first time they’ve “hired” liked this.

  44. Elizabeth West*

    I had two interviews with a company that I felt went pretty well, and still nothing. Checking back only got me “We’re still interviewing; thank you for your time and consideration.” That sounds like a no to me, so I marked it as such on my spreadsheet. Their interview process was unorthodox; no questions whatsoever about my experience, it was all about “getting to know you” both times, so it might be just taking a long time if they’re doing this twice with everybody. But I’m not holding my breath. I suspect I won’t be notified if I’m rejected—or I already was.

    Ghosting applications I can live with. I don’t expect a reply and if I don’t get one within two weeks, I mark it as a no. But ghosting after interviews is rude. Those companies go on my naughty list and I’m not likely to apply there again.

  45. Millie*

    In February of this year I applied for a position at a fairly big name company in my industry. In April they contacted me asking to set up a phone interview with the hiring manager for the next day. At the end of that phone call, on a Tuesday, the hiring manager asked to set up a virtual interview for that same Friday, which meant I had to scramble to come up with an excise to request PTO (and can’t claim illness when I’m in healthcare and there are COVID procedures in place around coming back on site after illness). The interview involved me giving a 30 minute presentation, which I had only two weekday evenings to prepare (it turned out well and each interviewer complimented me on it, but definitely stressful to prepare). After the presentation, it was an additional 4.5 hours of back-to-back interviews with potential team members, managers of adjacent departments, and HR. 10 people total. They didn’t even think to schedule a break when they initially set it up – I had to ask for them to include one. I ended up with a migraine that night from the strain of being in front of a screen in meetings for so long. The hiring manager said she was really excited about me and would have an answer for me early the next week. Never heard from them again. Probably dodged a bullet since they are so inconsiderate.

    1. Melody Maker*

      Holy mother of headaches! that is alot of wasted time and disrespect for your professional obligations and life. Terrible !

  46. Jinni*

    Can I ask, seriously, does this lead to the best candidates? This sounds like all these non-streamlined processes are truly hit or miss and in the end, many organizations take who is leftover because the more marketable (and arguably better?) candidates will have been chosen by more functional organizations?

    1. AnonPi*

      Not necessarily, but there’s a lot of problems with the hiring process. The two worst IMO is having to “know someone” to get a job (hiring friends is very common where I work, regardless if they’re qualified much less the most qualified), and the automatic screening system which eliminates a lot of good candidates because their resumes don’t match whatever key words it’s searching for. Thankfully a lot of people where I work have caught on and just ask HR to send them everything and they’ll review it manually, but there’s a lot of places that don’t do this.

Comments are closed.