do I have any recourse when an employer ghosts me?

A reader writes:

I know you’ve written that when job searching it’s best to assume you won’t hear back at every stage, and then to let any positive news be a pleasant surprise. I like the idea of this, but I can’t get past the fact that ghosting is still incredibly rude, especially at the later stages of a process.

I was recently in a situation where a few lengthy informational interviews (friends of friends) transformed into an actual job interview, and they told me they were sending an offer for approval to compete with another offer I had on the table. The offer is still floating in the ether and I have no clue if it will ever be approved, but it bugs me much more that the hiring manager (friend of a friend), and my contact in HR have gone from answering my emails within the hour, to ignoring my (patiently-timed, following your advice) follow-ups altogether.

There is something that feels too rude about ghosting to just let it go. Is that truly a job seeker’s only recourse here? Is there anything else that is professional but involves taking back a bit more agency?

Ghosting is rude at every stage — although also common — but ghosting after telling you they were going to send over an offer is particularly egregious, and even more so if they knew you were waiting on it because you had another offer you needed to respond to.

What’s particularly aggravating about ghosting is that, as you point out, it leaves job seekers feeling really helpless. It’s one thing not to hear back after you submit an application or have an initial phone screen, but it sure does feel like you should be able to say something if you’re ghosted after an intensive interview process … one where you might have taken time off work, bought a new suit, spent hours preparing, and generally rearranged your life to accommodate it. But most people don’t speak up because they worry about burning a bridge and not being considered if they’re interested in another job there in the future.

It sucks that that’s the case! You should be able to speak up about bad behavior without worrying that it’ll come back to bite you.

And since job seekers have financial and professional pressures not to speak up, employers keep mistreating them with impunity and let themselves believe it doesn’t matter. Given that, if you are in a position to speak up and accept whatever risks might come with that, it’s a service to others to do it. Realistically, it might not have much impact; it’s easy to dismiss one complaint, even a politely and professionally delivered one. But it’s still a good thing to do if you feel you can.

Personally, I would want to say something like this: “When you told me to expect an offer, I asked another company for additional time to respond to their offer so that I could consider yours as well, potentially putting that offer at risk. Since then I haven’t heard back from you, despite attempting to reach you several times. While I of course understand that things come up and hiring often takes longer than anticipated, I was surprised and disappointed to receive only silence during the X weeks I tried to reach you.”

Be aware, though, that if you send this message, there is a very high chance that this company won’t consider you for jobs in the future since people don’t like being chastised by job candidates, even when it’s well deserved.

Also, regardless of whether you ultimately say something like that or not, make sure the mutual friends who referred you know how you were treated. They’re well positioned to be more blunt than you might feel you can be, and them saying “Jane Warbleworth told me you told her to expect an offer and then never got back to her — what happened?” might embarrass the employer more effectively than anything you can say.

You should also consider posting about your experience on Glassdoor.

But yeah, it’s frustrating. This employer wronged you, you should be able to say that they wronged you, and the power dynamics that leave job seekers feeling like they have to silently accept rude treatment from employers suck.

{ 334 comments… read them below }

  1. Nom*

    What truly shocks me is the percentage of employers that ghost even after an interview. In my experience its nearly 85%.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      I have more jobs than I can say on my spreadsheet where post-interview I wrote, Marking as no bc have heard nothing. I feel like I should go back through and code those so I can do a data sort and see just how many there are.

      Also, sending a rejection months later is not good enough. I count that as ghosting. One place took five months to send something. I mean, at least they did, but wow, inefficient much?

      1. Mystic*

        I once got an email over a year later from a job at a company I had completely forgot I had applied to.

        1. Forrest Gumption*

          I once got an interview request TWO AND A HALF YEARS after I applied. At that point not only did I not remember that I applied, but I hadn’t lived in the state for two years. (I think the company had recently gotten a new HR person or recruiter, who dove into the archives without realizing how outdated most of the applications were.)

          1. Pool Lounger*

            I just got an interview request for a job I did an initial interview for, and was rejected from. They asked to do another initial interview, as if I’d applied again. I’m guessing they’re desperate for workers.

            1. Certaintroublemaker*

              Unless they flat out said, “You don’t have what we need,” you might have made a short list the first time around and been edged out. They may be perfectly happy to have you even if you weren’t the tippy top person. Sometimes there’s an embarrassment of riches to choose from.

              1. Pool Lounger*

                Nah, all I’d done was an initial video screen, one of those ones where you record answers to pre-set questions. Didn’t even meet with a real person or get called in for a real first interview.

          2. ThursdaysGeek*

            You both beat my 6 months. I sent in the application at the start of my unemployment, and thought that the job had my name on it. But heard nothing. 6 months later they called for an interview. I was still unemployed, so I went in. They offered me the job the next day, and it was a good job.

            I suspect those are people who really do keep applications on file, and whoever they did hire didn’t work out. But I don’t know.

          3. Nowwhat465*

            This happened to me! What’s worse, it was for an unpaid internship I applied for IN COLLEGE. They referenced that they saw my recent experience at BIG NAME Company where I had been working for a couple years, and thought I would be a great fit…. for the unpaid internship.

            1. Environmental Compliance*

              Oh! I’ve had those too! I’m almost a decade out of my bachelors, and have a master’s now with several years in the field…. and I had recruiters contact me constantly for a few months for unpaid/barely paid internships or entry level for lab positions because “we saw you have a degree in Biology on LinkedIn”. I do not work in a lab and haven’t since my undergrad. None of my experience would relate at all. Some even asked if I’d be willing to relocate for it. Uh, no?

              I was feeling extra sassy after a couple months of that and asked one if they bothered to read the rest of my LinkedIn profile.

              1. The New Wanderer*

                Don’t hold your breath that anyone reads your LinkedIn profile at all. Last week I got one of those “sponsored” LI messages from someone who kicked it off with “(Name), I see from your profile that you’re a licensed Mental Health professional” which, no, no I’m not. I’m not even in an MH-adjacent field. I also get recommended to apply for internships in my field, and I have 20 years’ experience + PhD. LI job recs and recruiter spam are useless to me, I only keep a profile going because I see useful things in my feed often enough to make it worth my while to scroll.

                1. Environmental Compliance*

                  Oh, I assume they don’t. It’s just extra irritating when they tell you that they found you on LinkedIn and noticed XYZ when if they actually read anything they should have realized they were not pushing a relevant job at all.

                2. Elizabeth West*

                  Haha, I wrote a really spectacular Avengers-themed version of my profile and was sorely tempted to use it just to get some attention. But considering the plethora of non-relevant “Your profile matches this job” recommendations, not even the algorithm reads it with any comprehension whatsoever.

                3. JustaTech*

                  I’ve gotten one like that too, except it wasn’t until I’d had several back and forths with the recruiter that they expressed serious irritation that I had not told them I don’t have an RN. Nothing in my LinkedIn would make any but the most casual reader think “medical degree”, and nothing in the job posting they sent me said anything about needing to be an RN.

                4. DJ Abbott*

                  It’s position – bombing. Like résumé – bombing, but in reverse. They do a search on a relevant term and send the position to all of their search results without even looking at any of the profiles. I’ve gotten a couple of these on indeed for low level data entry positions because I did a temporary data entry job. I have more than 20 years office support experience and my last job was data analyst, and they’re sending me entry level jobs that pay $13 an hour.

                  I’ve never found LinkedIn to be useful with either recommendations or their feed. I only keep a profile because employers sometimes ask for the link to it, and because maybe one day by some fluke it will turn up something good.

                5. TeapotNinja*

                  I don’t get cold calls quite that bad, but plenty of ones that are so clearly not a good fit.
                  I fantasize about scheduling an in-person interview just for the hell of it to see what would happen. It could be fun, especially after a wine bottle or two.

                6. Karia*

                  I had someone send me an exciting opportunity to be a Magento Developer. I am… not a programmer.

              2. Mimi*

                I get those too, and I don’t have a degree in bio or any related lab experience! I’ve just had a job with “Technician” in the title.

            2. Hosta*

              Someone must have bought the alumni list for my nursing school, because I’ve had a flood of recruiters calling, texting, emailing and normal mailing me me about prospective jobs. One of them will pay as much as $20/hr for a new graduate!

              Which would have been great! When I graduated. In 2010. Before covid. I, uh, make a lot more money now, and I don’t even hold a license in that state anymore. And also, $20/hr for even a brand new nurse is wildly below the market rate right now.

            3. BubbleTea*

              Maybe you would be a great fit for the internship! Pity it wouldn’t be a great fit for you…

          4. Environmental Compliance*

            I had a two-ish year one as well. I had moved twice, and out of state. The person on the phone just rattled off too that they wanted to bring me in for an interview, and me being me I blurted out I hadn’t applied to anything in over a year – what company & position was this for? She got a little snippy at me for that – “in a job search you should remember what you apply for” – lady, I’m not searching, I got a job already months ago (and updated my LinkedIn), ya limp noodle.

            1. Cascadia*

              Wow – that is a bold move getting snippy at you for not remembering a job you applied to TWO YEARS AGO!?!??!

              1. Environmental Compliance*

                It was like 7AM too when she called. I was up and at work at that time, but lordy. I got a rejection email a bit afterwards and cracked up. I wonder if I still have it somewhere.

              2. lizard*

                To me that’ s honestly wild even for a job you applied to recently – when you’re in an active job search, you might be sending dozens of applications out, and even if you track them, you might not have 100% of the information available at a moment’s notice (like in an *unscheduled call*).

            2. KRM*

              I was applying for jobs once and the labs in one hospital system were just listed under the lab focus, like “Muscle Biology” or “Immunology”. I applied to a few that seemed interesting. I got a callback where the woman started with “I’m [name] from Dr. X’s office”. First I thought it was some appointment I forgot I made so I asked what she was calling about. She replied “Dr. X, from [hospital research department]. Well, you people just apply to anything out there.” Uhhh…there are no names in your job descriptions! How am I supposed to know who you are???
              I sadly made an appointment for an interview, but took another job first, so I did get to call and cancel. It felt nice.

            3. New Mom*

              She got snippy?? People can be so ridiculous. So tempting to ask her for a list of everyone that applied that same week a year prior because “in a candidate search you should remember everyone that applies for the role”, and by tempting I mean I’m way too chicken to do it but would love to hear a story where someone braver did. Haha.

            4. Prof Space Cadet*

              I definitely have had a few initial contacts with hiring managers where I wish I had simply said, “I can tell from this conversation that this is going to be a poor fit. Good luck finding someone else.”

        2. Avril Ludgateau*

          Wow, the worst was 6 months for me. I never even got an interview or anything more than an automated “thank you for your application” notice, so I had long accepted that my resume didn’t even make it past the ATS and just like you, I had forgotten (or suppressed) that I even bothered to apply. The (also automated) rejection out of the blue was an unnecessary punch in the gut.

          From my perspective, you either treat applicants with respect in a timely fashion or you go whole-hog into the ghost route. The perfunctory, middle-of-the-road timed automated reply system BS riles me up even more!

          1. Office Lobster DJ*

            I agree. After a certain amount of time passes, attempts to “close the loop” are probably worse than embracing the fact that you ghosted the candidate.

            The charitable part of me assumes that most of these automated notices are triggered by someone closing out the opening, rather than an actual human’s desire to reject people a year later. Still, would be nice to avoid it.

            1. KRM*

              Yes, that happens at bigger pharma companies around here. Once the job is filled, the system closes it out and automatically sends the rejections. But sometimes the hiring process was so long or encompassed multiple people, you get rejection letters months after you applied. The spirit is willing but the execution is severely lacking.

          2. Juneybug*

            I received an email notice 6 months after I applied to berate me that I should have not applied because it was obvious I did not read the job description and did not qualify. That means someone in the hiring dept took the time to personally write this mean email.

            The job was entry-level admin for a state agency. I had 16 years of admin experience plus recently had graduated with my master’s degree in Public Administration. Ironically, I was already working for the state in a mid-mgt position when I received the notice.

            Yes, I wished I had reached out to the hiring manager to let them know about this rude email and I would never work for that state agency (and tell my co-workers/friends). Or at least put a review on Glassdoor. But I was working a new job and dealing with breast cancer (I am 6 years survivor now so it all worked out). But like Avril Ludgateau said above, it’s an unnecessary punch in the gut.

            1. Caroline Bowman*

              Wait, what???

              Someone has so little to do in their business life that they would do this? How awful a person must they be to work with, their priorities, communication skills, social skills…

              They 100% did you a sh1tty favour, be glad, forever, that you never had any further dealings with such nasty people.

              1. RhondaDawnAnon*

                I once I got an email rejection like that from a small law firm in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area around the time of the Great Recession that was basically (paraphrased) “Please do not apply to our firm in the future. Your materials are unprofessional, you don’t meet our high standards, blah, blah, blah.” At the time, I was like “umm . . . glad I dodged that bullet.” I did notice that this particular firm seemed to frequrntly advertise for legal assistants on Craigslist and that the ad was increasingly defensive/hostile in tone.

            2. Avril Ludgateau*

              Yes, I wished I had reached out to the hiring manager to let them know about this rude email and I would never work for that state agency (and tell my co-workers/friends).

              Hey, if this thread has taught us anything, it’s never too late to re-open a closed door! Give ’em a taste of their own medicine. Ha.

          3. irene adler*

            Just this week two reject emails showed up (same company). Both were for positions I’d applied for 8 months ago. Couldn’t recall either of the jobs.

            My take on why: some internal auditor (or someone’s manager) discovered that the reject emails have not been going out. So someone got tasked with catching things up. All at once.

            1. New Mom*

              I’ve wondered about that, the last time I was on the job hunt I applied to like 20-30 roles over a period of six months at a large flagship college in my area. I never got a single interview but I was ghosted by quite a few of the applications and then got really random canned rejections months and months after the fact and thought, huh?

            2. Ponytail*

              I got a very late rejection after I’d been interviewed for job A. It was so amazingly late that it arrived on the same day* that I was interviewing for job B, which was at the same organisation, and with the same interview panel.
              I was equal parts furious at the spitefulness of the timing, and humiliated that they felt the need to reject me when they knew I was coming in (the HR team was very small, they knew). I did not get job B either.

              *I may out myself to colleagues who read this, but I got sent the rejection TEN MINUTES before the second interview. Yeah, I have told everybody I know this story, and it turns out I’m not the only one who has a terrible experience with their application procedure.

              1. Nom*

                I once applied to two internships at the same company, one I interviewed for and got, the other I didn’t get an interview. About 2 hours before they told me they were hiring me, I got a rejection for the other one. However, since the positions both had the same title (Intern), I didn’t know which one it was for an assumed i hadn’t gotten the job. Boy was i surprised when they called me

            3. L'étrangere*

              Yeah, someone finally noticed months later that the automated mail wasn’t going out, some random IT person did a drive-by to reset it, and poof! an entire queue was spewed over the net.

          4. Environmental Compliance*

            Yeah, it feels like a “hey as a reminder we still don’t want you, in case you were wondering”.

          5. Lenora Rose*

            I dunno. There was a nearly four month gap between my application and my interview for the position that led to where I am now, and I did genuinely think they had just tossed it or weren’t going to call. No complaints about the job or workplace, either, it’s just a bureaucracy that’s a bit of an unwieldy beast.

        3. Office Lobster DJ*

          Same. It took me enough time to remember what job it was that I almost wished it had been a phone call, where I could have later taken satisfaction in having blurted “I’m sorry, WHO are you? What job?”

          1. Elizabeth West*

            That happened to me after I started at Exjob. Two different employers I’d applied to called for a phone screen (“Do you have time to talk now?”). It filled me with glee to say “Hey no, I’m sitting at my desk at my new job now, but thanks!”

            *desperately wishes this would happen again soon* D’:

            1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

              I have discussed this in the past … when I was out of work, I got into the interview cycle with a company in another state. This was in October, let’s call the manager Bozo. Bozo stood me up twice on phone screens. Finally, the third time we connected. I went through the interview.

              At the end of the interview, he asks “can you wait until January?” I replied that it might work well for both of us because I would have had to relocate, that gives me some time.

              “No – you don’t understand…” What? Long story short, I was his prime candidate but he was going to keep looking, interviewing others. If I was “the one” he’d call me. But Bozo also asked “can you STOP looking until then?”

              I said I could not do that, and sure, I could lie and say “uh-huh” but I’m being honest. I had a family, a mortgage, etc. and I was going to pursue any opportunities that I could.

              Three weeks later I am offered a job on Thanksgiving eve and I accepted it.

              First business day in January comes along. I am sitting in my office in Cambridge, enjoying morning coffee and doing some coding. The phone rings.

              It’s Bozo, and my wife had given him my work phone number. He said “well you’re the one! When can you get here?” I told him it ain’t gonna happen. The ship sailed six weeks before, and you missed it.

              I have other horror stories to tell about that crazy year of unemployment. Again, “Dinner Table Stories” remains an unpublished, rough draft manuscript. This is one of the stories.

          2. KRM*

            It never ceases to fascinate me. I recently had a job search and the biotech job market here is Super Hot. I applied to a few jobs, and ended up accepting one a couple weeks later–several other companies had reached out, had phone interviews, etc. One company took 8 weeks to ask about a phone interview! I was so taken aback, because the job market is so hot that there is almost no chance of anyone who applied more than 2 weeks before I got the “let’s have a phone interview” message being available. They were just shooting themselves in the foot.
            I also got a rejection letter from a company that asked for an interview a day or so after I accepted my current job, so I thanked them and said I had taken a different job. That one though, I suspect they had an HR intern tasked with sending out letters to those who didn’t get interviewed (I know people at the company is why I say that).

        4. Nanani*

          I once applied for a summer job, as a student, at a place that knew and encouraged summer work students for the summer months. There is no reasonable way they didn’t know I was a student looking for temporary summer-month work.

          Didn’t hear back from them until the next school year was starting, having spent that summer at a different job.

          1. KateM*

            I once read an employer complaining that someone who had promised to come to work their summer job took another job instead of waiting until the employer got their act together (which happened by the middle of August).

        5. Becca*

          They’re probably mass sending rejections after they fill the position. At least that’s what it was when I interviewed for an internal position and got a rejection months later.

          1. PT*

            I’m happy to get a mass rejection to close the loop, but it should be framed like, “Thank you for your interest. The position of Llama Herder at Llamas Inc., has been filled and the posting is now closed.”

            I once got one that said something like “We have reviewed all the candidates and your qualifications were not a match for this position.” Except I was internal and I ended up working with the person who did get the job, and I *was* more qualified than him. Markedly more qualified. I didn’t have a penis and I didn’t go to church with Grandboss, which I guess is unqualified in a sense, but none of that was listed in the job description.

            1. alienor*

              I once applied for an internal role that was a position I’d successfully held a few years before. My boss, who was the same person I had reported to when previously in the role, made me do a panel interview, and then said “I don’t think you’re ready for the job.” (Mind you, I had done the job in the past and he had given me nothing but stellar performance reviews at the time, so…how?) Then to add insult to injury, he asked me to onboard and train the person they ended up hiring for it because he was going on vacation.

                1. alienor*

                  That’s what I said!

                  I stayed on at the company for a few more years afterwards, but looking back, that was really the beginning of the end. I never felt the same way about anything there ever again.

      2. AnotherLibrarian*

        I don’t know about your field, but in mine (higher ed), we can’t send a formal rejection until the person we hired signs their offer letter, completes the background check and starts the job. I always warn people this is this is the case, but yeah, sometimes we send rejections 6 months after the interview. So, it sucks, but it’s also not uncommon in academia (which operates by strange rules.) I once got rejected nine months after interviewing.

        1. Nephron*

          Did not make it to second round of interviews for an internal position, which I worked out because no one contacted me for one, and then they chose the other internal candidate which cool, I got the notification 4 months after the new person took the job. No email from anyone in the office that interviewed me or anyone in leadership.
          Academia is so much fun.

      3. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

        I’m really interested in your data because I’ve been employed and interviewed in both America and Germany and found that ghosting or replying to applicaions up to six months after was almost a cultural expectation here in Germany sometimes and was less common in the States (I’m American).

    2. Lisa*

      You know, I’m beginning to think that we have to start standing up and holding employers to account during the interview process in the same way that we are starting to do in the workplace as the Great Resignation takes hold. Bad behaviour is bad behaviour, and the community has to hold our members to a minimum standard of courtesy. We all need a higher quality of life, and it has to start with things like kindness, respect, and reciprocity.

      1. Prospect Gone Bad*

        As someone who occasionally hires, if I don’t reject someone right away, it usually means they’re in the running just not the top of the list. This can mean they are my 20th choice in many cases and most likely will get rejected, but only if my first choices do bad in the interview or reject an offer.

        It’s not really “bad behavior” or sticking it to the man to force me to send rejects asap regardless of the status of your application. I feel like forcing employers to reject you right away just increases the likelihood they’re not going to give marginalized or non-stellar candidates a chance. I often sit on resumes, not because I’m a horrible person, but because so many look the same, or are good but not excellent, and I am trying to decide whether to be a nice person and go out on a limb and give them a chance. If I had to completely automate the process or make a decision in one day, I’d probably end up just rejected them all.

        1. High Score!*

          You don’t have to reject these candidates, just keep in contact. Email an update saying something like, “we received lots of applications so the process may take longer”. An email costs you nothing. Just send a weekly update, “we’re still sorting candidates” or whatever. You don’t have to be specific. Just don’t ghost.

        2. Librarian of SHIELD*

          You can refrain from ghosting and also not send out immediate rejection letters. If you find that your process is taking more than 2-3 weeks, a quick message of “we are still considering all candidates for the position and hope to respond to you with our final decision in (insert time frame here)” will let the candidates know where they stand while they wait to hear from you officially.

          1. Loulou*

            I’m also in libraries and if I heard back from any employer within 2-3 weeks I’d be really surprised. It wouldn’t cross my mind to expect a response so soon!

          2. Office Lobster DJ*

            I like this idea. In some cases, I’d even be content with an auto-update every 4-6 weeks. Gives candidates a prompt to bow out if they’ve moved on, as well. Win-win.

            1. hbc*

              Yes! It amazes me that with all the supposed benefits of ATSs, no one has programmed or implemented settings that allow a “you’re still in the running but no movement yet, click here to remove yourself from the running if your situation has changed” update.

              1. Rainbow Brite*

                Probably because that would have massive benefits for job seekers, but little obvious benefit for employers.

        3. Caroline Bowman*

          This is a fair point – I too have dealt with high volumes of applications, but what I used to do was set a date by which the candidate could expect to hear back, and if they didn’t, then the application had been unsuccessful, and in that event, did they want us to keep their details on file for any future openings?

          If they’d been interviewed, even if just a phone screen, the reject candidates were always told as soon as possible, like, within the week, and if the process was moving slowly, the ”next stage” candidates would be given a fair timeline and an expectation. NEVER was it okay to just ghost or blank an applicant, most particularly after any form of interview.

        4. Koala dreams*

          Nobody wants you to send immediate rejections, people want employers to send timely updates as appropriate, so candidates know where they stand.

          Besides, your logic doesn’t make sense. Candidates will interpret ghosting as a rejection and so it is better to send an actual rejection so that you end on good terms with candidates. A rejection is disappointing, ghosting adds insult to injury.

        5. Avril Ludgateau*

          Realistically, how often do you actually engage with the “20th choice”?

          If you’ve already ranked them so low, but you still somehow think you may need them, then send an email that says you do not think their qualifications meet your needs at this time, but you would like to hold on to their resume to consider for future opportunities. And then do so.

        6. Kella*

          The issue being discussed here is how long candidates have to wait for any kind of information about how the hiring process is going, and that it is so common for hiring managers to never send any information at all, candidates rightfully have developed the habit to assume they aren’t being considered unless they hear otherwise. There is also the related issue of hiring managers offering no information at all for 6+ months and then following up as if no time has passed at all. It is incredibly out of touch with reality for employers to expect candidates to still be in exactly the same position of interest after no response for 6+ months.

          If you aren’t doing any of the above, then this post isn’t about you.

      2. anonymous73*

        Sounds great in theory but how exactly do you hold a company you don’t work for accountable for ghosting you after an interview without in turn screwing yourself?

          1. pancakes*

            Their terms of service require reviewers to be current or former employees. If a bunch of candidates start leaving reviews I would expect them to simply be removed.

            While we’re on this subject, I like the idea of “The Great Resignation” as much as anyone, but want to point out once again that many, many, many people who have left their jobs during the pandemic have done so because they can’t get childcare. I’ll link to it separately, but in the meantime please have a look at a Jan. 4, 2022 article in the Guardian titled “Quitting is just half the story: the truth behind the ‘Great Resignation.’”

            1. Random Name*

              I think you can leave interview reviews on Glassdoor even if you’re not a current or former employee. It comes under a separate section and likely doesn’t affect the rating of the company, so not exactly accomplishing the purpose.

              1. Erin*

                Except that jobhunters may see it, and bring it up in their interviews:
                “On Glassdoor, there are several comments that you’ve ghosted people during the interview process. I assume that was an administrative error, not a deliberate choice?”
                2 or 3 of those and hiring managers will start kicking up a fuss.

                1. MCMonkeyBean*

                  I don’t think bringing that up in an interview is going to make them more likely to treat you with respect, it will just start the whole process off on a fairly aggressive foot.

                2. pancakes*

                  Why would anyone asked that admit to doing it deliberately? It’s a pretty adversarial question and unlikely to be answered candidly.

      3. L'étrangere*

        Actually it sounds as if we are, in practice. I’ve seen several articles this years about employers being shocked, shocked I tell you, from being ghosted by candidates. We are ghosting them from start to finish it seems, the final and most delicious one being not showing up on the scheduled first day of work. So next time you get an interview request or even an offer out of the blue, you can fantasize about why. You’re welcome

    3. EmbracesTrees*

      I’m an academic and interviews are typically 24 hours – from pick up at the airport one evening and drop off the next.

      In one case, I was picked up late and spent the evening in a lovely B&B in Montana, did the full day interview with the Dean, Dept Chair, most of the faculty, give a research presentation, teach a class, have dinner with faculty, spend a *second* night a the B&B (it really was nice but, damn, that’s a long time), breakfast the next morning, then dropped off at the airport.

      It was a really small dept and I spent most of that time with one person and felt like we really clicked. I enjoyed their company, conversation was easy, there was appropriate humor and laughter; all in all, I was really pleased with how everything went!

      Then I heard … nothing. Not a hint, not a call, not an email. This is VERY uncommon in academia — typically only 3 people are invited to “campus visits”, and it’s a relatively small “world” in each field — so it was really surprising and hurtful. Now, I was young and relatively dumb (these were first-job-out-of-grad school interviews) so I didn’t follow up, which I should have. But when I inevitably saw her at a conference 6 months later, she looked about to say a happy hello and I just walked off (yeah, again, not mature). I wondered if perhaps she wasn’t the one who handled follow-up, didn’t know that I was absolutely ghosted, and just thought I was pissy because I didn’t get the job.

      All in all, it was an unhappy learning experience.

      1. AGD*

        This happened to me once as well. Did whole shortlist interview, heard back never. My department chair was absolutely appalled.

      2. Frieda*

        I’m now trying to figure out which school it might have been based on your being in a B&B and not a standard hotel!

        Also in academia, and it’s very much too bad that they treated you that way. Disorganization, is my guess, but still.

      3. Elizabeth*

        Yep! I did a whole day of interviewing for a nursing management position. I came from out of town, and spent an entire day – like 8am-4pm interviewing with different people. I also did follow up interviews with a higher level manager and HR manager. Then I got ghosted. No reply about anything from anyone. After 2 weeks & moving to that area (was our plan & why I was interviewing there), I sent a follow up email to the manager that was my main contact. I said something like: it’s been weeks, and I haven’t heard anything from anyone. I assume I am not your candudate, but I would appreciate you confirming that. After all of the time and effort I spent interviewing with you, I deserve for you to at least email me about your decision. I would like to know so that I can continue on my job search. Her reply- oh, you should have heard from the recruiter. My thoughts: umm no!! I SHOULD HAVE HEARD FROM YOU!!!! Don’t be such a coward that you can’t have a conversation to say, thanks for your time but we decided to go in a different direction. Seriously!! So of course, within about 30 minutes of that email, I get a canned form email rejecting me. After that much effort, you weren’t even going to tell me yourself or in a personal way?!?! Luckily my searches worked out & I currently have a job I love. And I would NEVER work for that organization now that I know more about them and how they treat employees!

      1. Karia*

        A while back, I had an interviewer spend five minutes of my interview complaining about being ghosted by candidates.

        I am yet to hear from that person.

    4. Jana*

      Probably my worst ghosting experience was doing multiple in-person interviews to meet the full team, completing a multi-hour assignment, talking with HR, and then…crickets. Later on I saw they filled the position and just didn’t feel the need to let me (and I’m assuming other candidates) know.

      1. EngineeringFun*

        I applied to a consulting company that I currently worked with well, went through several rounds of interviews, HR told me they were sending me an offer letter and then 2 weeks went by with no contact. I got a call that I did not get the job. It sucked but thank god they told me!

      2. alienor*

        I applied for a job last summer and went through a couple of rounds of interviews. Then things started getting complicated in my personal life, so I contacted the recruiter and said I’d enjoyed meeting everyone so far, but something had come up and so I should probably withdraw from the process. The recruiter begged me not to do that and to please keep interviewing because everyone had really liked me, and reluctantly I agreed. After several more interviews (including one with a very senior executive) I was told “We’re so excited about you, we’ll be in touch ASAP, etc etc” and then…nothing. I followed up with the recruiter twice over the course of a couple of months, and then wrote it off and moved on. I still wonder what happened, though–did they hire someone else? Did the position get eliminated? Did they run out of hiring budget? Did the last person I spoke to secretly hate me? I guess we’ll never know!

        1. Loredena*

          After. Spent the day in Colorado. Flew home to Chicago. Never heard from them again. In retrospect that was a huge bullet dodged and my life has gone in a better direction but it was pretty demoralizing. I was ghosted with three different jobs at the final stage (including one I flew to TN at my own expense) during that job hunt but that one stung the most

    5. Still Angry After All These Years*

      I once was ghosted by a former boss of mine at my own company after going through a 9-month, 7-round interview process and making it down to the final 3 candidates. I had been begged to apply, promised the job was mine, and then strung along for ages before hearing through the grapevine that someone else was eventually hired instead of me. I sent a letter EXACTLY like the one Alison suggested here. It burned a bridge with my former boss for sure. But it was worth it. After the way I was treated I was never going to work for her again anyway!

    6. The OTHER Other*

      Yeah, the more contact/effort spent by the candidate, the worse it is to ghost them. It’s not such a big deal when you don’t hear back after just sending in a resume and cover letter (though a “thanks for applying but…” email would be nice), but after an interview and especially after multiple rounds, ghosting on candidates is increasingly unprofessional.

      Unfortunately there’s not much to do about it except what Alison suggested, and perhaps Glassdoor so others applying are aware of how the company treats potential hires.

    7. Now a grandma*

      The interview back in 2007 was very positive and there were broad hints that I more than fit what they were seeking. They even introduced me to the people with whom I would work and showed me the desk for the position.
      They had one more interview the next day but the vibe I caught was that I offered more skills and experience than other candidates and had the big advantae of being able to start immediately. The decision would be made quickly because they really needed someone ASAP.
      Then silence. I left a couple of polite phone messages and sent an e-mail. When I was offered another position, I sent one last e-mail to let them know I had another offer. Still nothing and I moved on.
      Nearly two years later I figured out why I was ghosted when some info came out about the organization and its leadership. The place was essentially “the canary in a coal mine” for the troubles in the financial sector. Putting together info from several sources, it was clear that I was interviewd just a couple of days before an unexpected and secret hiring freeze was imposed to help shore up the organization. In the next year a large number of staff were laid off and I likely would have ben in that number. In this case being ghosted worked out for me down the road.

    8. MissDisplaced*

      Eh! Given that it’s more common to have a phone screen + one to three interviews, I can’t say I feel too shocked or angry to not hear back after the first interview.
      However, It would piss me off if I had done more than the one interview and/or invested a significant amount of testing or time. Then they really owe it to applicants to let them know as quickly as possible.

      1. londonedit*

        That’s industry/location-specific, I think – in my industry (book publishing) it’s not common to have a phone screen at all, and there are usually only two interviews. The first interview pool is usually pretty small, and it’s not like it’s just an HR thing – you’ll interview with senior people from the department you’ll actually be working with. I’ve never been ghosted after an interview, because by that point it’s like ‘send rejections to six people, take four people forward to second interview, make a decision out of those’. But the industry I work in isn’t very corporate and tends to be quite old-fashioned in some of its processes. What is common is that there’ll be a disclaimer at the bottom of most job adverts that says ‘We expect to receive a high volume of applications for this position and regret we cannot respond to every one; only successful applicants will be contacted with an invitation to interview’, and/or sometimes they’ll give dates for first interviews (‘first interviews will be held w/c 28th February 2022’) so you know that if you haven’t heard by then, you’re not getting an interview. So I wouldn’t expect to hear back from an application, but I would expect to hear one way or the other after a first interview.

  2. KHB*

    The last time someone (not an employer – my landlord) went from promptly answering my emails to complete radio silence, it turned out he was in the hospital. I called his phone number, got ahold of his wife, and got my issue sorted out.

    It seems like a phone call would be the natural next step here, too, and from the wording of the letter, it sounds like that hasn’t yet been tried. Is there a reason why not?

    1. Rolly*

      Two contacts on the other side have not taken action. I cannot imagine both are out of commission with no one covering for them, so don’t see the point of the a phone call.

      The OP should recognize they are already communicating by not responding (see Paul Watzlawick’s first axiom of communications). That’s the message. And it’s cowardly.

      1. voluptuousfire*

        Also not to mention many companies do the lion’s share of their communication by email. Chances are the OP doesn’t have a phone number for the recruiter. A phone call would be moot.

      2. KHB*

        Given that the world is in the middle of a major wave of infectious disease, I find it very possible to imagine that multiple key people could be out of commission at the same time.

        Is that the most likely explanation? I don’t know, maybe not. Maybe the offer is taking longer to pull together than they’d anticipated, and each contact is assuming that the other one would fill OP in on the details. Maybe once they’d already dragged on past OP’s stated timeline, they assumed that they’d lost her. Maybe the whole company got caught up in an emergency that required everybody to drop everything else they were doing and put out fires.

        You say you don’t see the point of a phone call, but I don’t see the point of not making a phone call. Especially since OP’s very question is whether there’s anything she can do to take back a bit more agency.

        1. I'm just here for the cats*

          if that was the case there should at least be an auto response saying they are out of the office unexpectedly and to contact X person. Or there should be someone else who has all of the details, and be able to reach out.

          Maybe the person’s friend who referred them can reach out for them to find out?

          1. Rolly*

            “Given that the world is in the middle of a major wave of infectious disease, I find it very possible to imagine that multiple key people could be out of commission at the same time”

            It’s not like mid-2020 – organizations know stuff is happening and should be able to deal with it on some level. Maybe not as fast or as easily as pre-pandemic, but two people w/o auto-replies or forwarding on a job offer?

            No, they are ghosting because there is no job offer.

            The issue now is not trying to find out about a job offer that doesn’t exist, but rather if it’s worth moving or or expressing annoyance – the aspects AAM wrote about.

            1. JSPA*

              This is very different from place to place. It’s not just a question of fringe elements; mainstream papers have been addressing Omicron very differently, from place to place. And the timing and intensity of past waves was similarly quite different, from region to region.

              I’m not surprised to find that some companies have (again) been caught out.

              Even our local blood donor center is not requiring masks of their staff (and then bellyaching how donations are dropping off, when desperately needed).

              1. Loulou*

                Maybe I’m thrown off by nesting, but this seems like a nonsequitur? I don’t think Rolly was saying every company had great contingency plans in place for when staff got sick (mine sure didn’t), just that this isn’t some extreme weather event where no one has power and it seems likely that SOMEONE could send a courtesy email explaining the delay.

            2. names are hard*

              I thought I was ghosted in Jan/December, but no, HR had Covid and my offer came like 3 or 4 weeks later than promised. It’s not a huge company. One HR person who was out sick. I could have reached out to management but I just assumed I was ghosted. I don’t think that’s as universal as you think.

      3. JSPA*

        If they’re working in person, then given Covid, it’s not anywhere as strange as it might otherwise be, for two people who work in the same office to perhaps be that sick at the same time.

        Or that they’re both waiting on someone in HR or budgeting, who’s sick, and doesn’t have someone to handle non-trivial functions in a fill-in capacity.

        Seems to me a fine reason to reach out in a tone of concern, rather than mild castigation, to someone a level up. “Normally I’d take silence as a negative answer. However, given how Covid has affected work processes these last two years, I’m reaching out to confirm that this is an intended silence, not a Covid-induced accidental mutual ghosting.”

        If you are patient, polite, and offer no hint of passive aggression, you’re more likely to hear something; even if the something is, “we cannot comment on the health of our employees, and [person] will get back to you on this when they are able” or “we have no record of any offer.”

    2. Nanani*

      They might not have a number to call, or they might be rightly wary about calling since abruptly calling with no scheduled phone interview often equals too-pushy gimmick candidate.

      1. KHB*

        1. The hiring manager is a friend of a friend. So even if the company has no publicly listed phone number and at no point gave OP a phone contact for anyone, maybe the mutual friend could help track one down.

        2. This is at the stage of having been interviewed and having been promised an offer. I don’t think there’s any danger of coming across as overly pushy or gimmicky – it’s perfectly reasonable to ask “Hey, should I still be expecting that offer you promised me, or should I go ahead and take the other offer I already have?”

        1. Amaranth*

          I would definitely talk to the mutual friend, who would likely know if there is a major Life Event in play or could reach out personally since they made the original connection. But I do think that if OP has a phone number it would be fine to reach out, rather than find out down the road that their email address suddenly was put on a spam filter or those two people have been ill. Weird things happen.

        2. Insert Clever Name Here*

          Yeah, I’m actually surprised that “ask your friend if they can see if there’s an update” wasn’t part of the advice.

    3. Smithy*

      For my line of work, cold calling is outside of business norms – even with people you work with in an otherwise friendly fashion.

      Even when I had an office phone, I had so few cold calls that in my last few in-office years – if the phone number didn’t make it obvious who it was, I’d screen the call because it was so unlikely I’d have an unscheduled call. And generally speaking, I checked my voice mail maybe once a week. Maybe. Much like sending snail mail, leaving voice mail on a true office line – you’re going to get wide ranges of responsiveness.

      The other risk is that for many people working remotely, they now just provide their personal phone number as their work number. I personally don’t mind doing this because that number is used incredibly infrequently. But you again risk screening and potentially irritating someone (even if that irritation is that they’ve been forced by their employer to use their personal number as a work number).

      If you’re applying to a very small entity, I can see a personal follow-up. Similar to renting from an individual or small business. But any larger employer, the likelihood of being ghosted because someone’s fallen ill and that’s why your emails have gone unaddressed feels incredibly small.

      1. I'm just here for the cats*

        But is it really a cold call if they have already met and are waiting for an offer. I wouldn’t consider it a cold call. A cold call is someone you have never spoken with or met with calling, such as calling after filling out an application.

        I think its completely reasonable to give them a call, if they can find out a number.

        1. pancakes*

          I wouldn’t characterize a call in response to an application a cold call, either. There seems to be a lot of confusion around the phrase here, but the dictionary definition of cold call is, “an unsolicited visit or call to someone in an attempt to sell goods or services.” Applying for work with an employer is an attempt to sell your labor to them or at least elicit a response from them saying they’ll consider you.

        2. Smithy*

          You can replace “cold call” with “unscheduled call” – because that is how I was using the term, which I acknowledge is not the narrow dictionary term.

          It’s wildly outside the business norms for my industry, internally or externally and would be considered an aggressive approach to get someone’s attention.

          1. KHB*

            In my line of work, unscheduled phone calls are also rare (which is good for me, because I hate them). But most of us in this field would agree that sometimes an “aggressive approach to get someone’s attention” is appropriate – for example, when they promise to get back to you with something time-sensitive and then don’t.

    4. pancakes*

      In addition to what others have said, I don’t see any reason to believe that putting the employer on the spot about the supposedly-coming-soon offer with a phone call would work any better than inquiring about it via email has. Either they’re going to make up an excuse or let the call go to voicemail. They’re not going to make a verbal offer simply because the letter writer has rung up.

      1. KHB*

        Of course a phone call isn’t going to make them suddenly conjure up a finalized offer on the spot? But it might prompt them to say “Oh, I’m so sorry – we’re waiting on information from Brenda in accounting, and she’s off with COVID right now.” Or “Oh, I’m so sorry – the candidate of our dreams walked through our door five minutes after my last email to you, so we’re going to go with her.” Or whatever the explanation for the silence happens to be.

        1. pancakes*

          It would be a pretty big red flag for me as a candidate if they couldn’t be bothered to explain that Brenda in accounting was holding up the process in response to my email about having another offer but had no problem saying so if reached by phone. That would be weirdly sloppy or scatter-brained, in my industry at least.

            1. KHB*

              The way I see it, even if you’re right and the only possible explanation for their sudden silence is that they suddenly changed their mind about offering OP the job and are trying to get away with not having to tell her so, there’s STILL value in trying to get ahold of them over the phone, because it shows them that the practice of rejection-by-ghosting is not acceptable to you. They don’t want to make themselves the least little bit uncomfortable by emailing you that they changed their minds? Well, get them on the phone and see how uncomfortable they feel when you ask them point blank.

              I’m really not understanding all the anti-phone pushback here. From where I sit, OP really has nothing to lose by making a phone call. (And I’m saying this as somebody who generally hates making phone calls.)

              1. rolly*

                I didn’t use that word, but thanks for trying to make my idea more extreme. How about “instantly” – that’s every better.

                “is not acceptable to you. ”

                I didn’t say that, I said it was pointless because there is no job, and you brought up phoning by suggesting their might be a reason they are not able to respond. That is to say, now you are shifting to a different reason.

                “I’m really not understanding all the anti-phone pushback here. ”

                Oh well.

                If you think putting some pressure on the ghosters is appropriate (and it might well be, I agree, though your landlord story seems to have a different point), AAM has some good suggestions that don’t involve calling them and will seem more professional – going through mutual contacts.

      2. Beany*

        I’d consider the possibility that OP’s mails have been filtered to spam for some reason (and if that’s true, it’s likely to keep happening). Phone calls *don’t* get filtered to spam, so I think it’s at least possible that contact might actually happen that way.

    5. OP*

      Hi, original poster here. I have been in contact with both HR and the hiring manager, so I highly doubt both of them are off? I reached out again saying I have another offer and am still interested in working with them but need an answer, and it’s been nearly 24 hrs with no confirmation of receipt…

          1. KHB*

            In my line of work, “confirmation of receipt” is the language of emails, not phone messages. But I don’t know for sure, which is why the post you’re replying to has two question marks in it.

        1. OP*

          I haven’t yet. I have the hiring manager’s cell and we’ve communicated by text before this switched to a job interview. It feels REALLY aggressive to call or text, like I’m violating an unspoken rule? The hiring manager also didn’t answer my last thank you email…Should I do it?

          1. KHB*

            Even if there is an unspoken rule against ever making an unscheduled phone call to a work contact, is it really so powerful that it takes precedence over the unspoken rule against employers promising you an offer and then ghosting you? I don’t think it is – and I wouldn’t want to live in a world where anybody thinks it is.

            Assuming that this really is a ghosting (which I still think is possible but not certain), they were rude to you first. You have quite a lot of leeway in how you can respond and still retain the moral high ground.

            1. OP*

              Thanks – I’m ironing out details of the other offer and will plan to call the hiring manager and let her know that she only has till tomorrow before I move on. At this point it’s been over 48 hrs since I first sent the email AND I reached out to the friend to pick her brain on what was happening. Nothing from anyone.

      1. Amaranth*

        I would definitely pick up a phone, because I’ve had cases where my email started getting filtered into junk mail after years of communication. It seems unlikely, since they’d hopefully follow up again from their end, but at least you could put the uncertainty to rest.

        1. PT*

          I worked somewhere where there was a glitch in their email filter. If someone within the organization sent out an email with more than 3 external recipients, it would interpret it as a spam campaign and block that entire domain.

          Well, we had a ton of customer contacts, partner agencies, volunteers, and part-time front line employees who didn’t have company emails. So someone sending out a reminder about a monthly staff meeting to their part-timers, or soliciting volunteers for an event, could end up causing Gmail and Yahoo’s domain to be blocked for the entire 30-site company. And if it was a partner agency, say a school district we rented property from, an email to the principal, assistant principal, and facilities person about an issue at a school could block the whole county district from contacting us.

          It was ridiculous.

      2. Me*

        Hey – I’m sorry but they have given you their response by not responding to you.

        Is it fair? Absolutely not.

        If it helps look at it this way, do you want to work fro a company that treats prospective employees the way you have been treated?

        The fact is there is no offer. They said they were working on one and since then have not responded to your repeated attempts to communicate and not provided an offer.

        If you are interested in the offer you do have, proceed with that. Otherwise, keep looking.

          1. KSD20*

            Hi OP, how long has it been since their mention of the offer? Your letter doesn’t say so I’m just curious. If you don’t hear from them by Friday (which is 2 days from this post) then I’d probably move on. Good luck!

    6. Koala dreams*

      Yes, I agree with you. E-mails getting lost is such a commonplace thing. It might not matter so much for the job, presumably the employer would have called themselves if the offer still stands, but it’s still good practice to try another way to reach out if e-mails suddenly don’t get an answer.

    7. Kella*

      So, let’s say both of OP’s contacts are ill and unable to respond to emails. What does this change?

      It’s still the case that the contacts committed to a timeline and no one in the company ensured that the commitment was kept or gave updates about why it wasn’t. It would mean the company has zero safety net on following up with projects handled by employees that have fallen ill or become otherwise suddenly unavailable, which is a problem. It’s still the case that OP was left waiting with no offer. How long OP can afford to ask the other offer to wait isn’t any different. An important ball has been dropped, with no explanation, and that’s on the company regardless of the reason.

      And let’s say OP does call and does discover that their two contacts are both ill and out of the office. Then what? If the offer cannot proceed without these two employees, the only thing different is that OP will know for sure the offer isn’t proceeding, rather than having no information to suggest that the offer will proceed. And if it can proceed, why didn’t it before? If the company needs an individual job candidate to flag for them that their hiring process has halted, or else it won’t function, something is wrong.

  3. CatCat*

    You should also consider posting about your experience on Glassdoor.

    I’m about to do this myself. I wanted to wait until some months had passed so it was less likely to be recognizable as me (I mean, do these folks even remember particular people they’ve ghosted?) I see that an employer that ghosted me is hiring again for another of the same role. Seems prime time to comment on this issue on Glassdoor now.

    1. Batgirl*

      I think this would be a kindness to other job hunters before they waste their time. If people are dissuaded from applying the ghosters may be more inclined to actually take a look at themselves, and what Glassdoor says.

      1. Cold Fish*

        While I agree with you in spirit, I really don’t think companies would connect the dots and figure out it is their rude behavior reducing their applicant pool. Just like companies are claiming people don’t want to work rather than examining their payrate and working conditions.

        1. Imaginary Friend*

          The problem here and elsewhere is that we talk about “the company” when it’s actually individuals doing things or failing to do them. A company can’t think about multiple data points unless the multiple people involved get together to discuss the issue. And for that, someone needs to think it’s worth the time and effort (which always = money).

        2. Olivia Oil*

          To me, Glassdoor is primarily a resource for job candidates – not employers. Of course, employers could use it as a resource if they wanted to but let’s be real lol. I find Glassdoor super helpful when job searching. I also try to pay it forward by submitting my own reviews – good and bad – and submitting salary info.

      2. Metadata minion*

        This actually wouldn’t dissuade me from applying, though I’d appreciate the warning so I knew not to hold out for an answer. So long as other reviews said the working conditions themselves were good, ghosting on candidates is *so* common that I wouldn’t necessarily assume it indicated disrespect for employees in general. It’s crappy behavior, but I’m not going to ignore a good job posting because I know they might vanish on me after the interview if I’m not selected.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      I see that an employer that ghosted me is hiring again for another of the same role.

      This is the most annoying thing ever. And FWIW I look the company up on Glassdoor before every single application.

    3. Hazel*

      I agree. I’m glad that Glassdoor has “Interviews” as a category that can be reviewed for a company. During the time I was hiring, the hiring process was taking forever for one position, and I made sure to get back to people who had been interviewed to let them know that I basically had no news, apologize for the delay, and tell them I had not forgotten about them. It’s not hard with a template email that you copy and paste, and it’s really the least an employer should do.

      1. pancakes*

        The “Interviews” section there is news to me, but I’m poking around in another tab right now and it looks like it’s more general resources, not reviews of interviews at individual employers. It’s more like, “I’m a Cloud Support Engineer and here are interview questions I’m commonly asked,” not “here is a review of my interview at ________.”

        1. Hiring Mgr*

          If you’re talking about Glassdoor, Interview reviews are a major part of the platform – interviews for specific roles at specific companies with ratings etc. You should be able to see those along with the regular reviews

          1. pancakes*

            I see them now, thanks. I was looking under the Interviews section rather than at the regular reviews.

  4. Midwest writer*

    My husband recently took time off of work on two different occasions in December for job interviews and was given a specific date that the hiring team would be discussing the candidates. Two weeks after that date had passed, he emailed his contact who told him that the job had been filled and he should watch for future postings. He checked yesterday … and the same job had been reposted the day after he emailed that contact and got that response.
    Job hunting, even when you have a job, is the worst.

    1. Midwest writer*

      I guess I should add that I know that’s not ghosting. BUT … we don’t think they had any intention of telling him he wasn’t hired.

  5. Bosslady*

    I was once ghosted by a law firm after 3 interviews and a similar statement that I could expect an offer within the week. No response to a follow up email and call after 2 weeks. The awkward thing is I am still connected on LinkedIn to 2 of the partners and occasionally one “likes” things I post.

    1. OP*

      Original poster here – god, this is my nightmare. Have you ever considered asking them what happened, just out of curiosity? I might with the hiring manager down the line when I’m in a new role. Not accusatory, just curious.

      1. Amethystmoon*

        I’ve been in a few situations where the company just decided not to fill the role because of budget cuts. But still, they should send some sort of communication out.

        1. Grayson*

          Oh that happened to me after what I thought was a really good panel interview over Zoom. I had the interview in October 2021. They loved me, said they’d be in touch as they intended to make a quick hiring decision. Wrote them an email a business week after the interview. No updates says the recruiter. Wrote again two calendar weeks after that. Informed the position was put on hold.

          I should not have had to reach out to find that out, especially if I made it to the panel interview when THEY REACHED OUT TO ME IN THE FIRST PLACE.

      2. Bosslady*

        If I ever see one of them in person, like at a conference, I would likely ask nicely out of curiosity what happened with the position. I’m in a really niche field of consulting and could know who they ended up hiring. I’ve also wondered if the partners THOUGHT someone followed up with me?

  6. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    I’d hit that network contact right now. Maybe your friend knows something about the hiring manager (friend-of-friend) that you don’t – either in general or pertaining to your specific case.

    1. londonedit*

      Yes, I think if the OP hasn’t already had a quiet word with their friends-of-friends, they ought to do that – just in a ‘Hey, Llamas Inc said they’d be contacting me with an offer, but they’ve gone very quiet – is there something going on that I should know about?’ sort of way. It’s a tricky one to navigate because you don’t want your mutual friends to feel like you’re nagging them or trying to exercise some sort of undue influence over the situation, but in this case as long as it’s a polite ‘just wondered what’s up’ query I don’t think it’d hurt.

    2. V. Anon*

      If I referred someone to a job, and it went so well that the someone was told to expect an offer, and then were ghosted?! I would have a pretty sharp convo with the people I connected with offering to never send them a good candidate again. I would call them up and say, “You are a cheese. From now on you stand alone.”

      1. pancakes*

        A sharp convo, yes, but it would have more credibility to say you’re not going to send them any more candidates than to insinuate that no one else ever will either! “You stand alone” is over-the-top.

          1. Goldenrod*

            This is amazing. “You are a cheese” is such a confusing insult, they would probably be puzzled for days!

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I don’t think they meant they would say that literally. It read as hyperbole to me. And I now desperately want to use “You are a cheese and you stand alone” in a conversation, lol.

          1. V. Anon*

            I would absolutely say it, but that’s because people in my circle know my sense of humor. Being called a cheese would be an appropriate chatisement, coming from me. And I do not wield enough power in this world for anyone to think I’m proclaiming *no one* will make referrals to them!

    3. OP*

      Original poster here. It’s actually a friend of friend of friend. I reached out to the friend of friend to say the offer was held up. I didn’t ask a question, but she also never answered me…

      1. pancakes*

        Was that the entirety of your message? If I received a message that didn’t say anything more than that, I would probably assume “the offer was held up” meant “they communicated to me that the offer is held up,” not that they’re ghosting you.

      2. Shirley Keeldar*

        Hey, OP, I’m sorry that you’re getting quite a few comments that seems/feel quite critical of your attempts to reach out to this company—if you’d said this and not that, if you’d called rather than emailed, if you’d talked to this person rather than that one…. It seems silly to me. This company has your contact info and you’ve clearly demonstrated interest (first of all by applying and interviewing, second by following up). They can get in touch with you if they want to. The problem here isn’t that you’re missing the one perfect way to follow up that would magically make this all work. The problem is that this company isn’t making the slightest effort to respond to you.

        1. pancakes*

          I don’t disagree with any of this. It wasn’t my intention to insinuate that wording the email to the friend of a friend of a friend more clearly would result in an offer; I just wanted to say that I wouldn’t have taken it to mean the OP is being ghosted, and that it might be worth clarifying if you want them to know.

          1. Shirley Keeldar*

            I get it, and I wasn’t picking on your comment in particular, pancakes…just wanting to reassure the OP that she’s not Doing Interview Follow-Up Wrongly.

        2. KHB*

          I mean…OP’s whole question was, basically, “what else can I be doing here other than what I’ve already done?” And so people are responding with advice about what she can do other than what she’s already done. That doesn’t seem silly to me.

          To be clear, there’s nothing you can do to make a company want to hire you if they’ve already decided they don’t want to hire you. So if that’s what you mean by “magically make this all work,” then no, there’s no way to do that. But if instead the goal is to push back against companies who ghost job applicants (or to get clarity on whether this really is a case of ghosting, which it might or might not be), then there’s plenty of useful advice here.

          1. Kella*

            The advice around calling instead of emailing, or saying something different to the other contact seems to all be aimed at what OP can do in order to get a response from the company, or to find out what happened. That’s not what OP asked for help with. OP asked if there is any *recourse* in the event a company is rude to you in the hiring process in this specific way.

  7. LifeBeforeCorona*

    In the Before Pandemic times I was ghosted on almost every job interview I went on. During Pandemic times several of these employers reached out to me out of the blue because they are desperate for workers (healthcare-related field). It’s a pleasure to say no, thank you.

      1. LifeBeforeCorona*

        I’m tempted to respond with “Since I never heard back from you, I accepted another position. You snooze, you lose.”

    1. anonymous73*

      I would have to bring the snark. “I’d love to but considering you ghosted me after an interview a few years back, I’m going to have to say no.”

  8. LDN Layabout*

    I feel like it’s one of those situations which is horrible to go through as a jobseeker but whether it’s worth the ‘fight’ to get recourse is going to depend on a bunch of variables. In the LW’s case I wouldn’t contact them again, but I would be letting my contacts know about the whole situation.

    OTOH, I am currently in the middle of a very protracted process where the ball has been dropped a number of times. There are mitigating circumstances but my frustrating is at ranting levels. However, since I don’t want to burn bridges, that ranting goes one way, towards family and friends.

  9. Lora*

    Yep. Tell your friends. Something may have somehow fallen through the cracks – at OldJob, hiring managers and HR hiring reps were not only not on the same page, they weren’t even in the same library – but I’ve also had jobs, plural, where they claimed to be putting an offer on the table and only managed to get it together until I told them, on Friday at 3pm I will be accepting Other Offer. Then they magically get it together at 2:59.

    It seems to be mostly employers imagining it is still 2009 and they just can’t be bothered to be efficient in their business processes, it’s not a priority to make recruiting and onboarding more streamlined because there’s no obvious impact that can be attributable to such a project.

    1. OP*

      I reached out to both the hiring manager and HR letting them know I have another offer yesterday, and it’s been 24 hrs. Like why can’t you acknowledge my message and at least say you’re working on it or something??

      1. hbc*

        24 hours isn’t that much time, especially since it could be a couple of people randomly out, or them not wanting to get back to you until they wrap up the offer which they’ll have any minute now, or (in my experience from the hiring side) a bigwig who shouldn’t even be involved throwing a wrench in the works. It’s kind of hard to compose the email “I really want to get you here, but the owner is being a doink about your [commute/weight/previous company/whatever] and I’m trying to distract him with something shiny.”

        Don’t get me wrong, they should have been getting back to you before this. But since it’s so urgent, I think you need to do one or both of the following: 1) Call the people you know until someone gives you some idea of what’s going on–even if what’s happening is disorganization, and 2) Write another email saying you have to have an offer in hand by x:00 or you’re going to have to go with the other company.

      2. Petty Patty*

        It’s possible your emails are now getting caught in a spam filter. Might be worth a phone call to make sure.

      3. HR gal*

        Have you been emailing them repeatedly to try to get a response? If it’s only been 24 hours I think you are being a little demanding! I work in a department with a lot of email enquiries and sometimes people just spam us with repeated emails as if that will help the matter and it can come across as very aggressive. Not hearing back from someone, especially during a global pandemic when many people are getting sick, within 24 hours is not “ghosting” and I would cool it on the emails.

  10. __ID__*

    My husband was ghosted by…wait for it…my employer, a regional bank in the Midwest. I’d worked there for 5-ish years at this point and he more than met the qualifications and had multiple interviews. (The Job would not have had any contact with me – it was a 12,000 person company at this point.)

    Needless to say, I don’t work there anymore.

    1. pancakes*

      I don’t think that’s extra terrible, given the size of the employer. It wouldn’t be fair for candidates to have a leg up noted in their system simply by being married to someone who already works there.

      1. All the words*

        Banking (and mortgage) workflow can fluctuate wildly. Today I’m discretely keeping myself entertained. Most of the summer it was mandatory overtime for everyone. Many of the lower level jobs can be quickly learned and don’t require extensive industry specific background. It’s not uncommon for agencies to run out of candidates to send us, so the word goes out to staff “if you know someone who would do well with this job, have them apply.”

        In scenarios like this, nobody’s being denied an opportunity. Sometimes a company just has that many positions to fill.

        1. pancakes*

          If they’re just putting warm bodies in seats in a frantic effort to meet the targets of stock market analysts they’re going to get in trouble sooner or later, though, like the stagecoach bank did.

        2. _ID_*

          The issue here was that he was ghosted after multiple high-level interviews. Just send a rejection email or something! Really rude after all the time he invested and the fact that I worked there should have at least merited a “thanks but no thanks” email.

    2. RagingADHD*

      Why is it needless to say?

      I’m not sure if you meant it this way, but the way you worded that sounds like you’re mad they didn’t give him a nepotism boost. Which would be a pretty skeevy thing to quit over.

      1. _ID_*

        I didn’t say that I quit over this and I would ask you to consider your word choice here, as “skeevy” is a word I’d reserve for people who are borderline inappropriate at cocktail parties. I wasn’t mad about the missed chance for “nepotism” and didn’t expect him to get the job because I worked there – I was very annoyed that he had multiple interviews and then got ghosted. That was my understanding of the point of this thread.

  11. BA*

    Generally, I’d agree with just moving on, saying nothing more and accepting the other job if you’re interested in it. However, the suggestion that was made to talk to your friend now versus later, just to see if there are circumstances that are causing the delay, makes a lot of sense. You don’t want to walk away if an emergency has slowed the process, and your friend might have more insights. “Hey ____, I haven’t heard back from them in a bit. Is there anything you’re aware of going on for them that might be keeping them out of work?”

    If there are no outstanding circumstances, definitely say something in a professional, courteous way. It is worth pointing out that their search process leaves a lot to be desired. While they may not like to hear the hard truth, it may very well be that it saves them some challenges in the future because they’re probably losing out on candidates they like because they have a crummy (in communication and speed) process. Engage your friend in this communication, too. You can be candid with them and they’ll be able to be much more candid with their friend.

  12. Anon for today*

    I just posted last week in the open post about getting ghosted after getting an email asking me for times to schedule an initial interview call. :/ It’s the fact that they reached out to me and then disappeared that really gets to me. I would still be annoyed but at least somewhat expect it if it was after the interview. (I sent one follow-up after my initial response, but I’ve written it off now.)

    1. Ghosting after initiating*

      I hate that. I’ve gotten an email from a person wanting to set up an interview. Then nothing. No interview or anything. Like you reached out to me. I was better off not having heard anything.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      In early November, I had someone reach out to me about a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT job than the one I applied for, schedule an interview on Google Meet, and then ghost me. I sent two emails, waited for 20 minutes, and then logged off.

      Not a peep, to this day. I mean, I hope the person didn’t die of COVID or anything, but you would think if something happened to her, HR or somebody would have notified anyone she had meetings with.

      Either way, the company went on my HellToTheNo list. I will never apply there again.

      1. Hazel*

        I used to think that if the hiring process sucked, it didn’t necessarily mean that the company or job would suck. And that was actually my experience. But I think things have changed! I had a great interviewing/hiring experience in my last two positions, and they are great places to work! I don’t think a company can get away with giving their hiring process short shrift and assuming that it won’t turn off prospective employees.

        1. Dragon*

          I think it was H. Anthony Medley, author of “Sweaty Palms: The Neglected Art of Being Interviewed”, whose friend was going to drop a company after a miserable initial interview with HR.

          Medley convinced him not to judge the company by one employee. The friend was hired as a financial VP, and five years later became company president.

    3. anonymous73*

      I just chalk that stuff up to recruiters trying to fill a quota. I don’t let it bother me at all. I had a recruiter contact me on LinkedIn yesterday about a Construction Project Manager role. I am a Project Manager but have only worked in IT which is 100% clear on my profile. I messaged her back and let her know that I wasn’t actively looking but always open to pursuing better opportunities, but that I had no Construction PM experience. Crickets. But I expected that because clearly she didn’t bother to fully read anything about me.

      1. ThisIsTheHill*

        Same. One of my former titles had “Installation” in it (healthcare-adjacent data work); I had a recruiter reach out saying I was perfect for a job installing windows – not the program, the ones made of glass – in homes. Clearly their data mining hit on that one word on my LinkedIn & they didn’t bother to read further.

        Sent them a polite “thanks, but no” & didn’t get so much as an “OK”.

        1. Kyrielle*

          Yup. I have a couple keywords in my LinkedIn that get me periodic offers of work with computer chip design (EE stuff) and/or architecture.

          I do not remotely have the background for either of these things. Only a bot could ever think that was a reasonable match. But I know exactly which (relevant to my experience in another industry!) acronyms are causing those messages.

        2. DJ Abbott*

          Why do you bother replying to these? They’re spamming everyone they can find, they’re not going to notice if you don’t reply.
          I did the first few times before I realized what they’re doing, now I don’t bother.

      2. Anon for today*

        This one was internal Human Resources, though, in response to an application I had sent in.

    4. Erika22*

      Way back when I was a new grad I had gotten an invitation to have an initial telephone interview with a company I would have loved to work for. The day/time for the call came and went. I tried calling them, tried emailing, then followed up, and nothing! I was really hurt; I didn’t realise how common ghosting was at that point (though I don’t think it was quite as common as it is nowadays) but it stung to not even get a reply regarding the missed phone interview.

  13. __ID__*

    One of my favorite and more petty stories from my past was when I was out of work and applied for several jobs at my undergrad alma mater. It’s a very large school, (over 40,000 students) so I had applied for about 30 similar types of jobs in about a six month period. These were entry-level jobs and I was not long out of school so at the time I didn’t think that that was excessive. (Think jobs like an admissions counselor, which they were always in need of.)

    Whatever the reason, and despite meeting the qualifications, I never even got an interview. I did, however, receive about 30 rejection letters.

    The next time I got a letter from the alumni Association asking for a donation, I bundled up the 30 rejection letters and sent them back. I included a terse cover letter to indicate that the reason for my lack of a donation was the lack of even a courtesy interview. that was 30 years ago, and they still don’t get it donation from me. (cue evil laugh)

    1. Burnt In Screensaver*

      Every time I get a letter asking me to donate, I check how the school treats trans students. They still force trans kids to bunk with their assigned gender, so they get nothing from me.

      1. NotMy(Fancy)RealName*

        I told the student calling me for donations to my undergrad school that I wouldn’t donate until they changed their stance on non-binary students (women’s college, trans women ok, non-binary not ok).

      2. __ID__*

        Good for you!

        Interestingly, my grandfather attended the same school many years ago as a nontraditional student. He worked at night in a factory to pay for his tuition. He was a first generation American and English was his second language. The one time that he ever asked for any kind of an extension on a deadline, they turned him down, even though they knew he worked full-time.

        Guess how much he donated as an alum?

    2. Esmeralda*

      Eh. A university with 40K students? They can’t just give you a courtesy interview. Otherwise they’d be doing nothing but courtesy interviews of alums all day every day. (I work at a university about that size. It’s hard enough fending off the profs who think we ought to courtesy interview their friends and former students regardless of qualification; we really don’t have time to courtesy interview all of the alums who apply on their own)

      They did send you a rejection notice, so…not ghosted.

      You don’t have to donate to your alma mater of course. But if that’s the only reason…

      1. FORMERHigherEdPerson*

        Totally agree here – as someone who used to work in Higher Ed. Doing courtesy interviews just because it was an alum that applied is a huge time suck. And it leads to the expectation that EVERY alum who applies for ANY job gets a courtesy interview, regardless of qualifications. For us, first round interviews were a 30 minute phone call. So if I had a handful of alumni applying, I’d waste a few hours on courtesy interviews that I knew weren’t going anywhere – leading on a candidate and wasting everyone’s time.

        1. __ID__*

          Understood – but if courtesy to your Alumni is a “waste of time“, just don’t ask me for money.

      2. Zudz*

        Yeah this reads super weird to me. The university went through the process… pretty much exactly the way people in this thread are asking for. They made a decision, then they sent a letter letting the applicant know.

        If anything, speaking as a hypothetical member of the university’s HR, this would make me say “See? We shouldn’t be sending people letters. We put in the effort to be half-way decent and it just gets thrown in our face. Why even bother?”

        Donate or don’t however you like. This just seems… backwards.

        1. rolly*

          ‘If anything, speaking as a hypothetical member of the university’s HR, this would make me say “See? We shouldn’t be sending people letters. We put in the effort to be half-way decent and it just gets thrown in our face. Why even bother?”’

          Good point.

        2. __ID__*

          Nope. They made a business decision about me – “do not interview”. I made a business decision about them – “do not donate”. If my skills are not good enough for you, neither is my money. Easy decision.

          I still love the place as my alma mater and enjoy the sports events and homecoming from time to time, etc., but my donations go elsewhere.

  14. Atlantis*

    I once flew to another state on my own dime for a job interview, as they wouldn’t pay for travel costs. It was for a stage agency and they were explicit in their communications what the salary for the position was and they wouldn’t reimburse or pay for travel. I traveled down, did the interview, which I thought went decently well, and emailed the interviewers the next morning to thank them. Never heard from them again.

    I was very fortunate that I had the ability to pay for that flight and was able to stay with family while there, so I didn’t have to pay for a rental or hotel, but it’s so infuriating to think back on now. I was a graduate student, and the cost of that trip easily could have been equivalent to a month of rent, which not too many people would have been able to do. Beyond rude to have candidates do that and never contact us again.

    A month after I returned from that interview, another agency within the same state reached out to conduct an interview with me for a similar position I applied for. However, about a week before I was supposed to fly, they contacted me to say the state budget had been passed, and that they lost the funding for the position I was applying for. So, it’s possible that the first agency had the same issue, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as irritating if they had contacted me after to say they had lost the position due to budget cuts as opposed to ghosting.

    I have told numerous people this story, and will almost certainly not apply for that agency in the future.

  15. anon e mouse*

    I just got ghosted by a prestigious tech company last month, one that likes to make a big show of its professional/science-informed interview process and of keeping candidates in the loop, lol

  16. She of Many Hats*

    If you were seriously considering the other offer prior to the issues with the Ghost Co, I might send one more email say “I have not heard back regarding the offer discussed on Date. I am still extremely interested in this position but unless I hear from you by EOB today, I will be moving forward with the other offer. Thank you for your time and best wishes.”

  17. Non techy tech editor*

    This happened to me many years ago. I interviewed for a job with the newspaper and they gave me a “try out” story to write. They agreed to pay me their freelance rate either way. I did the story, and they ran it. Minimal editing, so they must’ve thought I did a decent job. I never heard from the paper again. No job offer, no payment for the story I wrote, despite many follow ups. Probably 25 years ago and I still get annoyed thinking about it

  18. miss chevious*

    As someone who is currently hiring, I have immense sympathy for the OP, especially as they were told to expect an offer. Candidates that reach that point — which should only be two or three in number, at most — are owed the courtesy of an email, to my mind, because of the time that was invested on both sides.

    On the other hand, one the candidates I spoke to once contacted me approximately twelve times in the course of a two week period to get “updates” even though I made clear that the timeline was longer than that due to some bureaucratic processes. If he hadn’t already been out of the running for other reasons, that would have done it.

  19. Worker Bee 83*

    Remember – if you call this company out for being crappy to you now, you may lose out on future opportunities for them to possibly hire and treat you crappy for 40+ hours per week.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      I got rejected by them. Still eat the cookies (I support GS but not BS because of their homophobic d!cksh!ttery).


  20. Shan*

    I think I’ve told this story here before, but a few years ago, I interviewed for a job with someone I’d worked with before. Not a friend, but we’d gotten along well. Interview went great! She called me up a few days later, asked to go for coffee to chat about what my preferences would be for the position (the two of us would have flexibility to shape it), told me I was one of two candidates and I was the favourite, and told me to expect a call soon.

    And then… nothing. At all. And because they was someone I knew, and that was part of my network, I think it actually made me feel MORE awkward about following up? So I just… didn’t. It’s a niche industry, and I was able to tell pretty quickly that the position just never came into being. We were in a downturn at the time, so that wasn’t a huge surprise. And it actually turned out for the best – shortly after, I got hired on full-time at the company I’d had a contract with, and I really like my current position. And a couple years later, my former coworker emailed me for something work related, and casually slipped in that it was a good thing it hadn’t worked out, because the company wasn’t doing great.

    But it still would have been nice for them to tell me! I would have been disappointed, but understanding. Instead, I just felt weird about it for ages.

      1. Shan*

        I definitely didn’t love it! I kept worrying I’d bump into her at an industry event and just have us both melt into puddles of awkward, but (fortunately?), the previously mentioned downturn meant there weren’t any. And now it’s been enough years that I don’t care.

        I hope you get an answer soon!

  21. Junior*

    My husband was ghosted by his supposedly-future manager after receiving a verbal offer, accepting said offer… And then the written version never appeared. He had another offer on the table, and eventually took it. It was an awful, stressful time, and I’m still shocked she ghosted him.
    In this case, it wasn’t HR. His recruiter at the org kept calling him, in tears, because the manager he’d be working under kept ducking her calls, locked her office door, wouldn’t return emails.
    Honestly I felt worse for the recruiter – she’d been great to work with, and to be stonewalled in that way would be terrible.

      1. Amaranth*

        True. I wonder if she didn’t have final hiring authority — or was supposed to and was humiliated when someone higher filled the position.

        1. Junior*

          The way it played out was so bizarre, we think she might have been threatened by his management aspirations. In the end we’re both very glad it didn’t work out.

        2. RhondaDawnAnon*

          I’ve known two different people in the last decade who have had verbal offers rescinded because it turned out the person who made them didn’t have formal authority to do it. (One was from the headquarters of a very large, prestigious nonprofit organziation that I’m sure AAM readers have donated to). In both cases, my friends fortunately hadn’t submitted notice to their current employers, but I find it completely and utterly baffling that any professional workplace could be that disorganized.

      2. Junior*

        Absolutely. He’d made it clear in his interview for a senior position that he had management aspirations, and I think she got nervous.

  22. A Simple Narwhal*

    I definitely recommending reaching out to your friend, they’ll probably say something/investigate and it will carry more weight coming from them with no negative reflection on you. My husband recommended a (very highly-qualified) friend to another department in his company a few years ago. They went through several in-person interviews and then…nothing. When my husband found out from the friend that they had been ghosted, he ripped the hiring person a new one. It’s bad enough to ghost a general applicant, it’s extra awful to ghost someone who has been recommended by an employee. Especially since sooo many companies desperately try to incentivize their employees to recommend people, but all the referral bonuses aren’t going to matter if you treat referrees poorly, which embarrasses the referrer and potentially burns a bridge/makes them look bad. Why should they risk that on the company’s behalf?

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      This is a good point about relationships–the company might squirm and fear consequences if a valued current manager, valued customer, etc wants to rip them a new one about what assholes they’re being. Any attempt at that from the person they decided to ghost is just going to read as evidence that they were right to pull back.

  23. HotSauce*

    This has always been crappy and now that there’s such a demand for employees and the shoe is on the other foot I admit I’m slightly amused by the outrage from the employers.

    1. NotAnotherManager!*

      I’m on the employer side, and I am also amused. You can’t treat people like crap and then be surprised when they take a page from your book. Our head of HR has a no-ghosting policy for any candidate who’s had personal contact with an internal recruiter (phone screens, interviews, etc.). There is a mandatory check-in/update date with each contact, and they’re expected to track those and follow up, even if the follow up is that we’re waiting for X to make a decision. I would be mortified if I (usually a final-stage meeting) interviewed a candidate and HR never let them know that they didn’t get the job. I get comments all the time about what a pleasant experience candidates have with our HR recruiters and how responsive they are, and I just don’t see why that level of common courtesy is so unusual.

  24. Ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

    I once was interviewed for a job where I was one of four candidates chosen from a “gazillion” applications and was interviewed by three people, who of whom had an uncommon HR professional designation/certification on his business card.

    No news for about two weeks. Then a job offer came in from a different employer. I called the first place to follow up to see if they were still interested in my candidature, as I had another offer on my plate. I was good to take on either one as both were mat leave replacements.

    Still no news. Never had news. We were only FOUR candidates, and one of the interviewers was a fancy HR specialist. Surely one of the three people who saw me could have called or sent an email. Nope.

    I’ve been ghosted a LOT and it was just the way job hunting happened. But that particular one was more annoying than most.

    1. Cattlegirl*

      You’re right, some ghostings are more annoying than average. My personal favorite was when I applied and interviewed, and was told I had the job, before being ghosted by……..a ghost tour company.

  25. MK*

    I am all for speaking out against rudeness, but get it clear in your mind that all it’s going to accomplish is maybe make you feel a bit better ( it may also make your feel even more disrespected, if they are dismissive of your complaint). But it won’t give you back any agency, whatever that means in this situation.

    1. Been there, done that*

      Exactly. They aren’t going to make you an offer just because you call them out on their rudeness. And it might even hurt you down the line because it’s a small world especially in some areas and in some fields. It sucks that you really don’t have any recourse but it’s probably better to suck it up and count it as one of the many frustrating and sometimes demoralizing things about job hunting.

    2. CM*

      I really wouldn’t in this situation. It’s not going to accomplish anything positive.
      My preference is to be polite but straightforward and say, “I appreciated talking to you. My understanding was that you were going to extend a written offer that I could consider along with an offer from another organization. Since I have not received that offer or heard from you, I plan to move forward with the other offer. Thanks for your time.”

  26. L. Ron Jeremy*

    I just saw on Reddit yesterday about a person who accepted a new job (written offer), completed the onboarding process during his last two weeks at old employer and logged on to start his first day, to only receive a message from HR that the team had discussed him and his new position and that, unfortunately, were withdrawing the job.

    “Best wishes on your job search!”


      1. NotAnotherManager!*


        This is a horrifically crappy and possibly illegal thing to do and should have come with some sort of severance or other compensation for the wasted time and unexpectedly pulling the job. I can’t even imagine what kind of jerk would do that and with nothing more than a “best wishes with your search”? Nope.

        I do think they may have a case for actual harm/losses and would at least send a nasty lawyer letter to the employer.

        1. DJ Abbott*

          In my state if you have a accepted an offer in writing and quit your job and the new employer pulls the offer, you’re eligible for unemployment compensation.

  27. Working in the Boo Box*

    I will say that I once did chastise a potential employer. I was given an offer and a start date, paperwork, the whole nine. I was packing to move to another state, where my brother happened to live, for the job. I then asked about an afternoon off to attend my brother’s wedding, which I also made clear that I was asking, not informing, and they rescinded the whole job. Just for asking about a half day off. I emailed in confusion, asking for clarification, and they said “yeah, we decided it wasn’t a good fit.” After several interviews, back and forths, and an offer, all of the sudden I wasn’t a good fit? I told them that it was unprofessional, I am highly disappointed in how they handled a reasonable request, and that I will let people know about how they handled this.

    I have never tried to work for them again. I haven’t had much blowback in my career from that email. I also hear of people with bad experiences with them, so I guess it was for the best.

    I am not sure if they ever changed their process or anything, or even if the people handling that are still working there. So I am not sure if my email to them got to their hearts, but I did feel better about letting them know that I know that what they did was wrong.

    I did go to my brother’s wedding.

  28. Falling Diphthong*

    Is that truly a job seeker’s only recourse here?
    You can’t make people interact with you. (Short of things like going down to their offices, climbing atop the receptionist’s desk, and launching into the entire Beastie Boys back catalogue.) Sometimes they really should (here) and sometimes the hope of communication is unfounded (getting women’s phone numbers off their dogs’ collars). But ultimately, one side can often nope right out of the interaction. And the solution for the remaining person is to sigh and move on.

    You can decide a bridge is burned and if they ever try to call you in future, you will laugh maniacally for exactly 13.5 seconds and then hang up. You can spend a weekend morning trying to figure out how to render the above over email. But ultimately, living well is usually your only revenge option here. Anything more pointed is much less likely to elicit “Darn, they are so right calling me out on my bs” than “Whew, bullet dodged there.”

    Basically, they’re acting like people who don’t care what you think of them because there will be no relationship going forward.

    1. ThursdaysGeek*

      Well written and good point. Any extra effort to let them know of the rudeness will reflect more on me than on them. Or, as Miss Manners would say: you can’t tell someone they are being rude, because that is rude.

    2. SnappinTerrapin*

      Getting women’s phone numbers from their dogs’ collars?

      I suspect there is a good story behind that.

    3. New Jack Karyn*

      I know you want to Fight for Your Right, but it seems like an office visit of that nature might Sabotage one’s chances.

  29. Hattie McDoogal*

    I recently got ghosted for a job I’d interviewed for multiple times. They sounded very enthusiastic about me, told me I was one of “a handful” of finalists and that they’d make their decision within a week, and then radio silence. “A handful” to me means, like, 3-5, so how dang hard would it be to send out a form email to all of us? Incredibly frustrating, but the OP and some of the other commenters’ stories are making me livid – ghosting after saying you’d be making an offer, or after making you pay to travel to them? Argh!

    1. Elle Woods*

      I had the same thing happen a couple of years ago. Final interview was on Tuesday, the two other candidates were being interviewed Wednesday, decision day was Friday. I followed up a twice with the hiring manager and once with the HR person over the course of the next few weeks and got radio silence from them. Long story short, I still haven’t officially heard that I didn’t get the role.

  30. Gnome*

    Just tossing this out there…

    Not an excuse for bad behavior, but I happened to be in a position a couple years ago where a relative was interviewing at my (large) company. They got an offer and responded and then didn’t hear back (a question about a contingency issue). After a bit maybe a week, the internal recruiter messages asking for a response. I WATCHED my relative send the email, checked the addresses, and read the email. It… apparently never arrived?

    My relative got a better offer while waiting to hear back the first time, so they declined the offer with my company after the recruiter reached out and we both thought that was that. Until I ran into the recruiter about a week later and he asked me if my relative was ok. Apparently they never got either email, despite prior emails going through with no problem and it being a reply to their email. I was floored, having literally watched it be sent.

    The hiring manager is convinced to this day that my relative ghosted them (thankfully I only know them by reputation and we have never met).

    So, in ghosting situations, I always suggest people call just in case!

  31. Lurkyloo*

    My partner recently interviewed for a big IT company with great reviews. Toward the end of the interview they said they were excited by his experience and would he be open to interviewing for 2 or three other positions? Of COURSE he would! The company sounded great and it’s in his wheelhouse.
    Cue the crickets… AND they keep reposting the original position he interviewed for. So he reapplied. lol

  32. anonymous73*

    The short answer is no. There is no recourse for a job candidate. The company holds all of the power and there is really not one thing you can do to fix it. Responding will only come back to bite you if it has any effect at all. I don’t how to explain HOW to let these things go and not bother you because everyone is different. You just need to do it. Yes you are fully justified in feeling how you feel, but your anger and frustration are only going to affect your own mental well being, so you need to find a way to get past it. And never treat anything as a guarantee. Don’t put your life or your career on hold for a promise.

  33. Dr. Prepper*

    Is that truly a job seeker’s only recourse here?

    Yup. Unless you are in a union shop and have some direct or indirect contract that says they are obliged to do XYZ, the erstwhile employer owes you nothing.
    Also, it is standard HR SOP not to EVER put anything in writing or answer a phone they don’t have to, so never expect a response that does not serve their needs first.
    And to really fry your bacon, in the US at least, since you are not an employee YET, employer discriminatory practices (age, weight etc.) are not sanctionable according to the recent court decisions, as they do not yet owe you Title IX protections until you accept the offer.

  34. Macapito*

    I was overworked, burnt out, barely keeping my head above water, and my boss’s boss forced me to chair a search committee for a position that had nothing to do with my work. It was a huge time commitment. I kept my head up. I chaired the committee through review of 50 applications, did 15 phone interviews over the course of a week, and brought 4 candidates on site to interview. We hired one of them. I was told HR was generating rejection letters for the 10 people we didn’t hire. I was incredibly relieved to get the search off my plate and instantly put the whole thing out of my mind. Months later, I found out that, at the time of my search committee finalizing the search, HR was actually NOT responsible for notifying the 10 people we didn’t hire. My search committee was the last one where the chair needed to do that, and HR was transitioning to take over the hiring and rejecting process. So, I ghosted 10 people, and I still feel bad.

    Point being, you never know what dysfunction or miscommunication is happening behind the scenes. It’s not usually personal. And it doesn’t automatically mean the organization is a terrible place to work.

    1. anonymous73*

      There can always be a legitimate reason this happens, but it’s become the exception not the rule. I never take it personally, and have learned to let it go quickly, but it really sucks that I (and many others) have come to expect that behavior and there’s not really much you can do about it.

    2. Alex*

      I mean, it sounds like it *was* a terrible place to work. Your description isn’t a role I would want to experience, and I hope you got out.

      1. Macapito*

        It wasn’t a terrible place to work. I was an effective, high performing associate VP and the org was transitioning processes and hierarchies during this time. If it sounds like something that wouldn’t work for you, avoid that role.

    3. Esmeralda*

      BTDT. I chaired a committee etc etc just as you did. The hiring officer had a…conflict with me (I insisted on proceding according to University policy and procedure, legal requirements, professional standards, and ethics, and the hiring officer did not think I had to…).

      My committee sent up our list of recommended candidates at the end. Hiring officer emailed me (because they refused to speak to me in person) that my job was done, thankyouforyourservice and I was to have no further contact with any candidate for any reason.

      Hiring officer did NOT contact anyone who was not hired. I was embarrassed for myself and for the university. But I really could not do anything about it.

  35. Ray Gillette*

    If you’re a hiring manager who ghosted an applicant without intending to because too much crap piled up, the situation is salvageable. Last year I held interviews for a position that ended up getting eliminated and dropped the ball on following up with a couple of people who would have been my finalists. A couple of months ago I decided to rip the band-aid off and emailed those folks to apologize for going dark and explained what happened. One of them actually responded to say no worries, these things happen, and he’d be happy to interview again next time I’m hiring.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      Yeah, this happened to me; I had two excellent interviews with an employer and then nothing, only to find out the hiring manager had a very sudden life event. I actually interviewed for another job with them, but they ended up putting that job on hold (they said). This is very much an exception to my no-ghosting rule; I’d be chuffed to talk to them again if they wanted me.

    2. DJ Abbott*

      I think this is much better than letting a ghosting stand with people who interviewed. I’m sure I would like it better, even if it was a year later.

  36. Kate in Colorado*

    Years ago I worked at a terrible company for a CEO who was both a horrible boss and crappy human being in general. I was in HR and he would make me leave candidates hanging indefinitely because he “had to think about it” or would start coming up with all kinds of ridiculous (and probably borderline discriminatory) reasons to not make an offer. I hated it and soon despised him as well, and I left that job shortly after. My boss sucked and he wasn’t going to change. I hated being “that” employer who ghosted!! But I was working for a jerk with control issues. I learned a lot from that place….

  37. Goldenrod*

    I love Alison’s advice here! It’s all totally spot-on.

    OP, I would encourage you to just move on from it, ghost the potential employer right back, and – like Alison suggested – tell everyone you know the story. Badmouth the company like crazy, but don’t say anything to them.

    My opinion is based on this:
    “there is a very high chance that this company won’t consider you for jobs in the future since people don’t like being chastised by job candidates, even when it’s well deserved.”

    People just hate criticism even when (or maybe especially?) when it’s well-deserved. At my last (terrible) job, one of the directors gossiped (incorrectly and unfairly) about me. When I politely but directly called her on it, I got an email apology. But she was also the only person who did not wish me well when I left the job (and she had MANY chances).

  38. Rocket Woman*

    This happened to my partner a few months ago. He was referred by a friend to a position, had 3 interviews and was told to expect an offer by X date. He followed up several times and never heard anything. He didn’t contact the company again, since its very large and he could potentially want a position on a different team.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      This is a good point; it might not be the company per se but the team that’s dropping the ball here.

  39. bee*

    A few years ago I was interviewing for a job and made it to the final round, after several interviews and a written test. They sent me a very nice rejection email, and that they had really liked me and would keep my information on file. Fine! Professional! I got another job shortly after.

    Then, like six months later, they reached out to me because their first choice hadn’t worked out. I did a phone interview and they asked me to come in to the office again for another in person interview. Took a day off from the other job to do the interview, thought it went well. And then I NEVER HEARD FROM THEM AGAIN.

    Clearly it still bothers me. I think it’s worse because a. I knew they knew what to do from the first round of interviews and b. they reached out to me!!! I still grimace a little when someone mentions them.

  40. PhyllisB*

    I have one even better. My youngest daughter interviewed for a seasonal job one time and was offered the position. She was told she would be contacted about a start date. Well, time rocked on (maybe two weeks?) and she still hadn’t heard so she called to inquire. She was told she would be notified when her start date was. Well, ANOTHER two weeks went by, so she called again. Same response. At this point she gave up. The position was only supposed to last 6-8 weeks anyway.
    But the weirdest part is she later worked somewhere else and was laid off. She filed for unemployment, and when UEO was verifying things, they called this place and were told she was employed there!! (How that got into her file I’ll never know.) Of course she protested it but did no good.

    1. Amaranth*

      Wait, the place she never worked was saying she worked there, or the second job? I’m confused how they’d even know to call a place she merely applied.

    2. pancakes*

      What do you mean “of course,” did she get denied for unemployment from her actual job despite the other company not producing any documents showing that she was ever paid? This sounds worth escalating.

    3. starsaphire*

      Oooo, that’s even worse than the “retail / restaurant layoff” where you’re never fired, or laid off, or told anything at all – you’re just taken off the schedule.

      I wonder if the person who hired her thought she was someone else? Or the hiring person and the scheduling person had a miscommunication or something? Weird.

  41. anonymouse*

    Given the informal way this all started, I wonder in this case if there wasn’t actually a job opening, and the people who promised to hire you don’t actually have the authority to do that. Or perhaps they genuinely thought that they could offer a job but never actually checked with the powers-that-be. That is why they are not responding to you- they are too chicken to tell you there is no job and there was never a job.
    OP, you should go ahead and respond to the other job offer, the one that actually exists.

  42. Starchy*

    I feel this pain right now. I was asked to pick a date and time from the options sent for my third interview and then they never showed for the interview and stopped responding to my emails. So frustrating when in the two prior interviews they were telling me how employee friendly they were. All they had to say was we found another candidate and cancel the interview.

  43. RD*

    I really don’t want to sound flippant, but I don’t know what saying something will do. These people know what they’re doing is sucky, but they just don’t care. All the points Alison made are valid- and anyone with an ounce of empathy can understand the position a job seeker is in.

    But yes to Glassdoor- let everyone else know how shitty they are for the future.

  44. Emily*

    Hi, can we hear from anybody who’s willing to admit that the ghosted candidates, why they did it, and what kind of reaction from the candidate might have had the best outcome?
    I have done a lot of hiring and I think I never ghosted anybody – if they didn’t get past a phone screen our automated system sends rejections, if they do I always send a personal note (often some boiler-place phrase but at least I changed the name and tried to say something nice like I enjoyed our chat…). When I got requests for updates I have always responded (not providing additional information or what they wanted to hear, because there never was positive news – if I’m interested in a candidate obviously I don’t forget to tell them that – but at least I responded).
    But if, say, the automated system to respond broke, I guess I would want to know. If someone alerted us to this fact I’d be embarrassed for our company, not angry.

  45. Extremely Anonymous*

    We accidentally ghosted a candidate after several rounds of interviews last year. Three different senior leaders each thought the ball was in someone else’s court and then after more than a month she was like, “…I haven’t heard from anyone?” So I would say, as a hiring manager — if you’re *that* late stage, it’s worth badgering them.

  46. I exist*

    I applied, 1st and 2nd interviewed with a presentation for a job in a different but overlapping department at the last place I worked. I worked there and saw everyone involved regularly and nobody even told me I didn’t get it or that anyone else had until someone else (external) started in the role I think months later. The new hire had a delayed start because she had a baby around the time of interviews. And then I had to tell her how to do the part of my job she was taking on… repeatedly. Last I knew she still didn’t do it. That place was a dumpster fire for a variety of reasons and I didn’t even have to deal with the worst of it.

  47. Salad Daisy*

    I had a job interview where the interviewer, who would be my supervisor, offered me the job and then took me around, showed me where my desk was, etc. Told me I would get a call Friday from HR with details. No call. Called them on Monday and was told “After you left we interviewed someone we liked better so we hired them instead.” Moral of this story is to get any job offer IN WRITING. If I had not called them on Monday I do not believe they would ever have contacted me to let me know what happened.

    1. anonymous73*

      Even a job offer in writing isn’t a guarantee. If a company is willing to do what they did to you, a written letter isn’t going to stop them. It’s not a legally binding contract and can’t be enforced. That being said, I would never give notice at my current job without an offer letter.

      1. Lobsterman*

        At this point, I wouldn’t give notice until the end of my first day at my new job. It be incomprehensibly bad out there.

  48. Just Another HR Pro*

    I spent the better part of two years (off and on) job searching. I am now a huge fan of Glassdoor reviews. I had a few particularly bad experiences, and felt no shame sharing them. And I got more than a few thumbs up as helpful.

    I used to only use it to review a company’s work environment, but I started reviewing the application process as well. sometimes I would not apply, or other times I would just keep it in mind.

  49. Talk to Me*

    I’ve always found ghosting or inadequate communication during the job hiring process to be incredibly rude. These are people who like your company enough that they’re trying to work there- put their time and effort into supporting and improving it.
    I don’t mind mass emails/auto updates/whatever to be efficient, but ignoring the people who put themselves out there to join your company is just rude.

  50. the cat's ass*

    My husband is waiting 6 months before Glassdooring his last employer, who ghosted him. Yup-he was actually working for them remotely and they just… stopped being in touch and stopped sending the next parts of the project he was working on. He emailed/called-no answer. He then contacted the recruiter, who told him that the company wasn’t returning the recruiter’s calls, either! Recruiter (a real mensch) then found him another job, and DH wrote a resignation letter to Ghostco that they also did not respond to.

    It’s nutty out there, as if we needed a reminder.

    1. anonymous73*

      Say what? That’s worse than ghosting. That’s firing someone without letting them know you fired them. That’s a whole other level of unprofessionalism.

      1. the cat's ass*

        Totally unprofessional, and even worse, it was an independent contractor/ hours-billable gig so the $ stopped, too. Fun!

  51. Triple Toe*

    “We will have an offer to you this afternoon” is the last I heard from a company back in 2002. Five years later I did hear the hiring manager had been fired close to when I interviewed. But it still annoys me to no end if I think about it!

  52. Excel-sior*

    I remember getting ghosted by an employer. A few years ago, when i was younger and less experienced, I’d got to the second interview stage (in a job and seniority level which rarely require more than one F2F interview), I was excited to be working for a fairly well known name, in the city i lived in so my days of long commutes would have been over. I felt I did well – not “I’m getting this for sure” but definitely put myself in contention. And then… Nothing. Days turned into weeks turned into a month and more and still… Nothing. And with that i went from patience to impatience to irrational panic (“what if they called and i missed it and accidentally in my sleep deleted all trace of just this one call?!”). Eventually, i found something else, but ot really weighed on me for a time.

    Now, the company no longer exists and is still very well known but not for great reasons.

  53. Alexis Rosay*

    I think the only recourse we have most of the time is to speak up in our own workplaces and try to change the processes our own companies use. As job seekers, we have almost no power, but as colleagues, we at least have a little bit. Whenever I’m involved in a hiring process, I always advocate for processes that will show greater respect to the job seeker. I tell my colleagues, “When we hire, we’re representing our company to the world, just as much as when we deliver a product or service. We have to treat job seekers with the same respect we would show to a customer or client.”

  54. Bookworm*

    I second the Glassdoor route if that’s for you. That site can be hit or miss like so many other things, but it can be useful if there is a pattern of behavior like ghosting. It was very therapeutic for me to read though similar experiences or to go in forewarned that is something that could happen. And as well as warning people about potential places of employment. *shrug*

    If it’s a small field or people know people, etc. I do get why some wouldn’t, though. Good luck! I get this–can still remember so many where I never heard back, even after a polite follow-up, sometimes even with multiple rounds and/or I was likely a finalist (or definitely in that area). It really sucks and I wish employers would just suck it up and send that form email.

  55. ZebraNeighbor*

    Last year, I got ghosted from a job I already had. I was doing contract work, and my contact sent me one to three projects at a time. I was assigned several more in the project management system, but one day they just stopped sending anything.

  56. learnedthehardway*

    Considering that you have an offer in hand from another company, and are expecting an offer from Ghost Inc., you would be well within your rights to leave a message for the HR Manager/recruiter saying that you are interested in Ghost Inc., and haven’t received their offer, that your time to consider the offer is running out and that you will need to make a decision by X date / time.

    I wouldn’t try to do anything spiteful/retaliatory, though. I’m not sure what you COULD do That’s more likely to hurt you than anyone else. Besides, you don’t want to repay the people who referred you for the role by having anyone question their judgment.

    If you want to, you could mention to the people who referred you about what happened – i.e. an offer was promised but then you were ghosted. They may want to f/up to find out what happened or to express their concern that this happened to you. That’s probably the most effective thing you could do.

  57. Ellie May*

    Last year, I responded to a LinkedIn post for a Director-level position with a multinational electronics manufacturer than many of you have heard of and maker of the laptop I’m typing this on …
    After an HR screening, I completed three rounds of interviews: hiring manager, plus two separate tandem interviews. The hiring manager (not HR) reached out to tell me a decision would be made the following week. I was a final contender.
    And then everything stopped – no communication. After two weeks, I reached out to the hiring manager since she was the most recent communication point. Nothing. Another week and I reached out to HR. Nothing. They invested time getting to know me and I invested time getting to know me. But no one thought is necessary to drop a note.
    Funny that another 6 weeks later I received a link from their HR asking me to review the interview process – I couldn’t miss this opportunity. I also posted my experience on Glass Door.

  58. names are hard*

    Back in December I was promised an offer “by the end of next week”.

    I waited. And waited. I sent unrelated notes to the people I interviewed. 5 days after that time period had passed I sent a follow up to HR. Radio silence. Figured I’d been ghosted and wrote them off.

    Then a few days later, I got a very apologetic phone call. They aren’t a huge company and have only one HR person who caught Covid after our last discussion. Yes, someone else could possibly have filled me in, but I didn’t tell the other people I interviewed with that I hadn’t heard form HR because I’m accustomed to being ghosted. Also, I think a lot of things ground to a halt for a couple weeks when HR had Covid.

    I’m glad that no one was expected to respond to emails while home sick. It was a nice sign about the company culture. My offer came through, in the higher range than what I expected and I’m starting the new position later this month.

    These are unusual times. I wouldn’t burn that bridge during a pandemic.

    1. Lobsterman*

      So had this company literally never heard of an autoresponder, or were they just generally utterly tech incompetent?

  59. Koala dreams*

    I disagree with the advice to send another message. If the employer has ignored your last emails, they are unlikely to read your complaint. In your shoes, I would reach out to the contact. Firstly, if your contact is willing to speak up it should be more effective, and secondly your contact might have some context about the company or manager. I would also try another channel if they were responsive before and then suddenly stopped responding to emails. Emails do go missing sometimes. A polite message on their phone inbox or something like that.

    Other than that, just let it go. If they don’t want contact, you can’t make them listen.

  60. WonkyStitch*

    I referred a well-qualified candidate to a director of sales job at my last employer, and he interviewed with them, but then they ghosted him. That company had horrific recruiting staff but I felt awful that they treated him like that.

    It would have been a great job for him and he was stuck taking something a lot less suited for him in order to pay the bills, because his wife has cancer and can’t work.

    I apologized profusely to him, I did share my frustration with HR, and I encouraged him to leave a Glassdoor review about it. I don’t know if he did or not.

  61. Waiting Waiting Waiting*

    I had a verbal job offer in May 2020. They were excited for me to start, blah blah blah. The company was heavily involved in the pandemic from a bio-pharm perspective, so the industry was ramping up hiring. I’ve yet to get my offer letter lol. In the middle of a global pandemic, ghosting is inexcusable.

  62. SnappinTerrapin*

    “When we last talked, you advised me that you were preparing an offer for me to compare with the offer I had from ABC. I requested, and was granted, an extension to consider their offer.

    “As a matter of courtesy, I feel obliged to inform you that I have accepted ABC’s offer, and withdrawing from consideration for your position.

    “I appreciate the opportunity to interview and be considered.I was impressed with the people I met during the interview process. Perhaps an opportunity will arise in the future for us to work together. Best wishes for your continued success.”

    If somebody in the company has been pushing for faster decisions, this might help support them in future situations. It raises the issue, without “chastising” anyone, and puts the LW in a professional, businesslike light.

  63. HR Fun*

    This is how recruiters feel when they are ghosted by applicants who they have made offers to as well.

    1. J*

      Well, but recruiters are unlikely to have taken time off their actual jobs, done unpaid preparation, bought new suits etc. for the privilege. I’m sure it’s frustrating for recruiters too, but they definitely hold more power in the situation than (the vast majority of) candidates.

  64. gnomic heresy*

    I have a great story about this.
    My partner had a series of awesome interviews for a dream job with an innovative organization doing kind of radical work in the for-profit education space. My partner had a great connection with the CEO, and everyone at the organization was raving about what a great fit they would be for the role. Everything was all lined up. And then–nothing. Crickets. Weeks. A month. My partner gave up and went looking for another job, found one, and then some months later had an opportunity to partner with the same organization that ghosted them. They thought about it and decided the benefits outweighed the awkwardness. The initial discussion about the project went well, and then as things were wrapping up, the CEO started to hem and haw.
    “Here it comes,” my partner thought. “The fumbling non-apology.”
    “So… I was just wondering… what happened with the job we offered you?”
    Silence. (I was also in the room at the time, as I working on this project as well. My partner and I exchanged a Look.)
    “I didn’t get an offer from you.”
    The CEO actually turned pale.
    “WHAT.” He literally ran out of the room. We were left waiting for several minutes, thinking what if he had a heart attack?
    Eventually, after what felt like… fifteen minutes? We were starting to pack up unobtrusively, not wanting to leave things there but unsure what else to do. Then the CEO came back in. He flopped into the chair across from us again, put his head in his hands, and said “I’m so sorry. The email was in my drafts folder. We really, really wanted you for that position. When I didn’t hear back from you I just thought you’d accepted another offer, and we went with a different candidate, but… it really should have been you.”
    Somehow, the project we were supposed to collaborate on… didn’t pan out either. It’s hard to overcome systemic disorganization.

  65. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*


    Ghosting candidates is unprofessional. I think most can agree on that, although, yeah as a manager you can get away with it.

    In your current position.

    The day may come where YOU are on the other side of the desk – and – even if the companies you’re applying to don’t normally engage in this type of chicanery – if anyone in there remembers YOU, or people from your company — guess what will happen to your candidacy?

    Think before you ghost – you may be the one that hurts most.

  66. His Grace*

    Let me be honest. Ghosting candidates is a terrible practice that has the potential to bite employers in the rear big time. And it speaks volumes about the company culture and character. If this is the way they treat candidates, imagine how they must treat the employees.

  67. J*

    I hate this practice so, so much, and it’s so prevalent now! I was ghosted last year by an organisation I work closely with as part of my current role. They urged me to apply, interviewed me, and then … nothing, until it was mentioned in casual conversation in an unrelated meeting that the role had been filled. I admit it has really soured my feelings for the organisation going forward. (Happy ending is that I have since been offered a job that’s a much, much better fit so I am extremely relieved in hindsight that I didn’t get that one!)

    Best practice I saw recently from a job I was testing and interviewing for was that HR was clear in communicating “if you have not heard from us by x date, please assume you are not moving on to the next round”. Obviously a personalised “no thanks” would be preferable, but it was so nice to know when I could stop holding out hope. (In the event, they actually missed their own deadline and let me know the following day that I had progressed to the next round – but still, I appreciated the gesture!)

  68. Nope nope nope*

    I was ghosted ON MY FIRST DAY! My interview went really well (I guess too well now that I look back on it) and they offered me the job a few days later. My would-be-manager and I talked on the phone a few times later to confirm all the details. I quit my old job and was excited for the new opportunity.

    Then on my first day…nothing. The office was open, I walked in but no one was there and the lights were off. I looked around to see if maybe they left a note but there was nothing. I called and called my would-be-manager but they did not pick up.

    Finally after nearly two hours of waiting around and panicking, the office secretary walked in. I explained my situation and they were able to get ahold of would-be-manager. Would-be-manager calls me to say their colleague left me a voicemail explaining that they decided not to hire me. But I never received any such voicemail. Still they didn’t want to hire me for whatever reason and I had to beg for my old job back.

  69. McS*

    If it makes you feel better, there are consequences. Personal references are powerful and networks are small. You got this interview through your network and those contacts will be more hesitant to refer a great candidate after they hear about the disrespectful way you were treated. I have heard and made casual comments to friends in my field about hiring processes I’ve been through and am always more likely to accept an offer from a company with a reputation for treating candidate well.

  70. Former Usher*

    I applied for a job with a former manager who indicated that she would be very supportive of me returning to my former employer. She let me know when she posted an opening and acknowledged receipt of my application. Then nothing. I later reached out to a former co-worker and learned that interviews had been completed. Former manager couldn’t be bothered to inform me herself.

  71. Prof Space Cadet*

    I work in academia and I am consistently amazed at how tech incompetent some admin office workers are. At my last university, it took months to send formal rejection notices. Despite an entire faculty search committee and department chair unanimously telling the our and HR that we needed to move faster, the useless HR rep’s “it’s SOOOOOO hard–I’m sooooooo busy–WAH-WAH-WAH” excuses ruled the day. It was pathetic. There was no administrative reason for the delay either (as in, someone had already accepted the job in writing). I’m so glad I don’t work there.

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