Being Ghosted During Your Job Search? You’re Not Alone

I’ve always imagined starting my career after graduating, being successful and showing bullies and doubters that I could make it. I had my five-year plan perfected and was ready to embrace the working world. I’m a hard worker and I dedicated myself to my creative work fully, which always gave me comfort that I would be able to get an entry-level job straight out of school. 

Unfortunately, the opposite of that happened. I graduated school back in 2018 and have been looking for a job ever since. My five-year plan crumbled apart and I don’t even know what it looks like anymore. I’ve received many automated messages from do not reply emails saying, “Thank you for applying to so-and-so. While your application was competitive, we will not be moving forward with it at this time,” and rarely receive responses from real people rejecting my application. While it disappoints me (the do not reply messages more than the human ones), what really stings is when you get ghosted and receive no reply at all

Nick Miller New Girl GIF People are the worst GIPHY / 20th Century Fox Television

Half of the many jobs I’ve applied to have ghosted me, as well as many connections I’ve tried to make. When you’ve been looking for years like me, it affects you. Especially when you jump on LinkedIn one day and see someone announcing their new position. And when you get no advice back from whoever is looking at your resume, you start to wonder what’s wrong with it, and start to change things that shouldn’t be changed in hopes that it works.

Most of the time, human resources looks at your application first and if they don’t like your application, they reject it and that’s it. Sometimes, if they’re nice, they’ll send a do not reply email; otherwise they won’t even bother with it. What hurts the most is knowing that HR is not doing their job. According to the Oxford Dictionary, human resources is defined as “the department in a company that deals with employing and training people.” This means they’re responsible for mainly the employees of that business as well as anyone who wants employment at that business. So they should be responding to you when you apply to a job right? Yes, they should — but many times, they’re not.

Unfortunately with unemployment going up from 700,000 to 770,000 according to Yahoo Finance, getting a job is going to be a little more difficult. This also means you’ll get ghosted more and have more competition. As someone who's been ghosted by companies for years, here’s how I’ve always dealt with it.

 

1. Maybe the job wasn’t meant to be

Think of it this way; the job you got ghosted by wasn’t meant to be. You’ll find something new eventually that you’ll love and be better at. Your better fit would work out because they probably wouldn’t ghost you.

 

2. Take a break from applying to jobs for the day

If the fact that you got ghosted bothers you, it’s best to take a break for the day especially since you wouldn’t be your best. When applying to jobs, you have to speak positively and highly about yourself. If you can’t do that, take a break until you can.

3. Reach out to your business connections or career office for help

This is something to do if you find you’re being ghosted by a significant amount of companies. While my college never had a career center for alumni, if you do have one, you should utilize it. Career centers can help you with your resume, cover letters, and anything else you need to get your desired career. This is the same with your networking connections. If they have experience in the field, use them to get the advice you need to succeed.

4. If you know people who are also looking for a job, talk to them

I have a couple of friends that I know are in the same boat as me. The best thing to do is reach out to those people because they can assure you that the company ghosting you is absolutely crazy for doing such a thing to you. They’ll get your confidence up, give you some advice (if they’re on the same path you’re on) and reassure you to keep moving forward.

5. Take a look at the job you applied for

Look over the job you applied for. You might’ve applied to it the wrong way or you might’ve not been qualified for the position. While you should always apply to everything because it never hurts, you should always look over the position and make sure you’re at least 80 percent qualified to do the job.

6. If you have any contact information for the company, follow up

If you’re before the interview stage, follow up by asking if they received your application. If they don’t answer after a week of that follow up, move on. If this is after an interview, always send a thank you note and follow up after two weeks of no response. If you don’t hear anything back, move forward.

While ghosting has become an unfortunate part of the job search nowadays, you shouldn’t give up because you’re not alone. Since the pandemic, ghosting has increased because of how many people are applying to jobs. It’s a pitiful practice and some HR professionals recognize it as such. According to an Indeed survey, 77 percent of job seekers were ghosted by an employer.

I believe that eventually, millennials and Gen Z can solve the problem behind ghosting. It could be that since the company is understaffed, the recruiter can’t respond to every email, or they just don’t want to. All of those problems are fixable by hiring more HR staff, assigning certain candidates to recruiters, reminding them that their job is to help those candidates get closure or even creating a new EEO that says all potential employers have a right to know their application status. Either way, this is a part of their job and they should work to fix the problem occurring or risk the reputation of their company.

Some can argue this ghosting trend by professionals is a humanitarian problem, since applicants are not being treated equally. Imagine the horror and outrage if a college you applied to never responded back if your application was accepted or denied. That is the feeling job seekers feel when they’re ghosted. In the meantime, to anyone looking for a job: hang in there or message me on LinkedIn. When looking for a job, job seekers have to lean on one another for support because only they know how hard it really is.