Ghosting: What your toxic crush & (possible) employer may have in common
Zoom university is continuously pumping out more and more graduates, but a word of caution before you all continue forward into “adulthood”. Ghosting is real, and no, not just the romantic kind.
On your post-grad journey of looking for a job, be wary of companies that may be lacking in transparency. Red flags may be vague job descriptions, as well as sketchy hiring processes. You’re in the (virtual) real world now, and not all companies are the most considerate. But possibly the most painful “scam” that a company may play on you… is ghosting you.
Yes, ghosting exists even in the world of employment. Just like romantic or social ghosting, it is not uncommon for companies to stop responding or updating you about your application status even after they made initial contact.
Now, don’t get things twisted, employment ghosting only occurs if the company has already gotten in touch with you, showing interest in hiring you. Not getting a reply after sending your resume does not count. It is true that companies aren’t really obliged to reply to your email when you first send in your diploma— it just hurts a bit more when they actually show signs of interest in you and then ghost you without any trace of why (sorry if this hit a nerve, bato bato sa langit ☺).
Take note also that ghosting can go both ways in employment, companies may ghost candidates and candidates may ghost their potential employers.
If you’ve been ghosted, or feel like you’re being ghosted by a company, don’t worry. You’re not alone. According to a poll conducted by Andrew Seaman, Senior Editor for Job Search & Careers at LinkedIn News, 93% of respondents were ghosted by potential employers at least once in their lives.
You shouldn’t be too hard on yourself; it is possible that the company has simply had a change in their priorities and failed to inform you about this shift. It may be possible that they were able to fill the position internally, are overwhelmed with applications or decided not to hire someone for that position at all.
It may not be your fault, but this doesn’t make getting ghosted any easier. So, what should you do?
As mentioned above, it is possible that there are unknown factors that are delaying the company from getting back to you. These reasons may range from the hiring manager being on holiday, their recruitment process really takes time, or… the company is just really bad at replying…
Make sure you’ve waited for at least a week before jumping to the conclusion that you’re being ghosted.
Politely follow up
Okay, so you’ve been patient, good job for making it through the anxious wait. Now, is the time to show some initiative and politely follow up regarding the status of your application. If you’re worried that the company is not getting your messages, do not be afraid to try reaching out through other channels if you have other contact information.
According to Bob McIntosh, a career strategist and among the 2019 LinkedIn Top Voices: Job Search and Careers, you may follow up for a maximum of three times before accepting the harsh reality that you have been ghosted and move on. McIntosh also reminds applicants to make sure to leave on a good note. It may be tempting to express your anger and frustration towards the company that ghosted you, but it’s probably wiser for your future opportunities (and reputation within your industry) if you took the high road.
McIntosh strongly urges that people looking for a job must keep their options open and continuously apply to other openings even if they are already “far along in the interview process with a potential employer.” McIntosh adds that, “if you put your search on hold while interviewing for another job, you will lose momentum and miss out on other opportunities.”
The phenomena of ghosting has proven that companies may be fickle things. You might be hopeful of getting hired soon one day and then be completely ghosted the next. Having other opportunities in your pocket may lessen the sting of being ghosted and save you from that rainy day.
Repeatedly getting ghosted? Time for some introspection
If getting ghosted by companies is a common occurrence for you, it may be time to check in on yourself and your interview etiquette. A sad reality that defines ghosting is the fact that companies won’t tell you what went wrong. If companies continuously ghost you, it may be possible that you need to re-evaluate your interview skills, perhaps have a mock interview with a trusted friend who will give you honest advice or even go to a professional for some help.
Maybe you killed the interview and felt really good after, it may be possible that you lacked initiative post-interview. Remember, don’t be afraid to follow up and hold companies accountable to their promises when you can.
With all these tips in mind, there is no one way to 100% guarantee that a company you apply for won’t ghost you. As the LinkedIn poll shows, it is quite a common occurrence. Don’t take it personally! So, you were ghosted, so what? Dust yourself off, learn from the experience and keep moving forward. Anyways, would you really want to work for a company that treats its candidates with that little consideration?
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