6 Steps To Take After Being Ghosted Following an Interview

Updated June 9, 2023

A person sits for questions from three interviewers.

Interviewing for a job can be a rewarding challenge in finding employment. One of the interesting nuances of the interview process is understanding what happens after your interview and how to adapt to different communication contexts. For example, you might wonder what to do if you don't hear back from an interviewer after an interview, a situation commonly called "ghosting."

In this article, we explain what it means to be ghosted after an interview, if you can prevent it and what to do if it happens to you.

What does ghosting after an interview mean?

Being ghosted after an interview is when you don't hear from a company after you've met with them for a job interview. The terminology is also used in personal circumstances such as friendships and relationships. In a professional context, ghosting usually refers to situations where it is reasonable to expect a reply—for instance, you've had one or more interviews or you've been in direct contact with a hiring manager. However, it is common to submit a job application without a reply, makings this scenario less likely to qualify as ghosting by most definitions.

Related: What Is the Average Response Time After an Interview?

When does ghosting happen?

Ghosting usually happens when factors outside an applicant's control impact the hiring process. Here are some reasons a candidate might experience ghosting in the application and interview process:

  • The company hired internally instead of seeking an outside candidate.

  • The position was eliminated, making hiring unnecessary.

  • An interviewer changed companies or roles or went on vacation.

  • Many candidates applied for the position.

  • The hiring process is still ongoing, and you might hear back later than expected.

How to handle being ghosted

If an interviewer has ghosted you, you might wonder how to handle the situation. To help support your career search process, here are some steps that might help:

1. Follow up

It is usually best to follow up with an appreciative message after every interview. Send a thoughtful email showing your gratitude for the interviewer's time, and consider referring to a detail that you may have connected over or that makes you a particularly appealing candidate. You might also follow up via phone if you have your interviewer's contact information and if it makes sense for your situation and industry. Sometimes, a handwritten thank-you note can also make a good impression on a hiring team.

Related: Handwritten Interview Thank You Notes: Do's and Don'ts

2. Wait a while longer

The hiring process for a given role might take longer than expected. This can happen for several reasons, including the company receiving a significant influx of applications, internal personnel matters or a busy schedule for the hiring team. If possible, consider waiting a bit longer in case you receive communication from the hiring manager. The appropriate time to wait before following up can vary depending on context and industry, so consider performing additional research or asking a trusted industry connection how long they recommend waiting for a reply.

3. Reach out via other avenues

If you have followed up via email without a response and waited an appropriate amount of time, consider reaching out using another method, such as a professional networking site. Be sure to moderate this approach and focus on professional networking sites, compared to personal ones, if it is standard for your industry.

4. Try contacting another individual

If an appropriate and reasonable period has passed and you have not heard back from your interviewer or hiring manager, consider seeking another point of contact. This might mean reaching out to another individual who interviewed you, for example, or an internal connection you already have. This might be a useful way of gaining information about the hiring process in a tactful way.

5. Practice interviewing

Interviewing as effectively as possible might be another good way to recover from the experience of being ghosted while also preparing for the next one. Some interviewees might feel an impact on their confidence level when they don't hear back from an interviewer or recruiter, so practicing interview questions can remind you of your own abilities and qualifications. Practicing your response skills can also help you feel prepared for upcoming interviews and possibly remain confident even if you are ghosted in the future.

6. Focus on the next role

Finally, be sure to pursue additional roles with confidence and determination. Although you may have been ghosted by one individual or company, you may find that you have a very positive experience with the next one. Applying your efforts and energy to new opportunities after can be a good way to continue making career progress and developing your interviewing skills.

Can you prevent ghosting in the future?

Usually, ghosting results from factors outside your control. It can be challenging to prevent ghosting when a company changes hiring priorities, for example, or if an interviewer has gone on vacation or changed roles. Prioritizing interview follow-ups might help prevent being ghosted in the future by reminding an interviewer or recruiter of your candidacy. Practicing self-reflection and developing your skills can also help avoid ghosting by establishing your portfolio as outstanding and memorable.

Related: The Do's and Don'ts For Calling After an Interview

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