HAVE YOU BEEN JOB GHOSTED? Here’s how to sort it (no screaming necessary)
It used to just haunt our dating lives but now ghosting is something employers do, too. Here’s how to deal with it…
PHANTOM PHASE 1: WHEN THEY GHOST YOUR APPLICATION
Yes, there are the potential CV errors (spelling mistakes, poor grammar, including a photo when it wasn’t requested), but if you’ve checked through your application with a hawk eye and you’ve still heard nothing, it could be down to sheer volume. “The reality is that, on average, companies receive 250 applications per job advert – far more than an HR manager could possibly review by hand,” explains Amanda Augustine, a career advice expert at TopCV – the world’s largest CV writing service. “Which is why nearly all large organisations use software known as an applicant tracking system (ATS) to scan CVs and eliminate the least-qualified candidates for a role.” Leaving it to the robots, however, can result in up to 75% of CVs being rejected before a recruiter even sees them. Yikes. So if your CV isn’t written with this electronic net in mind, the chances of your application being binned – regardless of your suitability for the role – is painfully high.
Beat those bots by gathering three to five job adverts similar to the role you’ve applied for and identify the keywords that repeatedly appear. Incorporate the terms two to three times throughout your CV, particularly in the “key skills” and “work history” sections. If you’ve already applied, do some sleuthing and find the contact information for the HR manager or the manager of the role you’re pursuing. Find out if anyone you know works there, scroll the company website and check LinkedIn. You could also type the organisation name into Twitter, then click on “people”, to see who has mentioned the company in their bio. As for what to say once you’ve found them? “Keep your note short when
you do – only say enough to reaffirm [your enthusiasm] and quickly summarise your relevant qualifications,” suggests Augustine. Take that, recruitment Dalek.
PHANTOM PHASE 2: WHEN THEY GHOST YOU POST-INTERVIEW
More than one third of job-seekers say a prospective employer rejected them by never actually responding at all, according to a recent study by career data firm Clutch. But why? It could be that the update is there simply isn’t an update, an internal reorganisation may be taking place, and the job you applied for may have just… vanished. It’s also not uncommon to come runner-up to an internal candidate. Unfortunately, there are no laws requiring employers to offer feedback after an interview (trust us, we’ve checked – so ditch those triumphant courtroom-scene daydreams). “There’s also every chance that the interviewer, just like a cowardly right-swipe, simply doesn’t want to deal with any awkwardness, says Susan Vitale, a workplace expert and chief marketing officer at recruitment company iCIMS. “Frankly, employers could want to avoid having those uncomfortable conversations.”
There is a fine line between being “tenacious” and “aggressive” – and it’s one you don’t want to cross. During your interview, ask specifically when you can expect to hear about next steps. If you don’t get word by then, send an email reminder that reiterates your interest and the fact that you’re hoping for an update. To make sure your message stands out, be specific. Try something in the region of “Can we hop on the phone? I have one more question about the position”. Direct asks are more likely to get responses.
PHANTOM PHASE 3: WHEN YOU KNOW THEY’VE GHOSTED... BUT YOU’RE STILL INTERESTED
Not sure if you’ve been ghosted? Augustine says you should cut your losses five weeks after the interview. You could take it as a good sign – after all, how a prospective employer treats you during the interview process is reflective of how they’d treat you as an employee: if it’s not great now, it’s unlikely to improve later. But what if you still want to work there?
“Wait for a new reason to reach out to your primary contact at the company later down the line,” says Augustine. “Follow the business on social media or set up Google News Alerts, so, say, if they win an award, land a big contract or expand into a new area, you can reach out and congratulate them.”
PHANTOM PHASE 4: WHEN YOU WANT TO GHOST
So you go for the interview and then you realise the position might not be for you. What then? No matter how fed up you get with job ghosters, don’t turn the tables – surprisingly 41% of job applicants say they feel just fine screening a company during the recruiting process.* Not a great idea, says psychologist and workplace expert Amy Cooper Hakim. “Job ghosting, on either side, is not respectful practice. You could end up burning major bridges you’ll need later in your career.” GHOSTBUST IT
If you decide you’re not into a job (unsure? try rereading the job description and really visualising whether or not you could see yourself doing it for five days a week), just send a response: “Thank you for your time, but I don’t think this position is the best fit for me. Good luck with your search!” There, not so scary after all.