Haunted by Interview Ghosting? Here’s How to Stop it

October 26, 2020

Don't get caught waiting for a phone that doesn't ringYou interviewed for a job and you thought it went well. You asked what the next steps were, and they responded, “We’ll get back to you in two weeks about next steps.” That sounded hopeful!

But then… silence.

You reach out to the hiring manager.

And still… silence.

So, you move on to the next interview with slightly less enthusiasm, but you’re holding on to hope.

You interview. It goes well. You ask about next steps. They say they’ll get back to you.

But then… Silence.

You reach out to the hiring manager

And still… silence.

Welcome to ghosting!

Has this happened to you? It might help to know that you are not alone.

When companies don’t get back to you after your interview, it can be very frustrating and demoralizing. It’s even worse when you’re certain that the interview went well!

Unfortunately, ghosting has become the norm in today’s interview process. It has become so standardized that I often warn my clients about it: “Expect that you will be ghosted while you are interviewing.” Managing your expectations will help with disappointments.

That being said… there are things that you can do to minimize how much ghosting you experience.

I’m going to offer you some tactics that have helped my clients reduce ghosting.

But before we get to that, we need first to take a look at what’s going on here.

Why does ghosting happen?

You thought the interview went well.  What information have you based this on?

What if you didn’t do as well as you thought you did? Maybe your qualifications and experience didn’t match up in their eyes. Or maybe they’re interviewing other people (They should be!) and found someone else better qualified.

Are these the things that have been going through your head while you’re waiting for that call back that never came? Listen to those concerns and be honest with yourself. Are they valid?

At the end of the interview, when you ask, “What are the next steps?”, the interviewer’s easiest answer is to tell you, “We will get back in a couple of weeks.”

First, they may actually need those weeks because they’re doing other interviews.

Second, if they don’t think you did well enough, they don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, so they push you off with an easy answer.

And lastly, at the end of all of their interviews, if they decide that you don’t meet their needs, no one there wants to tell you bad news so...

Yup. You’ve been ghosted.

Are you ready to eliminate ghosting from your interview process?

Here’s what you could do differently.

Most people ask, “What are the next steps?”  or “When will I hear back from you?” They shy away from questions about the viability of their candidacy.

Instead, ask how your skills, experience, and qualifications match up with the job description, and inquire about specific next steps. These questions show the interviewer how serious you are about the role. Bonus: This builds a stronger relationship as well!

And honestly, wouldn’t you want to know if you are not being considered for the next round? It’s certainly a better experience than the feelings of limbo that ghosting creates.

To help you to ask more thought provoking questions that will improve your chances of hearing back even if you are not being considered for the role, I’ve offered some specific suggestions below.

New questions:

The next time an interviewer asks you, “Do you have any final questions for me?“ skip the standard response.

Instead of saying, What are the next steps? When can I expect to hear back about moving to the next round?” try these new questions:

New Question 1: “Based on our time together, how do you think my skills, experience and qualifications align with your need? Is there any disconnect that would prevent me from moving to the next round?”

Upon hearing the response, say: “Thank you for the information, I appreciate your feedback.”

New Question 2: “If I am not being considered, would it be possible for you to let me know and share with me the reason why? I would be grateful for the feedback so that I can focus on improving in the right areas as I move on to find a job that is a better fit.”

Note on Q2: Hiring managers are sometimes not comfortable providing this information, which is why it is so important to ask while you are interviewing.

It is simply a fact that ghosting happens. However, that does not mean it has to happen to YOU.  

Ask better questions at the end of the interview to get a clearer sense of your candidacy status, and at the same time, you’ll develop a stronger relationship with the interviewer. These better questions also tell them a bit more about who you are and how you think. That can help you get the job!

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