Being Ghosted After a Job Interview

Being Ghosted After a Job Interview

By Elizabeth Barrera

So just like any other person in their early 20s (well almost mid 20s now), and more specifically, an ambitious woman looking to advance in her career - earlier this month, I took the the time and effort to actively apply to various positions I was interested in and accepted any incoming recruiter emails on my LinkedIn inbox (something I rarely do). One of those recruiter messages on LinkedIn actually led me to what was an onsite interview.  I went through the typical phone screen, hiring manager screen, writing sample revision, and onsite interview process - which, let me tell you, was about three hours long.

Now imagine taking the time to go through the process. Add in the stress, taking time off work, and preparing yourself for each and every interview. For those of you who have been in this place, you know exactly what I’m talking about. For those of you who don’t, let me break it down for you.

  1. You spend about 15 minutes on the phone with the recruiter.
  2. You spend about 45 minutes on the phone with the hiring manager.
  3. You spend about 30 minutes total to send writing samples and thank you notes from day 1 to this day.
  4. You spend about 3 hours total at the onsite interview with six different individuals.
  5. You spend another 20 minutes drafting and perfecting thank you emails for all six interviewers.

Now, I’ve never been a mathematician, so correct me if I’m, wrong, but that’s a total of about 4 hours and 50 minutes spent on the interviewing/recruiting process - and that’s excluding the preparation for them. That’s a little over half of a work day, for those of us who are employed. This means perhaps having to use PTO, work extremely early/late hours to make up for the missed time, reschedule meetings, and a high possibility of getting behind at work. That’s a pretty big risk to take for a job opportunity with a 50/50 chance of getting hired.

I’m not here to talk or complain about the lengthy interview processes I recently experienced. However, I am going to discuss the lack of professionalism I received from Company X post onsite-interview.

Professional, respectful, and appreciative etiquette post-interview would indicate that the recruiter would reach out informing the candidate of their status. It’s common sense to do something like that out of courtesy, right? Well apparently not. See, even after me spending approximately 4 hours and 40 minutes on Company X, and proactively reaching out to the recruiter for a status update, I got ghosted.

Yes, you read that right. I was ghosted. In other words, I didn’t hear back from the recruiter at all, despite my “thank you” note and “follow up” email. Both were ignored and disregarded. And to top it all off, one of my college colleagues received the same message from the same recruiter for the same position. While I do understand that sometimes recruiters don’t have the answer we need yet, it’s important to also call out the amount of unprofessionalism displayed when ignoring the candidate for two+ weeks without providing any type of update.

Nobody likes to have their time wasted or feel disrespected, generally speaking. So always remember that despite your desperate need for a job (if applicable), yes, interviewers and recruiters will have an immense power over you, but that doesn’t mean you need to accept their dismissive or harsh behavior towards you. Sure, they have the power to mistreat you or reject you. But you also have the power to voice your concerns and reject the potential offer.

The point behind the frustration really is to urge you all to acknowledge and be considerate of other people’s time. And to those stuck in the receiving end (me in this case), I suggest that you use this experience as an opportunity to truly identify the company’s culture and demonstration of respect for their future employees. Ask yourself if you would be okay with treatment such as this if an offer were to be extended. And while I can completely understand that not everybody is in a position to decline a job offer, we should still not take every offer that’s presented to us.

Let’s remind ourselves to always be confident in our talent and abilities and ensure that recruiters and hiring managers are looking at us through human lens and not just an asset to claim as theirs. We have what they want and need. We have the power. Now let’s use it to build confidence within us.

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