Ghosting during the interview process

My first post! Forgive me if it's too long--I feel like I've been so siloed with what's happening and unable to get pulses because job searching is so secretive when you're connected to all your coworkers and Leadership on LinkedIn and other social medias. Then I remembered this community!

I'm the middle of trying to land a role. I've been interviewing with a company for a while--my first phone interview screeener was early February. Since then I keep going through rounds and moving forward. Meeting high ranking folks. In total, I have had 8 interviews. Throughout the internal recruiter has been super nice and communicative. She requested me on LinkedIn somewhere along the process. My interviews have all been really good. I do individual Thannk You emails after each and call out specific things from our meetings. I also provide recaps of meetings to the recruiter.

After my last interview who was with one of the CEOs, I sent my thank you, then recap to recruiter. She responded enthusiastically (Monday 3.14) and said that they had interviews the rest of the week but she would be able to provide info about next steps early next week, at the latest. On Tuesday 3.22 I hadn't heard so just sent a quick email asking if she had any updates, reiterating my excitement, etc. Nothing the rest of the week. And nothing now.

I know all the "don't put your eggs all in one basket" "never stop looking"... I get all that. And I keep putting myself out there, but I really was into this positon, company, and everyone I met and was really nailinig the interviews.

I am... mystified. Disheartened. Is this normal? You ghost after all those interviews? I guess it's just extra jading because she was so communicative and supportive throughout all my interviews.

I think typing this out was a little cathartic. There's absolutely nothing I can do, obviously. But this certainly doesn't motivate me or positively reinforce me in anyway.

Moving forward, I'm curious, RECRUITERS and HR Talent Folks, this is normal? This is my no? Thanks for reading!

saractall's profile thumbnail
Hi! I'm not a recruiter or in HR, but I have had situations like this happen so I'll put this here if you're interested:First off, IT SUCKS. I truly think some people forget what it's like to search for a job and interview. It can be such a demoralizing and hopeless process. After constantly putting yourself out there, I think it's worse to hear NOTHING than a "no thank you" especially after you've gotten so many good vibes.With all that said, it probably has nothing to do with you. Chances are they're figuring out some stuff internally (ex: maybe the money for the position was moved and they're trying to figure it out?) and have a lot going on. BUT, if that doesn't seem to fit the only reason I'd hold it against the company is if the person who was supposed to reach out to you would be a manager or someone directly above you. You don't want to work with someone like that... but if it's someone in HR or something, they might not be a good representation of the company as a whole. (I've had this happen. The manager found out and contacted me directly to apologize.)Finally, more specific to this situation, it sounds like a lot of people were involved so I wonder if this is an "I thought you were reaching out to the candidate?" situation. Is there anyone else you'd feel comfortable reaching out to? Seems like you don't have anything to lose? Again, not a professional... just some thoughts. It'll be interesting to see what others post! Best of luck. I really hope your job search goes smoothly from here on out.
Thank you too much Sara, this as comforting. Yes, I think the hearing nothing is just so much worse--just feeling like there's nothing concrete been decided, no closure, etc. I was considering reaching out to someone earlier in the process who was going to be my interim supervisor but didn't want to go around or above anyone. But I guess at this point, what have I got to lose? Thank you again.
beckyallen's profile thumbnail
Also not an HR professional, but I would echo everything Sara said. It's so hard not to take it personally with all the time and energy you put into this process, but it's almost certainly not you. You're doing everything right and it totally sucks and, in my opinion, is inappropriate to be ghosted like this.I'd recommend reaching out one more time. After 8 interviews, I think a second follow up is certainly warranted.
Thank you so much Becky. Yes it totally sucks! But thanks for the advice--I'll try one more time. Nothing to lose at this point. Thank you again.
ErikaKlics's profile thumbnail
It can be normal :( There's a bunch of reasons why recruiters do this. Here are a few:1. They're too overwhelmed to keep up with everyone who comes through their hiring pipelines. Recruiters usually manage something like 5-15 positions at any point in time. (Some recruiters work on 20+ roles at a time!) They're also managing all their hiring teams on the other end. Even the most organized recruiters drop the ball sometimes.If that's why, even one more followup might be helpful in at least getting some closure. 2. You've been passed on. Recruiters aren't incentivized to update candidates who've been passed on. They're incentivized to make hires. If the company doesn't value a human-first approach, the recruiter won't either. So when they have 100 things on their todo list today, sending out rejections drops to the bottom of the list. 3. Sometimes candidates don't get a response after an interview because the recruiter never got one. I'm embarrassed to say I've done this in the past. I used to work with hiring managers who would interview a candidate and then tell me they wanted to "think about it". The next day I check in...they're still thinking. So I hold off, thinking I'll have an update for the candidate soon. One thing leads to the next and suddenly we're 2 weeks post-interview with no feedback to show. Many modern ATSs try to combat this with automated feedback reminders, but the reminders can't solve a hiring manager's indecision. Better would be for recruiters to give updates for candidates along the way and set limits on how long they'll keep a candidate waiting before they automatically pass them to next steps. 4. In your case - I have a feeling they were waiting on someone else to accept an offer before they officially pass on you. They might *still* be waiting....But the fact that the recruiter hasn't responded at all is just really bad candidate management, and does not reflect well on the company. I always recommend to give it 3 shots on followup: one within 24 hours of the interview to stay top-of-mind, one 2-3 days later, and a final followup 1 week after that. If they can't give you the decency of a simple response, head to Glassdoor and let the world know. Save someone else the hassle of getting ghosted. And bad Glassdoor reviews tend to get the attention of leadership, which is often the only way to make real change in a company's recruiting culture.
Thank you SO much! This is super helpful and informative. I've done your 3 shots, so it might be time for Glassdoor. Part of me was thinking of emailing the interim hiring manager (originally not doing so because I didn't want to go over the recruiter), just to give a final thanks, wish it had turned out differently, but wish them the best of luck. Thank you again. :)
ErikaKlics's profile thumbnail
I think your final Thank You email idea would be very classy.
saractall's profile thumbnail
Thank you for the frank insight! Appreciate it!
jennylynnwalding's profile thumbnail
I’m so sorry - ghosting is deplorable! There is another thread about ghosting that I think is relevant to you: https://elpha.com/posts/skkbpsk0/recruiter-ghosting-thoughts
Thank you!
That timetable is actually pretty speedy. I’ve had companies sit me in the dark for months. You’ve met the CEO, and they have what they need to decide. A couple of reasons: 1) Your last interview was at the end of the quarter, and they now are probably focused on first quarter results. 2) They budgeted the money to start you later, so they’ll let you sit for a bit now. 3) They got a flash protection on the first/second quarters, and they don’t have the money to hire anyone (sorry!) 4) There’s an internal candidate and they are now figuring which direction to take. They might have liked you better. I don’t think they will ghost you completely, i.e. you’ll never hear anything again. Companies keep in touch with potential candidates for future openings. Sit tight. Let us know how this turns out.
I am currently experiencing this and it has made me sad and I find myself going over conversations I had with several hiring managers during these interview processes to ensure I didn't say or do anything wrong.
MaddyTillotson's profile thumbnail
This is so so stressful, and you're absolutely not alone on this one. If we're going to focus on generous assumptions here, I do agree with another response; recruiters are swamped/overworked, and as someone who has been a part of an organization's "recruiting/HR process" at numerous points, I would definitely encourage you to follow up with that recruiter. Sometimes things stall, a decision maker is out of office, EOQ delays hiring, etc. I don't think this is a clear "no" at all - but if you don't get a reply from an additional follow-up within 48 hrs consider it a red flag; how companies handle the folks they recruit is a signal - it tells you something about how they also value their hires' time! If they have other folks in the pipeline who they're still vetting, it's very simple for them to just tell you that. If they don't share that info, it's probably because they're operating under the misguided notion that it might discourage you or compel you to accept someone else's offer before they can make their decision.Here's an unsolicited tip moving forward: harness one of the tools recruiters use themselves, to your own advantage. There are numerous platforms that will do this for you (yesware, mailtrack, etc.). Also in Gmail, when you compose your message, at the bottom of the "compose window," click "more." Request read receipt. You'll get a notification email when your message is opened. This will give you visibility into whether or not the recruiter is consistently reading your replies. If you go with an option such as yesware you'll also be able to see if they re-open your email and when, which is an excellent opportunity to write them as soon as you know your conversation is top of mind. Best of luck to you, this is such a brutal process but you will find the right company, and odds are they will not leave you hanging.
I feel you! I had a similar experience, where I had several interviews and then I had to do a case that took me 25 hours to do (which is a whole other conversation) and then presented it to be completely ghosted. The worst part is I actually know one of the guys well and we have worked together before... It sounds like it hasn't been very long since you spoke with them so they might get back to you. Also, if companies are unresponsive I think that does say a lot about them and might not be a good fit anyways. I personally feel like I dodged a bullet.
mbmoore's profile thumbnail
My experience is in academia, which is notorious for this type of behavior. One the one hand, I know from personal experience that search committees are busy, and sometimes decisions are overriden by administation. That said, I've heard many stories of people who were far along in the interview process and it was implied that an offer was forthcoming, who then were ghosted and found out later that someone else was hired. It is so frustrating and disenheartening when this happens.
talitorigian's profile thumbnail
Hi! Firstly, I am so sorry that this is happening to you. It is not okay and I'm really not sure when recruiters thought that this was acceptable behaviour. Bad enough to experience this after dates but now we have to worry about it after job interviews as well?! A few things I have learned whilst in the job hunt process:1. Nothing is off limits or 'too rude' when it comes to HR/ Recruitment. (Sorry to all the HR people on here, not everyone is bad but damn... It is pretty rough out there).2. Unfortunately in life, not everybody has superb communication skills. Although your's are clearly impeccable and they should have viewed them as a very important skill of yours - not all HR/ Recruitment has these skills. Ironically. 3. You never, ever know what is coming. I have read/ heard stories of people being ghosted by recruiters for three weeks and then hearing from them about another interview. I hadn't heard back from a firm I was interviewing with (5 interviews to date), and it had been two weeks! I was sad. I had sent two followups. Today I heard from them about a 6th interview. Sometimes they will reach out.. but until then, just keep at it and keep looking for other opportunities. Now -- what to do from here? This is of course a point of discussion and debate but in my opinion, I think you should continue to email them every few weeks or so. Not because they will all of the sudden give you a job, but out of principle. It is never okay to leave a candidate hanging without a clear - 'we are sorry but...' email. It is never, ever, okay. Should I repeat it a third time? We are human beings, taking time out of our busy schedule. it is common, human decency to send an email out just clearly saying what the deal is. Or, if there is no news, at least communicating that. I had an interview with a law firm and it went so well. The senior associate really liked me and he even told me that. I sent a follow up a few hours later, etc. He sent an email the next day saying that the partner of the firm would like to meet with me and was very interested and asked my availability that week. I replied immediately and then... ghosted. Ghosted completed. No interview, nothing. I have followed up four times over a few months. Just out of principle. Anyway! good luck on your job search and keep your head up high. Also glassdoor is a great way to let out some frustration..!
nicolecharky's profile thumbnail
I totally understand how you feel! It absolutely sucks and it feels like a gut punch when you have to go through it. I've been struggling the last few months interviewing for jobs. I've had a few instances where I interview, then get ghosted or told they are going in a different direction. One company interviewed me for a position for several months and then decided not to actually have the position, saying "they were going in a different direction." They ended up hiring no one at all. I'm STILL waiting to hear back from another company that I've been interviewing with since February and I'm trying to be patient and follow up kindly with the HR person. When I was in my early 20s, I had a major interview with CNN. They flew me from LA to NY. They picked me up in a car at the airport and put me up in a hotel. Then, the next day they interviewed me for eight hours straight with multiple teams of people. By the end of the day, I was completely wiped out. The last editor to interview me gave me an assignment. I came home exhausted and did the assignment and then she never got back to me. I'd follow up and she would never return my email. It completely confused me and broke my heart. I ended up finding a great job in the end but it was a really hard process to go through at the time.As I look back on it, I realize that other people were disorganized or unclear and it wasn't my problem that they couldn't communicate clearly. Whether they wanted to hire me or not, they should have indicated their decision and told me rather than drag me along. I also think it's surprising how many companies interview people and then forget, get pulled in other directions, and new potential hires get lost in the shuffle. In newsrooms, I've noted that the people with the most responsibility and dedication to breaking news are often the ones who are hard to get a hold of - but they are also making hiring decisions. It's good to identify that you are not the problem and that in fact it might be the company or organization instead.
xujenna's profile thumbnail
Ugh, just wanted to post out of solidarity. I was ghosted as well last year—it was the first job interview I was actually excited about, made it to the final round, had about 8 interviews total with most of the team, personally requested an additional interview with another department lead, got good vibes from everyone which hyped me up even more, then.... nothing. Followed up several times with the person "standing in" for the recruiter who left shortly after I started interviewing (maybe this was the red flag), and when there was no response, with the CEO a couple times too. And still nothing. The end.I was suuuuper disappointed, but knew that ultimately, it was a bullet dodged. Then I went on to start my own thing, so it really did work out for the best!
DivyaB1's profile thumbnail
Hi! This has happened to me before. Spent hours interviewing only to be ghosted after final rounds like ??? It's rude and I feel like honestly I dodged a bullet because I don't want to work for a company that treats people so badly.
IngaDriksne's profile thumbnail
Laurene, I have hired for almost every startup I have worked at/supported as an advisor and this is definitely not normal. At least not in the startup world (or at least not for me). I have always made sure that we send a rejection email to every candidate who applied. Anyone getting through to the final stages, such as interviews with the founders - would usually get a personal call from me letting them know the decision and providing some useful feedback. I guess there's a pretty big difference in approach in a major corporate vs. a small company...I know a lot of larger companies say they can't reply to every candidate due to volume but I disagree. This is 2022 and there are so many great HR platforms/ATSs where you can create workflows and automate steps like rejection emails - so no, I don't buy that excuse. The fact that they have not come back to you after 8 interviews and all that time you have invested is unacceptable in my view.
l1lls's profile thumbnail
Hi! I am so sorry to hear this is happening to you and after reading the comments it seems that these situations are not as uncommon as one hopes. I have been in the rec industry for 9 years and disagree with 90% of the industry "processes" as I find them de-humanised and transactional. As much as I don't enjoy delivering negative feedback, it is part of the job and the further someone gets in their process, the more detailed feedback they deserve in my humble opinion.I would like to mention, though, that a recruiter may have all the best intentions and still have a candidate fall through the cracks. And sometimes it is in our control and others, it isn't.To me, there are a few possible reasons here:1. They still haven't made a decision and dragging their feet while still interviewing2. The role has fallen through - this is more common than people would expect3. The internal recruiter may not even be in their role anymore and your profile wasn't handed over properlyI think you can check if the role is still advertised and if so, they're still looking/ not made their mind up.Honestly though and I am happy to hear other opinions on this - it is far more likely to ghost someone who's been rejected than cutting comms with someone you'd look to hire even if there are delays.Once you're certain of the outcome of the process, I would suggest you give them some feedback :) Hope this helps!
rachelserwetz's profile thumbnail
@Laurene68 this is unfortunate. After that many interviews they really should send you at least a note if they aren't going to go with you or need more time. I'm sorry you had to deal with that but job search is unfortunately a beast and requires resilience, patience, and persistence. If you want some support, strategic guidance, or accountability in your job search, let me know - I'm Rachel, a career exploration coach (iamwoken.com) and I offer a free initial call here -- calendly.com/woken/demo .