I know how unfair job searches can be, especially if you’ve been ghosted during a job search. In the past, I’ve created Pinterest perfect resumes, poured my heart into job applications, and never heard back from companies. Recently, my friend was ghosted by a company after having two Zoom interviews. Even though she called and emailed to follow up, she never received a reply. Ghosting job applicants is rude and can lead to unnecessary suffering.
Have you been ghosted during a job search?
If so, you are not alone. A 2021 Indeed study found that 77% of U.S. job seekers have been ghosted by a prospective employer since March 2020, and 10% had an employer ghost them after making a verbal job offer.* In an ideal world, companies would politely acknowledge applications and follow up after interviews. It would even be helpful if they could send an auto-reply that states, “We have received an overwhelming amount of applications, and cannot reply to everyone. We’ll contact you within two weeks should we like to move forward.” But, unfortunately, common courtesy is not so common anymore. While being ghosted during a job search grows more and more common.
There’s nothing like being ghosted during a job search to ignite a frenzy of mental anguish. Doubts, fears, and insecurities can spiral out of control when you’re left in the dark by companies who ignore your hard work and effort. I’ve learned that focusing on the negative can never help a job search, and I’m here to tell you that you can get through this!
Here are five ways to maintain a healthy mindset after being ghosted during a job search:
1. Never Take Ghosting Personally
You may be wondering “Why are potential employers ghosting me?” The answer is that you NEVER know why somebody doesn’t reply unless they tell you directly. There could be countless reasons for their silence. I used to tell myself that if I didn’t hear back from a job, there was something wrong with my application. In reality, how could I have possibly known that? Please don’t make the same mistake I did; don’t create a negative story based on assumptions. It is never helpful to blame yourself after being ghosted during a job search.
You’re not at fault for a businesses’ poor behavior. You are not responsible for somebody else’s lack of communication skills. You are not responsible for being ghosted during a job search. Ignoring applicants speaks volumes about an employer and says nothing about you. By not responding, the company or recruiter is silently communicating, “I don’t have the bandwidth, manners, or respect to acknowledge your humanity.” It is 0% related to you.
2. Feel Your Feelings
After being ghosted during a job search, it’s important to honor your feelings. It’s normal to feel confused, healthy to cry, and natural to be angry! Waves of emotion are part of the stress that comes with being ghosted.
Here are some healthy ways to release feelings:
- If you are overwhelmed, retreat to a safe space, like your bedroom, car, or bathroom. Negative emotions can pop up randomly throughout the day, but you don’t have to deal with them in public.
- Acknowledge what you are feeling in a non-judgemental way. Label the emotion as it moves through you. Say to yourself, “I am feeling angry because I didn’t hear back from the company I want to work for.”
- Move your feelings through your body. Scream into a pillow, throw ice in the shower, or journal about your thoughts.
- Hug yourself. You are going through a lot! Have compassion for yourself.
Acknowledging and honoring your feelings will help you heal faster.
3. Change Things Up a Bit
Adverse experiences can inspire change. For example, if you have been ghosted a few times, consider switching things up.
- Are there ways to spice up my resume or cover letter so it’s more likely to get noticed?
- Is there anything else I could do differently, like approaching a receptionist or department head, instead of applying through Human Resources?
- After my interviews, could I send out hand-written thank you notes that include my phone number so people can quickly get back to me?
Be creative and think out of the box.
4. Rejection is Redirection
What do Oprah Winfrey, Walt Disney, and The Beatles have in common? They were ALL rejected before making it big time.
- A Baltimore TV News producer told Oprah that she was “unfit for TV news.”
- Walt Disney was fired from an animation job – he was told he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
- A record company professed that The Beatles had “No future in show business.”
Being rejected is NOT a reflection of your worthiness, value, or ability to do a job. When one door closes, another door opens.
5. It’s Their Loss
Real talk: my value and self-worth used to be wrapped up in other people’s opinions. I wrongly thought I must have done something wrong if somebody didn’t get back to me. Fast forward to today: I know it’s NOT MY FAULT if I’m ghosted during a job search. I am confident in my business skillset. Any business that ignored me missed out. And if a company ghosts you, it’s their loss!
The Bottom Line
You cannot control how companies and recruiters treat you, but you can control how you respond to being ghosted during a job search. You can feel your feelings and practice self-compassion. You can amplify self-care practices. You can lean into your support network. You can fill your life with meaningful and purpose-driven activities that bring you joy. You are still whole, worthy, and deserving of an incredible career.
I want to leave you with this quote from Alexander Graham Bell, “When one door closes, another opens, but we often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” So keep going; your dream career is just around the corner, and being ghosted during a job search will be part of the past.
By Gretta Perlmutter, Coach and Host of Coping With Ghosting Podcast
Want more support around being ghosted? Join my Facebook group, listen to my Coping With Ghosting podcast, and follow me on LinkedIn or Instagram. I am also available for 30- and 60- minute private coaching sessions.