The cure for ‘ghosting’ 👻 Believing in yourself

Candidates have long been tortured by un-responsive hiring managers. They eagerly wait to hear whether they’re moving on to the next interview, only to eventually come to the conclusion themselves that they didn’t make the cut. They’ve been ghosted.

Employers have gone through the rigorous process of qualifying and hiring a candidate, gotten a desk ready, taken time out of their busy schedule to start the on-boarding process only to discover their new employee didn’t show up on their first day. They’ve been ghosted.

This is a hot-button topic that affects candidates and employers alike - disappearing without any real closure.

Unfortunately, this practice isn’t going anywhere, so let’s turn that frown upside down and focus on how we can cure the effects of ghosting for ourselves (I’m focusing on the candidate experience in this case.)

It’s not about you, it’s about them 😑

It’s so easy to spiral into a narrative where someone ghosted you on purpose: to hurt you, because they think less of you. This is one million percent not true.

Ghosting says much more about the other person than it does about you. It can be difficult for a hiring manager to tell you that you’re not the right fit, but don’t get caught up in how they choose to handle the conversation.

You’re better than that and you’ve got bigger fish to fry.

I ain’t afraid of no ghosts 👻

The good thing is that ghosting, much like many other things, only hurts as much as you let it. 

The pain is evident because of the investment of time and energy you’ve given a particular job. The bigger the investment, the bigger the pain. 

I don’t mean to be glass-half-empty on this topic, but you don’t have the job until there is an offer in writing in your inbox. 

So while you wait to hear you did get the job, what’s the next best thing you could do? Think about the next one.

What’s a reasonable time to be on the hook? 🗓

Waiting on a response? I feel a week is a healthy amount of time to be on a potential employer’s hook.

1-2 business days: they’re likely busy with their day to day tasks

3-5 days: they’re taking time to carefully evaluate candidates

6+ days: they’re moving on and you should too

Expect to be ghosted

Ghosting hurts because we expect the other party to treat us a specific way. We can debate etiquette until we’re blue in the face, but we’ll still never come to an agreement. We simply have to accept that ghosting is a part of the recruitment process.

If you expect it to happen and maintain a healthy mental distance, it’ll take the sting out of being ghosted.


I’ve been ghosted by employers 👨‍💼 

I’ve had the unfortunate experience of interviewing for many roles that I was confident I was going to get. An example from last year was particularly painful, because I’d gone through so many interviews and all the signs were pointing to me being awarded the position.

  • I’d been head-hunted for a marketing role at a startup

  • Asked to come in (despite rejecting them originally)

  • Was somehow convinced to do an assignment

  • Met with the entire team multiple times

  • Had everyone tell me how excited they were to work with me

  • Met with one co-founder, then the other co-founder

  • Then silence



I’ve been ghosted by recruiters 👩‍💼  

How many of you have gotten an unsolicited email or LinkedIn message from a recruiter telling you you’re the perfect candidate for a role, then hear crickets chirp once you respond?

It’s nothing personal, but recruiters are looking for the best fit for their clients - and clients are actually paying for their time.

Even if you are a fit right now, if another candidate pops up with more of the required criteria, there’s a good chance you may get put to the side. 

Remember, if you’re passed on for a role, it doesn’t immediately mean it’s because you’re not a fit - it’s because you are competing against dozens (or hundreds) of other candidates who are also a fit.  

I’ve been ghosted by networking contacts

This is why I now send calendar invites to networking contacts, because it holds everyone accountable to the meeting. I used to schedule coffees with people and just hope we’d connect at the time we agreed.

Unfortunately I’ve had people cancel one me less than hour out, less than five minutes out, 15 minutes after our meeting time, or just not show up at all.


Thank those who don’t ghost 🙏

When a recruiter or hiring manager does get back to me, I am OVER THE MOON. Thank those who do get back to you in a timely fashion and forgive those who are a little late.

Acknowledge that they got back to you at all and reward the behaviour with a thank you.


Brush that dirt off your shoulder 💁‍♀️

Etiquette be damned. If they want you, they’ll come find you. In the meantime, don’t give them any more of your time and energy. Focus on the next opportunity.

This is where applying to at least two roles a day is critical. If you’re doing this correctly, you’ll have a steady stream of incoming interview requests.

I repeat: It’s not about you, it’s about them 🧡

It’s just so important, I thought it deserved repeating. Believe in yourself and your abilities. You’re going to get through this.

Do you have a ‘ghost story’ to share? I’d love to hear it.


Richard GawlasComment