What to do when you're ghosted by a job recruiter

Having been on the job hunt for a while, you were more than delighted to be in contact with a recruiter whom, after speaking to on the phone, told you then next step in the process would be interviews and that they’d be in touch.  You waited.  First, days went by and then weeks.  Still nothing. 

A woman sits alone at a table with her glasses off, her cell phone blank on the table in front of her, and an empty coffee mug to the side.

You check your email regularly and also your missed calls, texts, and voicemails.  It’s become quite clear—you’ve been ghosted, and the sheer disappointment can be discouraging.  Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do in the event you find yourself ghosted by a recruiter.

Follow these steps:

Recall your initial conversation with the recruiter.  You were feeling yourself.  The conversation went great—the recruiter told you how impressed they were with your experience.  You had thoughtful responses to every question they asked you.  You know it was way too early in the process to get your hopes up but you definitely gave them something to think about. So why then were you never contacted again?  Did the recruiter simply share with you what the next steps in their process would be, or did they mean you in particular?  This simple mistake can cause unnecessary stress for a jobseeker. 

Temper your expectations without lowering them.  You wouldn’t be wrong in thinking to yourself that they could have at least sent a note.  In general, jobseekers should not accept a lack of responsiveness as commonplace.  The professionalism displayed during the recruiting process can provide a glimpse into how an organization operates.  Consider this as you determine the level effort you will ultimately spend trying to join the organization.

Send a follow-up message.  This should be a simple, respectful, one-time message inquiring about the status of your candidacy for the role. Be sure to include the title of the position and your name for them to reference. This will not guarantee a response but it should leave you without doubts on whether you’re still in the running, not selected, or whether they’ve made any progress at all.

Don’t take it personal.  You’ve sent your follow-up message and now it’s time to keeping things moving as you focus your attention on other job opportunities.  It’s important to note that recruiters regularly manage several vacancies at once so don’t take it personal if your specific job search doesn’t seem like a priority to them. Don’t let this experience ruin your confidence.  Take the hint and move on while remaining focused on the task at hand of finding a new job—not making new friends. 


Searching for a new job can be daunting.  Use each application and interaction with a recruiter as a learning experience.  If you find yourself in a situation where you need to follow-up or respond to a recruiter, be sure to close the loop.  This of course, will never guarantee the same outcome for you but it will certainly help in setting standard for how people treat each other during the jobseeking process.