Ghosted! What to Do When Don’t Hear Back from a Potential Employer After a Job Interview

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A job search can be an emotional roller coaster. You meticulously craft applications, tailor resumes, and prepare for interviews. Then, after a seemingly positive interview, you enter a radio silence zone. No updates, no rejection, no response, just…crickets. Ghosted, AKA “the silent treatment.” 

Investing your time and energy in applying and interviewing for a job only to find the potential employer doesn’t bother to get back to you can be an extremely frustrating experience. It’s only natural for you to wonder what’s going on, or wonder went wrong, and what you should do next. 

Did the Prospective Employer Provide a Timeline for When You Would Hear Back from Them?

If you haven’t heard back from the interviewer after your interview, there are some steps you can take to clarify the situation and keep your job search on track. These steps should be taken shortly after the timeline given by the interviewer has passed. If no timeline was provided, wait for at least a week before taking any of the recommended steps.

Understanding the Reasons Behind the Radio Silence: Potential Reasons Why an Employer Might Not Respond After an Interview

Typically, if the interviewer doesn’t get back to you within the timeline they provided during your meeting, it could be considered as no response after an interview. This could happen after a preliminary interview or even after a final round. Before diving into action, consider the reasons why an employer might not respond after an interview. There are a wide range of reasons why a potential employer doesn’t get back to a candidate, and the reason could be due to one or several factors. Consider these potential scenarios:

  • The interviewer is still conducting interviews with other candidates. In a competitive job market, employers might be swamped with applications. While they may have interviewed several promising candidates, communication can slip through the cracks.
  • The employer is gathering feedback from the interviewer.
  • The employer is preoccupied with other work-related tasks.
  • The employer hasn’t reached a final decision.
  • Your interview might not have been successful.
  • Other candidates appear to be a better fit for the role.
  • Internal Delays: Hiring processes can be slow and cumbersome, involving multiple rounds of interviews and decision-makers. Unexpected events, budget changes, or even a company restructuring can further delay these processes.
  • Lost in Communication: Emails sometimes get buried in inboxes, or your follow-up might not reach the right person.

Taking Charge: The Follow-Up

Silence isn’t your only option, but you need to be carefully to avoid conveying impatience, desperation, or negativity. If you don’t hear back after your interview, there are proactive measures you can take to clear up any confusion and keep your job search moving forward. 

 If the potential employer provided a clear timeline that has passed, you can reference that. If the potential employer did not provide a timeline, wait for at least a week before considering this time-tested advice for following up with an unresponsive potential employer:

  • Timing is Key: Wait a week after the interview before reaching out. This gives the employer time to process the interview and allows your thank-you email (which you should have sent within a day of the interview) to register.
  • The Power of the Email: Send a concise and professional email reiterating your interest in the position. Briefly mention a specific topic discussed in the interview that showcases your skills and enthusiasm.
  • Who to Contact: If you interviewed with multiple people, address the email to the most senior person you met. If unsure, reference the initial contact or company website for a hiring manager name.
  • If the Interviewer Doesn’t Respond After Several Attempts: Sure, the interviewer is likely just putting you off. But it’s also possible that the interviewer has left their role or is out sick. Consider emailing the head of the department for which you interviewed. They have a vested interest in filling the position and may be more responsive. This email should be brief, straightforward, and polite, and it should have a more formal tone than your previous emails, especially if you haven’t met them before.
  • Leverage Any Connections You Have Within the Company. If you know someone who works at the company you interviewed with, they might have information about the job. They could know if the position has been filled, if there’s a hiring freeze, or if key hiring personnel are on leave. This information can help you understand whether your interview was unsuccessful or if there’s a valid reason for the lack of response.

How to Write a Follow-up Email 

A follow-up email should be simple, straightforward and professional and convey your continued interest in the role without appearing pushy or desperate. Here’s an example of a follow-up email:

Subject: Following Up – [Your Name] – Interview for [Job Title]

Dear [Hiring Manager Name],

I hope this email finds you well.

I’m writing to follow up on my interview for the [Job Title] position on [Date of Interview].

The conversation about [Specific topic discussed] was particularly interesting, and I’m confident my skills and experience in [Your relevant skills] would be a valuable asset to your team.

I understand hiring processes can take time, but I wanted to reiterate my strong interest in this opportunity. Please let me know if there’s any additional information I can provide.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


[Your Name]

Deciding Whether to Follow Up Again or to Move On

If you don’t hear back after a week from your initial follow-up email, a second attempt might be warranted. However, exercise caution here.

  • Before Resending: Consider if a specific reason, like a holiday or weekend, might be causing the delay.
  • The Second Email: Keep this even shorter and more direct. Mention you’re following up on your previous email and reiterate your interest.

After two unanswered attempts, it’s time to move on with your job search. However, don’t completely write off the company.

  • Continue Networking: Connect with the people you met on LinkedIn. Stay engaged with the company by following their social media presence for future opportunities.

Learning from the Experience

While it’s frustrating to be ghosted, use the experience to refine your approach:

  • Self-Evaluation: Reflect on the interview. Was there anything you could have done differently? Seek feedback from a friend, mentor, or career counselor.
  • Sharpen Your Skills: Utilize the time to enhance your skills through online courses, workshops, or volunteer work.

Things to Keep In Mind 

  • Don’t Take it Personally: Getting ghosted isn’t necessarily about your qualifications. Hiring processes are often complex and impersonal.
  • Maintain Positivity: Stay positive and focused on your job search.
  • Keep Looking Forward: Use this as an opportunity to find a company that values clear communication and respects candidates’ time. A prospective employer that doesn’t feel it’s necessary to get back to candidates who’ve taken the time and effort to apply and interview may not be a company you want to work for. 

Additional Tips

  • Consider Calling (As a Last Resort): If emails remain unanswered, a polite phone call might be an option, especially if you have a contact number. Be prepared to leave a voicemail if you can’t reach someone directly.
  • Social Media (Use with Caution): Avoid publicly complaining about the company on social media. It can come across as unprofessional and damage your reputation.
  • Document Everything: Keep track of your communication with the company, including interview dates, names of contacts, and copies of emails.

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