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by Rob Porter | November 07, 2023


Welcome back to our series on the reasons why employers ghost job seekers. Last time we spoke about scenarios that can take place internally at companies that might cause them to ghost applicants, so if you haven’t caught up yet you can do so here. This time, we’re going to talk about some behaviors of job seekers that might hurt their candidacy to the point of getting ghosted. Let’s begin.

Not Following Instructions

Most job listings provide instructions on how to apply. These instructions might include whether or not the company wants to see a cover letter, which email address to send your application to, how many references you should have, and when necessary, how many examples of your work you should provide.

It’s very important that you read each job listing carefully and take note of any instructions that are provided. If you fail to follow instructions, the hiring manager might see you as being uncooperative or even lazy, and there’s a good chance they’ll pass right over your application without a second thought.

Perceived Lack of Interest

Throughout the hiring process, you should maintain a positive, enthusiastic attitude in your interactions with the hiring manager. In addition to this, take the initiative when it comes to following up, whether it be via email or by making a phone call. This will show the hiring manager that you’re interested and excited, and may help to set you apart from other applicants.

On the other hand, if you aren’t proactive with following up and you fail to take the initiative in your communications with the hiring manager, it might make you seem uninterested or flaky, and this is never a good look. By comparison, other applicants will appear more invested in the role and the company in question, which will hurt your chances at landing the job. The bottom line is, if you come off as uninterested, you can probably bet you’ll be ghosted.

Poor Communication

Building off of our last entry, proper communication is key. Whether it’s during a phone call, in an email, or on an interview, put your best foot forward. Review materials such as your cover letter and resume multiple times, making sure to correct any silly grammar or punctuation errors. Take the same approach with follow up emails, ensuring that they’re well-written and concise.

During an interview, take your time when answering questions and maintain a positive, professional attitude. If you get stuck on a question, it’s far better to think before you speak, even if your response is a little delayed. If your cover letter, resume, and emails are riddled with mistakes, or you’re constantly stumbling over yourself during an interview, the hiring manager might see you as being a less than stellar candidate.

Botching the Interview

We’ve already covered poor communication and a perceived lack of interest, but there are still many ways in which you can botch an interview. If you haven’t done your homework and are unable to answer even basic questions about the company you’re interviewing for, it won’t take long for the hiring manager to find out. Always conduct research into the jobs and companies you apply to—the information will come in handy later.

If you aren’t familiar with your own resume, you’ll run into problems when the hiring manager inevitably asks you questions about it. The rest should go without saying, but if you’re not paying attention or you’re constantly checking your phone or breaking eye contact with the hiring manager, you probably won’t get the job. If your interview was particularly bad, it’s possible that you won’t even receive a courtesy call.

The Wrong Candidate

Even if you’ve got all the right experience and skills, a company might decide to go in a different direction. Sometimes a company is looking for a specific personality type, and if they get the impression you won’t be a good fit for the company culture, they won’t hire you despite your impressive work history and achievements.

It’s important to keep in mind that there are certain aspects of a company’s decision-making process that are out of your control. If you aren’t hired because a company doesn’t think you’ll be a good fit, it doesn’t mean you won’t find a great job somewhere else. In some cases, a company might decide to cut off all communication with you rather than provide an explanation. This is the mark of a toxic workplace, and you wouldn’t want to work there anyway.

Being ghosted during your job search can be stressful, and it can have a negative impact on your morale. It’s important to remember that there are a number of reasons why this can happen, and it’s not always something that’s in your control. If you’ve done your homework and put the effort in and you still find yourself being ghosted by a potential employer, don’t let it get to you—take a step back, review your cover letter and resume, and press on. Eventually, you’ll find a job that’s a great fit for you.