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Ghosting happens all the time to people during their job search before, but what if it happens to you?

You’ve heard that there are going to be layoffs at your company. You’re recently lost your job. You’ve seen a job description on LinkedIn, and it reads as a great match for your skillset. You feel like you’re not longer making an impact in your current job and you’re wanting more of a challenge. Your manager just overlooked you for a promotion – again!

There are so many reasons to look for a new job.

You update your resume, and you start submitting it to roles everywhere on the internet. You receive an email telling you that you look like “a great fit” and the recruiter would like to schedule a call with you. You wait. You wait. Nothing. Nothing happens. This was my “DREAM JOB” you mutter to yourself. Maybe you think you should call the company. You find them on LinkedIn – you send a PM to them – again nothing. You hear crickets. This is called GHOSTING and it’s horrific. This is a common practice in interviewing and hiring. It’s inhumane, and it says a lot about the hiring managers and HR managers.

What does ghosting mean?

Ghosting means shutting down communication with someone without notice. One minute they see you and they you never hear from them again. Ghosting occurs in job search when the company has responded to you that they’re interested in speaking with you and then POOF they never respond again. Ghosting can happen at any stage of the process from the initial connection through the offer in writing. It’s frustrating and confusing. In many cases it’s inhumane.

Who is ghosting you?

For the record humans ghost other humans. Robots are not ghosting you these are other people who are making a conscious decision to ignore you because most ghosting will occur after a job seeker attempts to connect with the company representative on more than one occasion, and often using different mediums to connect (voicemail, email, instant messaging on LinkedIn) will yield no result. The job seeker has no idea what happened and no one at the company is held accountable for disappearing like Casper the Friendly Ghost.

When someone contacts you and tells you that you’re a “FIT” for a role, or they “LOVE YOUR RESUME” it’s extremely exciting. Who wouldn’t be excited to hear that? Job descriptions make job responsibilities seem so exciting. They’re enticing you with the promise of a fulfilling job when they share on Indeed, ZipRecruiter or a company’s website.

No job description will ever say “this job sucks.” No description of a company will ever convey the message “our culture is the worst, and our management…omg…they’re hideous.” NO JOB DESCRIPTION will ever say “we’ve been recruiting for this job for months, and we can’t find anyone to fill this spot.”

Job descriptions are written to be compelling, competitive, and move you to APPLY. The writers behind these descriptions are comparing what other recruiters are writing, or how their competition is recruiting for similar jobs at the same level. I want you to always keep this in mind when you’re reading them.

These companies and corporations are wooing you, and the jobs well, they could be fake. Let me explain this process to you.

How ghosting works

Corporations are marketing these jobs to you the same way they market products to their prospective customers. This is a sales process. They make them sound so engaging, and they lead you to believe THIS JOB IS THE MOST AMAZING JOB YOU’VE EVER READ ABOUT AT THE MOST INNOVATIVE COMPANY IN THE WORLD AND EVERYONE WHO WORKS HERE IS HAPPY ALL THE TIME! COME WORK HERE! WORK WITH US! YOU WILL LOVE YOUR LIFE! Really?

Guess what? I don’t want to burst your bubble, but the job might be the same exact job you have and when you join this new company you lose all the seniority you’re leaving at your current job. People fall so fast in love with a job description that they start visualizing what their future will look like before they even hear back from the company. If you’re not currently employed or you really despise your company, or your manager it’s easy to fantasize about a new role with a new team and a new environment. Who doesn’t want a shiny new job with great benefits and a new opportunity to shine? Um, everyone!?!

While I’ve been my own boss for 13 years, I’ve been ghosted countless times. Allow me to share the difference between how Microsoft and Apple handled my interviewing process.

My Personal Story About Being Ghosted by Apple

In March of 2001 I was interviewing with Apple. It went on for months and I was told I was moving to the next step in the process and then I was ghosted. NOTHING. I should’ve known that any process that takes months shows that the department, the company, or the process has a big challenge. They don’t have their act together, or they don’t know what they want in the person they’re hiring.

I called, and I called. I emailed. Nothing. I left voicemails. I texted. Nothing. About a week or so after September 11th, I was living in New York City, and I received a note that I had a package at FEDEX. My friend and I went to pick up the package and I truly thought it was a care package. How naïve? Wrong! It was a folder with page after page of handwritten notes about me on copies of my resume. There were personal details about my salary history and everything you share during your interviewing process handwritten on these resumes. There were comments about how they felt about my personality (all positive) but the strangest part was that I was holding it in my hands. This should’ve been in a filing cabinet somewhere or better yet scanned or shredded. Instead, I was standing on 55th Street thinking what the hell?

There was a note attached to it that read “I FOUND THIS FLOATING AROUND THE JAVITS CENTER AND IT’S BEEN MOVED FROM DESK TO DESK SO I THOUGHT I’D SEND IT TO YOU.” If you ever think that these companies have their acts together – think again. Even Apple at that time under the direction of the amazing Steve Jobs. Too bad he wasn’t running their HR department.

I’d interviewed with them a few times when they were in New York City in July of 2001 for MacWorld. We’d also met at the W Hotel on Lexington Avenue. I’d think that after you meet someone for an interview a few times and develop a relationship with them you’d have the decency to call them to let them know that you weren’t moving forward with them versus have zero regard for their personal information. Obviously, they didn’t think the way I do. I dodged a bullet working there. The confusion is a lot to handle. The “drop it like it’s hot” says so much more about them than you. It’s hard to understand that when you’re ghosted or ignored but I’m here to share that it’s the truth. There is something wrong with their way of thinking, and their way of doing business. When your business is humans, and you don’t treat others like a human – they you should quit and go work with robots.

How Microsoft Didn’t Ghost Me

When I was interviewing at Microsoft in 2004, I remember being called on the phone by the hiring manager who was kind enough to let me know that the role was being put on hold. I remember sobbing because I was so miserable at that point in my career, and in that job. Then I thought about it, and I realized that I was lucky. I was lucky because that hiring manager (not HR) called me to let me know that they wouldn’t be adding this position to their team. How kind I thought! What a lovely woman to let me know that I wouldn’t be moving forward in the process because there was no job for me to fill. I was still super sad, but I had closure and I couldn’t complain about it. This is what people need even after one phone call, or one email.They need closure. Does that sound too emotional for you? Please let me explain. This ghosting is a form of rejection. No answer is an answer. People can handle rejection a lot better when someone sends them an email or calls them on the phone to let them know they’re not moving forward in the process. Rejection is a part interviewing and I get that. People don’t take well to being told no.

Job search is all about emotions. Job search is self-worth. You’re putting yourself on the line. You’re putting yourself out there. You’re exposing yourself and exposing your career. This is about your ego. Job search is about rejection when people haven’t reviewed your resume or spoken with you in person about your background. I dare you to find a more emotional space in corporate America other than searching for your next role.

Why Companies Ghost You

There are so many reasons that companies ghost, and I’d like to share two of them with you. The hiring manager/talent acquisition manager/recruiter doesn’t want to spend the time arguing or being yelled at on the phone when they tell them it’s a no, so they opt to not saying anything at all. They are cowards and have posted a job that isn’t real. They’re worried about being called out on the fact that it was a scam. That’s what this is it’s a scam and there are no ramifications for the companies who practice this style of recruiting.

If these companies didn’t use a spray and pray method with posting job descriptions everywhere they’d have less people to write and call. If you interview with a company, I believe you deserve hear a yes or a no. Recruiting and hiring is a critical part of running a company so it’s their problem to manage the process. You responded to the job description, and they should do the work. Dot the I’s Cross the t’s. Finish the process. If you email someone write them back. If they leave you a voicemail call them back.

People argue with me that it’s impossible to keep up. I don’t think it is and I know there are a ton of solutions out there for this reason. Corporations have money to pay the PR agency on how to craft the message the CEO is sharing on CNBC and Fox Business. How about they slow down on this and stop paying the ATS systems to post their jobs and start responding to the thousands of resumes sitting on those servers who have already responded to their postings on line?