Ghosted by Recruiter? Here is What to Do

Why Recruiters Ghost Candidates and What You Can Do About It

Anyone actively pursuing a new job knows what it feels like when recruiters go silent. You put a lot of time and effort into locating a job listing, strengthening your resume, drafting a position-specific cover letter, filling out an application, and going through the interview process, only to be ghosted by a recruiter.

Employers and recruiters are ghosting candidates by not replying to interview requests, not replying to emails, and not responding to phone calls. This behavior leaves the candidate feeling frustrated and disappointed.

ghosted by recruiter

While being ghosted by a recruiter is an unpleasant experience (and ultimately not a good business model), there are four easy rules that you can follow to avoid being ghosted: Be Nice, Be The Best, Set Expectations and Follow Up.

Why Do Recruiters Ghost Candidates?

Before diving into the rules, it is important to understand why recruiters ghost candidates and why you were ghosted after your interview. In order to gain this understanding, I went directly to the source: the recruiters themselves.

60% of Recruiters Have Ghosted a Candidate

After I created a survey and sent it to fellow HR employees and recruiters, the data revealed that almost two-thirds of respondents admitted to ghosting candidates after an interview.

60% of recruiters ghost candidates after an interview

Being ghosted after an interview is so common within our work culture that even the recruiters themselves have experienced it.

It happened to me multiple times and I understand that it can be a significant concern for a candidate.

Ines R.

But if recruiters are being ghosted too, why would they also do it?

Too Many Applications

25% of recruiters stated that the number of applications that they have to process prevents them from giving relevant feedback to each applicant.

In other words, there are simply too busy and not able to respond to everyone in a timely manner.

The main reason why there are some candidates who are ghosted by the recruiters is because of the massive volume of candidates being processed at the same time. I actually experience this sometimes.

Francis N.

To be fair to the recruiters, in some instances they would respond if they could, but ghosting is their only option due to the high application volume.

Bias and Discriminatory Requirements

While it would be easier to assume that all recruiter ghosting is due to application volume, that would not paint the entire picture.

Bias in the workplace, such as gender, race, age, and disability discrimination, can take many forms and can be present even at the beginning stages of the application process. However unethical and disdainful these biases are, their existence cannot be ignored when examining recruiter ghosting.

Clients may have a special request like: “This position must be filled by a woman or a man”, or “Must be good looking (sometimes)”, or “Must be of the same race”, like a “Chinese person who can speak mandarin”.

Anonymous Recruiter

Clearly, these practices are discriminatory and unfair to all applicants because they are not based on a candidate’s abilities or competencies, but rather on superficial characteristics that are irrelevant to performance.

Recruiters who agree to work with such requirements are obviously not able to provide honest feedback to the applicant unless they want the second follow-up to be in court.

Luckily, only a fraction of recruiters have mentioned this as a reason for ghosting candidates.

Recruiter Avoiding Bad News

When a candidate is going through the application process, the recruiter may encounter negative information about the applicant that they do not feel comfortable sharing.

For some job applications, candidates are asked to provide references from previous employers. However, there are some cases in which past employers give negative feedback when they are used as a reference, and recruiters are put in an uncomfortable position.

Negative feedback was received from a reference check, which my colleague didn’t feel comfortable discussing with the candidate. Therefore, she avoided the situation since the company would not have been interested in pursuing the candidate based on the reference check.”

Faeith B.

In this instance, the recruiter did not feel comfortable discussing this negative feedback with the candidate. If recruiters are put in uncomfortable situations where they may have to deliver negative feedback, some may avoid the situation by ghosting the candidate.

In addition to reference checks, this avoidance can apply to other aspects of the interview process, like the results of a technical interview or something else that may disappoint the applicant if they are made aware.

The Candidate is Rude

In some instances, recruiters may be justified in ghosting a candidate. If a candidate does not treat the recruiter with respect, exhibits troubling or erratic behavior, or is rude in their communication.

If a recruiter is feeling insulted or not treated well by a candidate he or she may simply decide that the candidate should not be contacted at all and “accidentally” miss an email from the corky job seeker.

The candidate is rude. Some candidates can be very rude and want the job so bad even if they are not qualified. They end up harassing us and that is when we decide to ghost them. Instead of considering them for another role, we end up flagging them to never be contacted in the future.

Versa G.

The candidate had a perfect resume that was a 100% fit. However, he kept changing the times of an interview last minute or had multiple no shows.

Ed D.

Recruiters are people too and deserve to be treated with respect, especially if they are trying to figure out if you are worth hiring.

The Consequences of Recruiters Ghosting Candidates

While some of this data is not all that surprising, it is important to note that there are consequences of recruiter ghosting for both the job applicant and the employer. Examining the data further reveals that recruiters ghosting candidates is a sign of poor company culture and threatens long-term relations between future candidates and employers.

Poor Company Culture

The majority of recruiters, including the ones who admitted to ghosting candidates, agree that not giving feedback after an interview is a bad practice that should be avoided.

If a recruiter is completely unresponsive it might be a good indicator of the company culture and the candidates should continue the search for a company that pays more attention to a wholesome employee experience.

Kenneth M.

In other words, if the company does not have a culture based on effective communication, mutual respect, and positive self-representation, then its brand will be negatively affected. Yes, being ghosted after an interview can hurt a candidate, but it can also hurt the company by revealing its poor company culture.

This poor company culture, in turn, can damage the long-term relations between candidates and the recruiter.

Damaging Relations Between Candidates and Recruiters

The role of a recruiter is not simply to turn candidates into hired employees. One of their main objectives is to build a strong network of qualified individuals who may fit future opportunities.

I, personally, have never ghosted someone. People that ghost candidates are selfish and only care to rapid-hire and not actually build connections.


If recruiters continue to demonstrate this selfish, rapid-hire behavior, soon there will be no more qualified candidates interested in applying. Therefore, by eliminating recruiter ghosting, employers can actually salvage their reputation and candidate network without damaging relations between the applicant pool and their overall brand.

4 Ways to Avoid Being Ghosted by Recruiter

Now that we have a better understanding of how and why some recruiters ghost applicants after an interview, let’s examine 4 rules that you should always follow to decrease your chances of being ghosted after an interview.

Be Nice

Being nice to people is a good rule in general, but is especially valuable when engaging with a recruiter.

Recruiters have a job to do, and while they may not always be able to do it perfectly, a positive attitude and pleasant behavior from candidates can go a long way.

Be kind to recruiters. We get a feel for the candidates and will help them to the best of our abilities to get them a role. Even when they do not get this one position, we will look for other roles that they may be interested in instead.

Versa G.

Another way of being nice and showing interest in the position is by demonstrating enthusiasm. You should not only express your desire for the position, but let the recruiter know that you are actually excited by the prospect of getting to work in that unique environment.

Candidates should maintain their integrity and enthusiasm while showcasing their great attitude in looking for a job. Most of the time, employers or recruiters are not just looking for intelligence, we are taking a holistic view of the job that would also fit your needs.”

Mary R.

By maintaining a positive attitude and showing enthusiasm, a recruiter will think twice about ghosting you.

Be the Best

A way to ensure that you are the best candidate for the job is to apply for jobs where your experience, training, and education intersect with the position you are applying for.

you can avoid being gosted by recruiter if you're the best candidate for the position

Set yourself up for success by applying to jobs that you are right for and recruiters will be quicker to get back to you and possibly recommend you for the position.

The best candidate is the one that is suitable for the job itself. They must have the relevant work experience, training, education and skills to qualify for the position.

Apple J.

It may seem obvious, but if you are not qualified for a position, you will probably be ghosted by a recruiter.

Consider becoming a DevOps expert. This role is in extreme demand now. Then, you’ll never be ghosted by recruiters. Instead, they will chase you themself with numerous high-paying opportunities. You can read more about how to become a rock-start DevOps engineer in our other materials: How to Become a DevOps Engineer, How to Become a DevOps Expert

Becoming a Kubernetes expert is another option. If you’re interested in this direction, you might consider the materials from the list below (clickable) ????????????

Set Expectations

As mentioned earlier, sometimes recruiters are unable to get in contact with every applicant, but that does not mean that you as a candidate shouldn’t discuss what your expectations are of your recruiter.

While being nice and respectful, clarify what your expectations are in terms of receiving feedback or an additional interview.

During the interview phase, the candidate can proactively ask for a timeline from the recruiter as to when he/she can expect feedback. The candidate can also ask the recruiter for contact details to ask about the application status.

Maria C.

Being proactive during the interview phase demonstrates your enthusiasm for the position while also clarifying your expectations for further communication.

Ask the recruiter when you will receive any updates from the company about the status of your application.

Kazzelyn S.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and set expectations.

Follow Up

Now, you may think that following up with a recruiter may be misinterpreted as harassment or a lack of patience on your part. These are good instincts to have as they show that you are trying to maintain a respectful relationship with your recruiter.

However, following up with recruiters in a nice and respectful way can also give you access to valuable information about your application status.

Keep following up with your recruiter! You may feel frustrated after not getting a response on your follow-ups, but still, don’t be disrespectful in your communication because this will affect your personal brand.

Sajid S.

As mentioned earlier, ghosting leads to consequences for both the applicant and the employer. Both parties should be aware of their communication and attitude because these can negatively affect their individual and collective brands.

Communication is the key. Reach out to the recruiter a week after your initial interview for the status of the application.

Lea D.

Following up with a recruiter is a crucial component in avoiding recruiter ghosting.

What To Do If the Recruiter is Still Not Responding

If you have followed these steps and are still getting ghosted, you may want to move on.

Sometimes hard work and effective communication can only get you so far, but don’t be discouraged! There is a job out there for you, you just need to keep looking.

Look For Other Opportunities

The data shows that not all recruiters are able to properly address each application, while others may not be acting in your best interest (as well as their own brand).

If you have followed the above steps and got no response, try applying to job postings at companies with a proven track record of positive network relations and responsiveness. Your hard work deserves to be acknowledged by companies that understand your value and how you can help.

Look for another job. There’s a lot of job opportunities out there.

Pauline M.

Never settle for one or two applications only. You must seek for other opportunities and continue to be persistent and driven. Never put eggs in one basket – the best option is to have more options

Apple J.


Being ghosted after an interview by a recruiter is not a good feeling.

Understanding why recruiters ghost candidates can give you valuable insight into how the recruiting process works, and also how to avoid being ghosted in the first place.

Some recruiters are hit with too many applications and do not have enough time to get back to every applicant. Some recruiters are operating based on their own biases or the discriminatory policies of their employers. And sometimes, the applicant was simply rude and not worth following up with.

Regardless of the reasoning, ghosting job applicants can have negative consequences on the applicant, but also on the overall brand of the employer, making the employer seem selfish and uninterested in employee growth.

By following the 4 rules (Be Nice, Be the Best, Set Expectations and Follow Up), applicants can avoid this ghosting behavior and show their recruiter that they are worth the time and the respect.

It’s important to note that there will always be another opportunity out there if the recruiter’s ghosting doesn’t stop, but you should always do everything in your power to make sure the recruiter thinks twice before ghosting you.

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Originally published Oct 18, 2022 6:36:23 PM (updated October 18 2022 )

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