For hire sign telling applicants a company is hiring

Say NO to Ghosting

Living in the post Covid world has been “interesting” to say the least. On its face, we now have masks (pun intended), vaccine cards, and social distancing just to name a few changes. It has also changed our lifestyles too. Working from home has never been more prevalent. People who work from home permanently have another advantage, they can apply for roles anywhere in the world. Just a few months ago, this wasn’t the norm it is now.

The reason I mention this is recently a few of my colleagues in Product Management have found new roles. I recently caught up with one colleague who mentioned he applied to probably 70 companies before finding his latest opportunity. He mentioned the job application process is more stressful than ever.  And the new way to know you didn’t get the job? Not hearing anything. You are “ghosted“.

Our changing world

I’ve been in my current role for several years now, but I can remember when I was interviewing.  If the company was going to move forward with another candidate, you would usually get a heads up from the recruiter. Typically it was a canned message, but often the courteous recruiters would call and thank you for your time. If you were resourceful enough, you could get some feedback about your performance to help guide you on your next interview. But things have changed.

We now live in a world where everyone is so busy, we don’t even have time to acknowledge the applicants we pass on. Some of it is procedural to protect the company. If the company isn’t interested in the candidate, don’t bother contacting them to prevent the remote chance of legal repercussions. But I think a lot of it is the world we live in today. Like it or not, we continue to drift into a more impersonal reality where human interaction is lost or replaced by bots and phone trees.

What can you do?

So how do you navigate this new reality? When I talked to my wife about it, we agreed that if the company wants you, they know how to find you.  Recruiters are overwhelmed now since there are so many applicants for remote positions.  They don’t have the bandwidth to contact every applicant just to say no.  So, if you’re ghosted don’t take it personally, just move on.

Another perspective I heard comes from Richard Chen, founder of Product Gym and former technical recruiter.  When asked about ghosting, he says to  always follow up with the company, especially within 72 hours of your last interview. He mentioned it could be the recruiter left, or the requisition was paused, or maybe they’re going back to the resume pile. He suggests following up 4-5 times before giving up.  This is a more thorough approach, but most of the time, in my opinion, you’re setting yourself up for extended disappointment.

Is there a better way?

For applicants currently unemployed, the process is even more gut wrenching.  Even though this is our new reality, I wish it didn’t have to be this way.  So I’m going to fight this trend using the small platform I have.  As Founding Director of Bootstrap Digital Group, I’m pledging that our group will always follow up with candidates we say no to, and encourage them in their search.

Sure we are much smaller than most companies and don’t have the applicant load they have to manage.  And I agree, there is little to be gained by following up with an applicant in the no pile.  But more than this, one of our group mantras is, “Treat people the way You want to be treated.”  People need to be treated with dignity and respect, otherwise what world are we leaving our future generations?   Alphabet, one of the companies I look up to most, always has the courtesy to tell applicants no, and try again next year.  Comment below and let us know what you think.

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Photo courtesy of Charles Koh, Unsplash, September 2017
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