Job Search Ghosting

Job search ghosting

Most of us know what “ghosting” means when it comes to relationships: someone stops all contact with you, and you don’t know why. If you’ve been ghosted, you know what a painful experience that can be.

What can it mean in the job search?

  1. a potential employer stopping contact with you
  2. a potential employee not showing up to an interview
  3. a new hire not showing up for their first day of work

Let’s break each one down…

1 – A potential employer stopping all contact with you

This depends on the company, industry, and job role. 

If you’re applying for an entry-level position that many others are competing for, then sometimes it can be unreasonable to expect the company to reach out to everyone after the first interview’s results. They just may not have the time. If this is the case, then I would hope that the company at least tells you in advance that you’re not selected if you don’t hear from them within a particular number of days or weeks. 

On the other hand, you could be applying for a higher-level position, and you would expect the company to at least keep you posted, especially if there are many levels to the interviewing process. Information from the company will be very important, especially if you’re making a career change and it involves a lot of moving pieces.

Lately, job seekers are getting their voices heard, and some companies are sending automated email responses to keep you posted on where you are in the process. Although they are not personal, I will take those any day because I always appreciate knowing where I stand.

Don’t forget that if you really want a clear response, you can take the initiative and reach out via email or telephone to get a reply. It’s also okay to give the employer the benefit of the doubt because maybe it did slip their mind to contact you.

2 – A potential employee not showing up to an interview

In my opinion, this is pretty bad and shows disrespect. If it’s your first job, you’re actually burning your career bridge before you start building it. 

Some job seekers are fortunate to get many interviews, but not showing up to one that you previously scheduled doesn’t look good. Of course, it is entirely possible that you forgot about the interview. My tip: keep all of the interview information organized so you don’t forget, and if you do forget, reach out to the company as soon as possible. You might actually be able to reschedule! But definitely do not just let it go without acknowledging it.

If you had an emergency, or a flat tire, then be sure to call the company and let them know as soon as humanly possible.

If you decide part-way through the job search that you don’t want that interview, or if you went with a different company, then it is your responsibility to let the company know that you won’t show up in advance of the scheduled interview. 

Think about it in dating terms: if your date doesn’t show up for dinner, and you found out later that it was because they started dating someone else, you would feel pretty hurt, right? You’d at least would have liked to know that they couldn’t make it so that you could have stayed home in comfy clothes instead.

3 – Someone not showing up for their first day of work

In my humble opinion, this is even worse than #2. You’re really lighting a fire to your barely-there bridge, and it might come back to haunt you in the future. 

If you decide you don’t want to work for a particular company because another offer came in, then please be respectful and let it be known. That company is hiring employees because they need someone, and if you just don’t show up, they will need to start the process all over again. The sooner you can tell them, the sooner then can start their search. Ghosting is not the solution to this. Who knows – you may even run into the same HR representative in the future… 


At the end of the day, we’re all humans, and we all just want to be treated nicely. So act towards others like you’d like to be treated 😉 

Even if you’re super embarrassed and dislike confrontation, being honest and communicative is better for your career than any form of ghosting.


Do you have any ghosting stories that you would like to share? Read more about ghosting with regards to email in the next blog post! My personal journey with being the ultimate ghost can be read here in the 3-part series!

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash 

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