If you’ve had a promising job interview or two for a desirable new position and are awaiting next steps from a recruiter or even an offer — you are likely experiencing a mix of emotions.
Those may include a sense of anticipation, excitement and even nervousness.
As you manage the anticipation of hearing back from a hiring manager or potential new boss, you’re probably checking your email and your voicemail quite frequently.
In most cases, you'll get a prompt or timely response from recruiters. But what should you do if you don’t hear back?
Job experts reveal the most effective steps to take if you believe you’re being "ghosted" by an interviewer.
The term "ghosting" refers to the act of abruptly ceasing all communication and contact with a person without explanation, said Jaune Little, director of recruiting services with Insperity in Houston, Texas.
"While ‘ghosting’ originally applied to personal or romantic relationships, the phenomenon has extended to other forms of interpersonal communication, including job recruitment," Little told Fox Business.
"Ghosting can greatly impact potential candidates, leaving them confused and uncertain about what happened — or why the recruiter has chosen to sever contact," she said.
In some instances, ghosting may not necessarily mean anything negative, Little said.
"There can be valid reasons behind a recruiter’s lack of communication, including the person's workload volume and the company’s internal processes. Or, [the recruiter] may be taking paid time off," she noted.
Recruiters often manage multiple positions and candidates simultaneously, which may lead to a disruption or delay in communication.
"Overwhelmed recruiters may unintentionally miss emails or calls," Little added.
Job candidates must also understand that organizations may have lengthy recruiting and hiring processes internally that can cause delays in sharing news on the status of an interview or position, Little indicated.
"Additionally, recruiters may be focused on conducting interviews and evaluating applicants themselves, leading to a temporary pause in communication," she said.
While ghosting may be unintentional, a lack of communication can still be frustrating for the job applicant.
"Clear and transparent communication is vital for maintaining a positive candidate experience," said Little.
Candidates should take a proactive approach during the initial stages of the recruitment process.
They can ask recruiters to define the hiring process clearly, plus share associated timelines, including a sense of when the candidate might expect to hear back, Little said.
"Additional questions focusing on what stage of the hiring process the position is in, currently, and what round of interviews the hiring manager is on can also be beneficial," she added.
"By getting this information in preliminary conversations, the candidate can set realistic expectations around communications with the recruiter," Little advised.
After a job interview, Atlanta-based LinkedIn career expert Andrew McCaskill said it’s OK to follow up. But he cautioned, "Don’t blow up."
McCaskill told Fox Business, "It’s absolutely OK to follow up with a hiring manager or recruiter throughout the process to see where you stand. Even more than once is totally acceptable."
"It’s expected and required that you will follow up, but it’s important to keep in mind that hiring managers might also be busy," he added. "So, follow up once. Then, follow up a second time if needed."
If you don’t hear back, you might try again in a few weeks, said McCaskill.
Or, you may want to reach out to a connection you have who may know someone from the company you've interviewed with — someone who might "reconnect" you, he said.
Exercise patience. Recruiters should be given a reasonable amount of time to respond, said Little of Insperity.
"The recruitment process may take time due to various factors. So being patient is key," she said.
Follow up politely. It is acceptable to follow up with a polite and professional message if a reasonable amount of time has passed without communication.
"Inquiring about the status of your application can demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role and may trigger a response," Little noted.
Be professional. A candidate’s behavior and attitude during the hiring process may influence future opportunities and even the person's reputation within the industry, so it is important to maintain a professional demeanor, Little also said.
Take a break. If you feel like you’ve been ghosted, it might be a good idea to take a break and come back to your job search with a fresh approach, McCaskill of LinkedIn said.
"Try to take a holistic and targeted view of your job search to increase your odds of success," he suggested.
"Instead of sending out a mountain of applications, have a list of specific companies and/or roles you want to apply to," he added.
Leave things in a positive place. Even if you’re frustrated with the process, it’s always a good idea to leave things on a positive note with a recruiter or interviewer.
"You never know when another position will open up, and you may end up being first in line," he also said.
Accept — and move on. Unfortunately, there may come a time when candidates must accept they will not get a response, Little said.
"If emails and calls to the recruiter were left unanswered, candidates should redirect their energy to other opportunities," she said.
McCaskill also suggested steps to redirect employment search efforts.
First, update your LinkedIn Profile with a skills-first approach. More than 45% of hiring managers on LinkedIn now explicitly use skills data to fill their roles — so think about the five most relevant skills for the job you want and add them to your profile to better stand out, McCaskill advised.
Second, signal that you’re open to new job opportunities. Using the "open to work" feature on LinkedIn to set up "job alerts" will notify you as soon as a job that fits your skills is posted. Applying within the first 10 minutes of an alert makes you four times more likely to get the job, said McCaskill.
Finally, be flexible and open to different opportunities, he noted.
"Rather than trying to find the ‘perfect’ dream job, think about what skills you’ll gain from each path you take — and how you can put those skills and experience to your next opportunity," McCaskill advised.