4 Reasons Employers Don't Always Reach Out After a Job Interview

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Lee Beaser50
April 23, 2024 at 5:12PM UTC

You put 150% effort into the job search process. After painstakingly updating your resume, you sacrifice more free time to craft a compelling cover letter. And let’s not forget the hours upon hours you spent prepping for your interview

The interview goes amazingly well. Or so you thought. 

You wait. And you wait some more. After two weeks goes by without any word about the job, you decide to email the recruiter and politely ask if there is an update on the status of your candidacy. 

But they don’t respond. Like, at all.

If this situation has happened to you, you’re definitely not alone. In a recent survey, 77% of job seekers reported being ghosted by an employer.  

Probably the worst part of the whole thing is not knowing. You’re left wondering what went wrong. 

Read on to learn about the most common reasons candidates never hear back from employers after a job interview:

1. They are still deciding.

Stuff happens in the hiring process. Things get delayed. Sometimes another candidate comes into the picture unexpectedly (maybe an internal candidate), and while at one point you were the #1 choice, there is now another top contender. 

While the company is solidifying the offer with their top candidate, they want to keep you as their “number two” just in case the offer falls through or their number one declines. Or maybe they are having a hard time deciding and so the decision is being delayed.

2. The job is no longer available.

Maybe there’s a budget issue at play and there’s a hold on your position. Rather than keep you updated, the recruiter simply keeps you in the dark and plans to reach out if (and I stress if) the funding situation changes, and they are given the green light to hire.

3. They are afraid of a lawsuit.

If you have asked for feedback about why you didn’t get the job, the employer might be hesitant to reply. What if the reason is that they didn’t like you? Or that they felt like you would not be able to perform well on the job?

These are extremely tricky scenarios to explain to a candidate, and the more an employer opens up candidly, the more they also open themselves up to a potential lawsuit. Rather than risk offending the candidate or dealing with legal action, they opt to not respond at all.

4. People are lazy.

Yep, it’s really that simple. I would venture to guess that this reason accounts for the vast majority of ghosting scenarios.

There are 100 different reasons you didn’t get the job. Let’s say for hypothetical purposes that the job was offered to someone else. The recruiter or hiring manager isn’t responding to you because, well, they don’t have to.

Is that a valid excuse? Heck no! It’s shameful and inexcusable in my opinion. It literally takes less than a minute to craft a simple response like “we decided to go with another candidate.” Boom. Done.

How Can You Move Forward?

Regardless of the reason, you don’t hear back, what can you do as a candidate to gain back a little control in the process?

First and foremost, as a career coach, I always encourage my clients to never put all their eggs into one basket so to speak. Even if you are super excited about a particular position, make sure to keep applying to other opportunities. Until you have an offer on the table, nothing is guaranteed.

At the conclusion of the interview, you can ask specific questions about the next steps in the hiring process. For example: When can I expect to hear from you? What is the next step in the process? Who is the best person to follow up with? 

Although you don’t have control over if and when an employer gets back to you, you do have control over whether or not you choose to wait. If you feel like you are being treated disrespectfully, then you likely are. Listen to your gut. Do you really want to work for an organization that treats its candidates like crap? Probably not. Move on. Channel your anger and frustration into continuing to build your network and seeking out other opportunities. 

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Lee Cristina Beaser is a career coach and certified professional resume writer (CPRW). She is the founder of The Career Counter, where she empowers women to find happiness and fulfillment in their careers. Click here to learn more about The Career Counter’s job and interview coaching services.

Have you had this happen to you after an interview? If so, how did you handle it? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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