Ghosted...By a Recruiter?!

Insight from the Brooksource Archives

Reposted September 28, 2023

You know the feeling…being “Left on Read” after weeks of getting to know someone, unmatching on a dating app in the middle of a conversation, or in this case, never hearing back from a company after a first-round interview. The phenomenon known as “Ghosting” is best described as receiving no closure and often brings on feelings of uncertainty or insecurity. Initially, you wonder “what’s going on?” Then, when the realization comes that the other person has abruptly ended the relationship, you’re left haunted by the unanswered questions of what went wrong- Was it your skillset? Something you said in the interview? How can you improve? The job search is already challenging enough as it is, even without this growing trend of being left in the dark about the interview process. Being such a common yet avoided topic, I felt the need to shed some light on “Why Ghosting happens”, “Why you shouldn’t be spooked”, and of course, “What to do next if a recruiter ghosts you.”

Full transparency, prior to starting my career with Brooksource, I used to imagine recruiters as superficial, money-hungry sales reps, who spend their days in cubicles, throwing cold calls out to the wind, hoping that something sticks. If you have ever been ghosted by a recruiter, then you probably feel the same way. Despite my half-true perception, I can now speak from the other side and assure you that recruiters, at least the ones here at Brooksource, do genuinely care. Not only do we want to deliver a great experience for all our clients, but also for all our candidates. The difficult, ambiguous truth of the matter is that with the many parties involved in hiring someone, there are many reasons why you might face rejection in the process. With the nature of a recruiter’s job, you will inevitably be ghosted at some point, but hopefully this article will give you the steps to take to make the most of it!

Painting the Picture: Why Ghosting Happens

It’s helpful to think of recruiters as professional matchmakers, and our clients as on the hunt for the “perfect match” while having no idea where to look, how to date, and sometimes, what qualities they even want or need. Just like any matchmaker, we only want to create the perfect match that’s meant to last. Even if that means passing over a few good options in the process.

If you are still left wondering, here are a few reasons why you might have been ghosted:

  1. It’s Just Incompatible – One of the most common and difficult explanations for being ghosted, may just be the most beneficial for your future: Culture. Your resume and the job description seem to be made for each other, but that is only part of the equation. Odds are, you weren't the right 'culture fit' (Yes- even in IT). You might brush this off as something you can bypass, but in today's world, culture really can make or break the success of an organization. Happy teams are more productive, fulfilled employees stay longer, and hiring the 'culture fit' is important to maintaining this. Keep in mind this looks different for every company, which helps explain the lack of feedback as you cannot simply take a class to no longer be an extrovert/introvert- nor should you want to!
  2. Timing Really is Everything - Depending on when a recruiter reaches out, how long the role has been open, if any internal changes have affected the stage or even direction of the hiring process, all can result in you being ghosted. Just like dating, timing really is everything. I was even working on a position recently where the hiring manager went on paid leave halfway through the interview process, so the client decided to shelf hiring any candidates for over a month with a day's notice.
  3. Money Matters – Another “no factor” that can come in many forms. You may have been lacking skills in one area that the client was willing to provide training for, but now they can no longer commit to such an arrangement. The other side of the coin is that you are too qualified for the position, and your asking price may be out of reach for the budget.
  4. The Human Element - Recruiters are humans at the end of the day, and in my experience, humans drop the ball. Especially when you consider that recruiters are working with multiple candidates, trying to fill several different positions, all at the same time! I am not trying to make excuses but sometimes candidates do just fall through the cracks in the transition from one opportunity to another. But just like you, we want to do our jobs well! To do my job well for you, I want to be reminded when I haven’t followed up or given clarity. Recruiters are human, which is why you shouldn't be afraid to follow up if you haven’t heard anything back after a week’s time.

“Budgets and hiring, especially in Q4, are bound to be subject to change”

Now, I am not speaking for every person who has ever ghosted you, but I am pointing out that there are countless factors that affect a recruiter's response time, and consequently why ghosting happens. With a lot of these simply being out of your control, my advice to you would be to focus less on the recruiter's response, and more on the next career opportunity ahead!

“Remember how I said being ghosted was an inevitability?”

Don’t Get Spooked

Let’s jump back to the analogy of recruiters being matchmakers. The best matchmakers will typically keep a little black book of notable bachelors or bachelorettes that they can call upon whenever there’s a new potential match – the same is true for recruiters! Here at Brooksource, our philosophy is to personalize and humanize every relationship, as authentic relationships are how we continue to build the greatest network of talent in the industry.

Now that you know this little trade secret, here are some ways to give yourself the advantage with a good "matchmaker":

  1. Clarify, Clarify, Clarify – This trick is one that we as recruiters even use at the start of a new relationship. Questions like “how many interviews has (the client) had so far?”, “Is there any chance this gets put on hold?”, “What’s the culture of the company?” all will give you a better idea of the process and what to expect.
  2. Follow Up – Believe it or not, the easiest way to stay on top of mind with a recruiter is by staying in their inbox. Now I wouldn't go overkill by calling every day as that can have the opposite effect, but at least try and reach out once a week. The worst they can say is that you weren’t selected for the next round, and that feedback is more productive for you in the job search than accepting the silence and moving on.
  3. Circle Back – Once you have come to the tough conclusion that a recruiter has moved on with other candidates, your new goal should be trying to get added to that little black book. “It doesn’t sound like X was the right fit. Do you know of any other open positions that would align better with my skillset?” Even if they don’t have a position available at the time, there’s no telling what the future may hold!

Lifting the Veil off Ghosting

At Brooksource we truly find value in ushering in your best next career move, but at times that can require a whole lot of patience. The concept of waiting for the perfect match can be difficult, not to mention waiting for the right job while unemployed. However, when you do finally find that perfect match, I promise it will be worth the wait!

“Here at Brooksource, our philosophy is to personalize and humanize every relationship, as authentic relationships are how we continue to build the greatest network of talent in the industry.”

Whether you’ve gotten this far in the article for the job search or the relationship advice, here’s my final charge to you. Ghosting may get you down, but now that you know the full story, it is easier to understand that it’s nothing to fear. Take advantage of the services that recruiters offer and give yourself the best chance to land your dream job. As a Brooksource recruiter, I focus not only on your skillset but equally on your interests. It’s why we pair java developers who are sneakerheads with sports shoe retailers who need help with their e-store- It’s this culture-focused approach that ensures lasting relationships.

“So don’t get spooked! You’re somebody’s perfect match - Just ask your Brooksource recruiter.”

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This story is a repost of a Brooksource Insights piece posted to LinkedIn on October 25, 2022. You can view that full article by clicking here.


Brooksource is a top consulting and professional services provider specializing in IT and Engineering solutions for Fortune 500 companies and the public sector. They utilize a national network of over 25,000 consultants, local and national delivery engines, as well as strategic partnerships with industry-leading technology providers to support their customers’ high impact initiatives.


Paul Schiffman

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