The Startup
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Job Search Advice

Beat Ghosting the Right Way

Ghosting from recruiters is never pleasant, but it can be eliminated to our advantage.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Nothing reminds me more about the similarities between job-searching and dating than ghosting.

It tests our patience and brings up feelings of anxiety and rejection.

Just as it is considered cowardly in the dating world, it is deemed unprofessional in the working world no matter who does it. Yet, when it is the recruiter who does it, it is the candidate who feels all the doors slamming shut.

It does not have to be this way.

In truth, most recruiters do their best to connect with candidates, but what can they do when they may constantly receive hundreds of resumes for only one position?

And we the job candidates may feel we have no say because we cannot control the actions of others.

To that, I have to respond, “This is not completely accurate.”

Job candidates do have control over their own actions. Actions that encourage positive reactions from recruiters.

Match Up with Recruiters Who Align Our Goals

Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

Recruiters these days have become specialized. Some focus on technical fields. Some focus on management fields. Some focus on more creative fields.

A software developer would be better off with a technical recruiter than a creative recruiter.

Another factor to keep in mind is the type of company culture we wish to enter.

Generally, one common advice is to thoroughly construct a list of targeted companies at which we would like to work. Afterwards, bond with recruiters at those companies. Relationships started from this point in the process will build throughout our time there if hired.

On the other hand, if we are passionate about our specialty or if the type of company is not important, then recruiters at talent agencies or boutique consulting firms would be the way to go. Take note of those that are well-aware of the many employment and industry trends happening in the area and would help you decipher which ones would fit our values and expertise in the ever-changing landscape.

In either case, it is often worthwhile to ask recruiters whether their organization provide any resources to assist candidates. Some recruiters invest time to coach throughout the process including resume writing and job interviewing. In fact, I recently discovered that Google offers coaching calls with current employees. So it never hurts to ask.

And lastly, make sure to also evaluate the recruiters themselves. While recruiters assess whether we are the right candidates for their open positions, we have to gauge how attentive and sincere they are at helping us as well. If we sense that they are not valuing us, then how much effort do we think they would put out for us? This is a two-way street.

Collaborate to Set Expectations From the Start

Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

After reading a job description, we often have more questions about the role. What we may not realize at that moment is majority of the questions may be better answered by hiring managers and not by recruiters. This may leave an impression that says we do not care about the people who screen us.

So make a list of questions that set expectations between us and the recruiters.

Expectations can address a number of things:

  • What our relationship with the recruiter would be like
  • What qualities do good candidates exhibit
  • How the hiring process works
  • When should we expect a response
  • How quickly do we need to respond
  • How frequently do we need to check-in with the recruiter
  • Have we provided everything the recruiter needs from us to succeed
  • Has the recruiter provided everything we need to succeed
  • What time is best to reach them
  • What is the best method to use to reach them
  • What should the subject line be if corresponding through email
  • What are their expectations from us in their opinion

Once expectations for continual communication are set, we need to determine what type of business communication style works best for us and the recruiter (i.e. analytical, functional, intuitive, and personal).

On top of it all, we should do our best to limit our emails to three lines and phone calls to five minutes.

Now that all that is cleared up, we must do our due diligence and be responsible for our part. If the person on the other end does not do his/her part, then s/he is not the right recruiter and we need to find another recruiter and/or organization.

Build a Strong, Honest, and Healthy Relationship with the Recruiter

Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

In the process of gaining our dream job, we often care about hiring managers and neglect recruiters.

What we forget is that the recruiters are the gatekeepers. Unless we meet and connect with the hiring managers before applying, we have to pass the test with recruiters in order to get to the people who would be our future bosses.

So, first and foremost, we must establish cordial relationships with recruiters.

This involves being authentic and upfront about our current situation as well as future goals.

Now, some of us might be thinking, “But my current situation sucks! I do not wish it on anyone.”

To that, I would say take a few days to cool off to take care of yourself. If we even need a moment to seek professional help, do so. Take a break from the job search process.

When the sadness, anger, or resentment is settled, think about the things we learned from our unfortunate experiences. In retrospect, how would we act differently were the experience to happen again? Can we identify the silver lining from the episode?

Be honest AND positive.

Moreover, ensure that recruiters completely understand our skills, knowledge, and capabilities. This will allow them to size up whether the positions we are applying to are really the right fit for us or perhaps a different open position might be better.

Of course, when we are able to create robust bonds with recruiters, they will remember us enough to send us more open positions that become assigned to them and that they believe we qualify for. In any case, definitely respond in a timely manner with additional information they may require.

Exercise Empathy

Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash

Recruiters are put in a stressful position.

Think about it.

Before they became recruiters, they were one of us, job candidates looking for work. Therefore, I truly believe that most of them mean well and definitely want to give us satisfying work.

However, on the other side, they have hiring managers to deal with. It does not go well for them if they recommend candidates that the hiring managers feel are inadequate.

This is all the more reason to strengthen our relationships with recruiters so that they fully grasp our abilities in order to refer us to the right hiring managers and roles.

Ultimately, recruiters do not have hiring-decision power to hire us. They do not have all the answers if hiring managers do not tell them.

Regardless, recruiters really do want to support us in our efforts and ghosting is the last thing on their minds.




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Cindy S. Cheung

Cindy S. Cheung

Data Analyst. Screenwriter. Project Manager. Now, Resume Coach. A student of life and West Coast Swing. A promoter of self from within.

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