Why Do Recruiters Ghost Job Applicants? 4 Explanations

by | Finding A Job

“Why do recruiters ghost?” is a question you’ve likely thought about if you’re searching for a new job, and you’re not alone. Job seekers frequently reach out to me frustrated as to why they haven’t heard back from a recruiter after submitting an application or going on an interview.

If you’ve found yourself in a similar situation, keep reading. In this article, I share four explanations as to why recruiters ghost job applicants in the hopes it removes some of the sting of not hearing back.

Why Do Recruiters Ghost Job Seekers?

Below are a few reasons why a recruiter may ghost you.

1. The recruiter has limited capacity.

Sources vary when it comes to how many resumes the typical job opening receives, yet in speaking to thousands of recruiters and hiring managers across companies and industries, the consensus is that the job market is saturated, and the typical opening easily receives hundreds of applications.

With so many resumes to sift through, it’s nearly impossible for recruiters to keep in contact with every job seeker. While applicant tracking systems (ATS) and automation have been introduced to make the recruitment and talent acquisition processes more efficient, the processes are still time- and labor-intensive.

To put it simply, many recruiters just don’t have the capacity to update every candidate on their status. Additionally, some applicants simply fall through the cracks.

2. The recruiter doesn’t have an update for you.

Another simple yet frustrating reason a recruiter may go silent on you is that they don’t have an update. Oftentimes, the ball is in the hiring manager’s court to make a decision, which results in the recruiter not being able to provide you with any new information.

Additionally, recruiters are human, and some are better than others at keeping candidates updated on their progress. The frequency and quality of their updates can often depend on their capacity, too, as there are only so many hours in a workday.

3. The opening was frozen.

Along similar lines, recruiters may ghost you because they are no longer hiring for the role. This could be due to a pause in hiring or a company-wide hiring freeze. In either case, recruiters sometimes simply aren’t always at liberty to provide you with updates on their internal hiring systems.

Although easier said than done, try not to take it personally if you don’t receive a response from a recruiter. Most often, their silence has nothing to do with you or your application.

4. The recruiter didn’t actually ghost you.

Lastly, it’s possible the recruiter actually did get back to you (or at least tried to) but couldn’t reach you. This could be for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Your phone number or email address has a typo.
  • Your voicemail box was full and no longer accepting new messages.
  • Their email landed in your junk or spam folder.

While this final reason isn’t technically an explanation for ghosting, as the recruiter did, in fact, get back to you, it’s helpful to understand these possibilities as you want to ensure you’re doing everything you can to improve your chances of securing a new role.

Final Notes On Why Recruiters Ghost Applicants

On a final note, try shifting your mindset if you’re waiting to hear back from a recruiter. While many job seekers experience significant stress and anxiety when they feel like they’ve been ghosted, focus on what’s in your control. If you haven’t already, proactively reach out to them and ask for an update on the status of your application. You’re in control of your job search and your career. You’ve got this!

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

Dr. Kyle Elliott is the founder and career coach behind CaffeinatedKyle.com. His expertise is in Silicon Valley and high-tech. As a result of working with Dr. Elliott, senior managers and executives have landed jobs at Meta, Amazon, Google, and nearly every other tech giant you can imagine.

A trusted career expert, Dr. Elliott’s words have been featured on Business Insider, CNBC, CNN, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Fortune, and The New York Times, among dozens of other leading publications. He has been recognized as a Best Career & Interview Coach, Best Resume Writer for Silicon Valley/Tech Managers & Executives, and LinkedIn Top Voice (the platform’s highest honor).

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