scorecardA former Google recruiter shares 4 emails to send hiring managers to avoid getting mistakenly ghosted — and when to move on
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A former Google recruiter shares 4 emails to send hiring managers to avoid getting mistakenly ghosted — and when to move on

Alyshia Hull   

A former Google recruiter shares 4 emails to send hiring managers to avoid getting mistakenly ghosted — and when to move on
Careers4 min read
  • Ex-Google recruiter Nolan Church explains why candidates might get ghosted after interviews.
  • Recruiters often forget, shift priorities, or are unaware of internal changes affecting hiring.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Nolan Church, a 35-year-old former recruiter for Google and Doordash from Salt Lake City. It has been edited for length and clarity.

Job interviews can be exciting, especially after applying for a wide variety of positions, but the process can quickly become stressful when a candidate doesn't hear back from the recruiter right away.

As a former recruiter at Google and the ex-head of talent at DoorDash, I've seen my fair share of candidates get ghosted by jobs they've interviewed for, and I've definitely ghosted candidates, too, but never intentionally.

Still, ghosting does happen. Before assuming it has intentionally happened to you, here are four scenarios to consider. Also, here's how to follow up with a recruiter properly and when to move on.

1. Recruiters forget

When candidates interview for a role and think, "I really want this job, but I'm not hearing back," I advise them to email the recruiter. Then, if they don't hear back within 24 to 48 hours, send another email.

Candidates often make assumptions about why they aren't hearing back on jobs they've applied for, but, in many cases, the recruiter just got really busy.

Right now, recruiters are expected to do more with fewer resources. This means they're hiring more, working more, and handling more candidates. With everything going on, recruiters often get buried in tasks and forget. Try to give recruiters the benefit of the doubt and assume good intentions first. But when needed, follow up.

One way to follow up with a recruiter is to send them a thank-you email within 24 hours after the interview.

You could try something like:

Email #1: Hey [recruiter/hiring manager name] —

Thank you for coordinating the on-site interviews today. The caliber of the team is impressive. I'm excited about the role and opportunity for impact.

When can I expect to hear back on next steps? Let me know if you need anything in the interim.

Your email should thank them for setting up the interview, and it should give your impressions about the team and role. Then, let them know you're excited about the company and team and ask for the next steps and a timeline.

If the recruiter responds, maintain contact and respond quickly to their messages.

2. Recruiters shift priorities

Recruiters are constantly buried with tasks, which requires them to focus on the business's top priorities. Even though a candidate might feel excited and think they're about to receive an offer, something else might emerge, diverting the recruiter's attention.

For example, perhaps a new role has just opened, or maybe an internal matter requires immediate attention. Recruiters should strive to treat every candidate as a top priority, but sometimes, internal priorities do take precedence.

If you feel ghosted after sending your thank you note, you could try sending this other email 48 hours after the first email:

Email #2 Hey [recruiter/hiring manager name] — Is there any feedback you can pass along from the team?

This gives a gentle nudge.

3. Something has changed within the business

Sometimes, business circumstances change, including layoffs and hiring freezes, and unfortunately, recruiters aren't always informed first. The tech industry is experiencing a significant wave of layoffs, for example.

When this happens, open roles are often the first to be closed. As a result, there's usually a delay in informing recruiters about these changes, as decisions are made at the management level and require thorough consideration before being communicated.

This leaves recruiters uncertain about how to update candidates on the situation. If you still have yet to hear back, wait 72 hours from the time you sent your second email, and then send:

Email #3: Hey [recruiter/hiring manager name] — Is everything OK?

This is a great strategy because it enables the candidate to push for an answer while being perceived as empathetic and caring. I love this one, personally.

4. Recruiters are talking to other candidates

If a candidate gets ghosted early in the hiring process, the recruiter is most likely talking to other candidates. But if it's later in the process, especially if the recruiter has indicated an offer and the candidate hasn't heard back, it's much less likely to be the case. Still, there's no way of knowing, so following up is still your best bet.

If you still haven't heard anything, it's time to move on to email four, the last email in the sequence. Again, wait 72 hours, and send something like:

Email #4: Hey [recruiter/hiring manager name] — Checking in one last time. Can you pass along any feedback from the team?

If they don't respond to this fourth email, it's safe to assume you've been ghosted.

A solid follow-up strategy is the antidote to ghosting, but nothing is 100% guaranteed

Unfortunately, in today's culture, ghosting does happen, but it doesn't mean it's intentionally happening to you. After all, recruiters are human, and they get busy. But if you've followed up and you haven't heard back, it's time to move on.

Take comfort in knowing that if a company has truly ghosted you, it's a sign that you've dodged a bullet, and that's not a place you'd want to work anyway.

Whether a company moves forward with you or not, you deserve to hear back, and with the right company, you will.

If you're a recruiter or hiring manager and want to share your unique advice, email Manseen Logan at mlogan@businessinsider.com.




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