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When you’ve gone through an extensive job interview and don’t hear back from the recruiter or hiring manager after several follow-up emails, you’ve been "ghosted."
It’s easy to lose hope and confidence when this happens. For many job seekers, the experience is so frustrating that they tend to make things worse by sending one — or several — angry emails.
But a nasty, confrontational note is the wrong approach. The best way to show professionalism is to start the email off with a positive tone.
In your follow-up email, do three things:
- Congratulate them on finding the right candidate. This one is a bit of a mind game, because you don’t know if they’ve already filled the position. But expressing that you’re happy for them, even though they didn’t pick you, shows you have good spirit. Also, you’ll likely get a response either correcting you (e.g., that they didn’t hire anyone yet) or explaining the real reason why they didn’t get back to you much sooner.
- Ask them what you can do to stay on their radar for future opportunities. While you may be disappointed that you didn’t get the job, don’t make the mistake of closing the door completely. New positions will eventually come up, and one of them might be perfect for you. Make it clear that you’re still interested in working at the company.
- Mention one thing you enjoyed talking with them about. Was there a part of the interview conversation where you feel like you really connected with the interviewer? Bring it up! This is your opportunity to make yourself more memorable and stand out from other candidates who fell short.
Sample of a follow-up email when you are "ghosted":
I hope your search for the Software Engineer position is going well. And congratulations if you already found the right candidate; anyone you select would be lucky to work at such a great company.
I wanted to briefly reconnect to tell you that, while I might not have been a perfect fit for the role at this time, I loved meeting with everyone on the team. It only reaffirmed my desire to be part of your company’s mission. I really hope we can keep in touch, so please let me know if there’s anything I can do moving forward to be considered for future opportunities.
I truly appreciate your time and the opportunity to interview. I especially enjoyed our conversation about humble beginnings. Your story about how you worked your way up from an internship to a managerial position in just three years really inspired me, and it’s something I’ll always remember to keep me motivated throughout my career.
Thank you so much,