How to Deal With Being Ghosted During Your Job Search!
Before launching my coaching business in 2015, I spent 35+ years in B2B corporate sales where I predominantly sold technology and consulting solutions that solved or mitigated critical business challenges for Fortune 1000 companies.
My main responsibility was securing new clients and then ensuring they remained long-term clients by providing outstanding support and additional products and services as needed. Depending upon the solution, the sales cycle ranged from 3-18 months.
Throughout my sales career, there were always two big hurdles I faced:
- Identifying the key decision maker and other stakeholders at a prospective company, and then making initial contact and beginning a meaningful dialog.
- Once engaged in speaking with the key constituents, understanding their needs and progressing through the various steps of the sales cycle, it was important to stay front and center, answer any questions or address concerns they might have, and reflect the value and strong ROI my solution would provide them - always using a consultative approach. The ultimate goal was to ensure my solution was the best one that met their needs, and close the sale. I always strived for creating a win win situation.
During these stages of the sales cycle (and every stage for that matter) it was not unusual to get ghosted -- even after speaking with the various stakeholders and they expressed an interest in our service and continuing the conversation. I quickly learned not to take it personally (timelines changed, other priorities arose, etc.) and to make sure I followed-up in a healthy cadence and not stalk them.
I loved being in sales and helping companies solve critical business challenges. It was like being in an MBA program every day as I was constantly learning about their business, their role and functional area, and their interconnectivity with others at a company. I learned how to quickly build trust and confidence with mid- to senior-level executives at companies, how to keep my messaging crisp and how to communicate the value and ROI my solutions would provide them.
Beginning early in my career, I realized being in sales (whether you're selling a product, service ... or yourself!) was not for the faint of heart, that one had to learn healthy mind games to not take the rejections, negative experiences, and endless twists and turns from being in sales personally. If there were Olympic medals for this, I would certainly have won many times over!🥇
At this point, you may be asking yourself "What does this have to to do with job search?"
This 'dance' taught me many life lessons, which I carried over to my job search campaigns over the years.
What follows are a few of the mindset shifts and strategies re: being ghosted I used in my sales career that I successfully applied to my search -- and, for years now, have shared with my coaching clients as they travel along their job search journey:
Embrace and accept 'the given'.
One of the best mindset shifts you can make at the beginning of your search is assuming you WILL be ghosted throughout your job search campaign. It's a given. It comes with the territory.
There will be times you won't hear from former colleagues you reached out to, companies you interviewed with or positions you applied to online. Sad but true -- AND don't take it personally. Don't let being ghosted set you in a tizzy!
Read on to understand why and how to handle this...
Don't hang everything on ONE person or company
A healthy job search consists of proactively and strategically networking with an ever evolving, targeted list of people and companies and interviewing with multiple companies at any given time.
If/when you get ghosted, remember that the person or company who's ghosting you is just one of many people/companies to whom you'll be reaching out or interviewing with.
Rather than get frustrated, make a note in your job search log (you are keeping track of your activity and next steps, aren't you?) when you made contact, add any applicable notes, and then determine when you want to follow-up. Reach out to them again on that date, and repeat the steps, as appropriate.
From a networking perspective, remember: people are busy! Most people you'll be reaching out to are working full-time. Give them the benefit of the doubt. They probably intend to follow-up with you once they finish whatever they're working on, and they end up forgetting or getting pulled into a meeting, etc.
That's why a gentle follow-up 5-7 days later is a good strategy -- you're not stalking them, and you're following up. Continue this 'dance' for a few weeks, perhaps then extending the follow-up to 10 days or 2 weeks between outreaches.
From an interviewing standpoint, there are so many reasons why you may be ghosted, and they aren't all bad. Timelines change, other priorities come up, another candidate may have entered the ring at the 11th hour (you may be that person on occasion!) and the company needs to interview them before making a final decision, etc.
Based on personal experience, I firmly believe there is more than one great job opportunity for you at any given time, so rather than get upset, update your job search log (see above), then move on to an activity you DO have control over.
Set a personal goal of receiving 3-5 solid offers
When I was in sales, I had an annual goal which was often broken down into monthly or quarterly goals. Knowing some of the opportunities I was pursuing would be delayed, go away or, worse, we didn't make the sale (at that time), I strived to fill my sales pipeline with well-qualified and real sales opportunities adding up to 10x my annual quota.
This way, even if some of the sales didn't happen as originally planned, I was staying on top of what's going on and would step up my productive activity and follow-ups, as needed, so I could be assured I would meet or exceed my sales quota.
It made sense to me that whenever I would launch a job search campaign over the years, I set a personal goal of receiving at least 3-5 solid offers.
The BEST part of this mindset shift is if a position I REALLY wanted didn't pan out, I was still actively uncovering new opportunities while simultaneously moving forward in the interview process with existing opportunities I knew I could be equally happy with.
Using this approach, I usually secured multiple solid offers each time ... and it's not unusual for my coaching clients to get similar results.
The biggest mistake I see many job seekers make is to stop/pause their search once they uncover an opportunity they're really excited about with hopes it will pan out. If it doesn't work out, you've lost valuable time and momentum ... not to mention the psychological toll it often takes on you.
[PSA Announcement] I have a HUGE request for you (regardless of whether you're in job search now)
There are so many bright, talented, highly-qualified professionals who are actively seeking their next opportunity. Perhaps it's you ... or a colleague, family member or friend.
If you've been (or are currently) in job search mode, you know how valuable having a brief conversation with a former colleague or having an introduction made on your behalf is to your search.
Please consider returning the favor or simply paying it forward when someone you know or someone who was referred to you reaches out to you asking for your advice or scheduling a brief call.
A lot can be accomplished in a 10-15 minute call! You'll not only be helping someone and making a huge difference in their life ... it also feels really good.😊