Artwork by: Stas Podgornov
Unfortunately, an employer may ghost you after making a job offer. Why does this happen, and what should you do if you’re in this situation? We’ll answer those questions in this article!
If you’ve ever been ghosted after receiving a job offer, it can be very frustrating and confusing. The main thing to remember is don’t take it personally. It’s business, and it may have nothing to do with you.
How should you cope with being ghosted after receiving a job offer? This article will help you better understand how to handle this baffling situation.
Here are the questions we’re going to answer for you:
What is ghosting?
Why were you ghosted by an employer?
What should you do when you are ghosted?
We’re not referring to merely applying for a job or getting an interview that wasn’t followed by a job offer. For this article, we’re focusing on a situation where you’re offered a job, either verbally or in writing. After that, you received no further communication from the employer. That’s being ghosted.
Being ghosted by an employer can be traumatic. You may have even stopped your job search because you thought you had secured a new position. Don’t let it get you down. Let’s consider why this may happen.
While it’s not polite and very unprofessional, ghosting can happen for several reasons:
Legal or background check concerns. Job offers often have conditions attached to them that you must meet to get the job. These conditions include results from background checks, drug testing, references, and credit checks. If you fail to meet a company’s requirements, then the employer can retract the offer.
Conditions have changed. Maybe the job is no longer available. Business and economic environments are constantly changing. For example, a budget shortfall, staff reductions, or a merger may have eliminated the job you were offered.
Internal conflicts. Disagreements among key decision-makers within the company could lead to the decision being reversed. Conflicting opinions on your fit for the role or the company culture might contribute to ghosting.
Better candidate found. The employer may have extended a job offer but continued the hiring process to see if they could find someone with better qualifications or experience. If they do find someone they think is a better fit, they might decide to move forward with that person and not communicate their decision to you.
Communication breakdown. There may be some delay in processing the new position you were offered. Different departments or individuals involved in the hiring process might not have effectively coordinated with each other, leading to confusion and ultimately no follow-up on the job offer.
Most places in the US allow at-will employment, which legally permits employers to terminate an employee for any reason and without prior notification. This prohibits the employee from having any legal recourse. The only exceptions are if the reason for the termination is illegal or discriminatory.
If you find yourself in the position of being ghosted by an employer after receiving a job offer, remain professional. You should follow up with the employer after you have waited a reasonable amount of time, probably around a week. Email and/or call the employer, whichever is appropriate. Above all, be professional and polite in any communication you have. You don’t want to burn any bridges.
Dear Mr. Blankenship,
I’m writing to find out the status of the recent job offer I received for the [position title] on [date]. I'm looking forward to hearing back from you about the next steps to take because I'm eager to start working with your team.
At your earliest convenience, I would appreciate receiving a response regarding the status of the job offer. If you need additional information from me, please let me know.
After sending the message, don’t sit around waiting for a call or email. Get back out there and start looking for another job. If you do hear from an employer after being ghosted, the hiring manager should understand that you restarted your job search since you didn’t receive any additional information about your job offer.
In the most severe cases where you signed a job contract, then you could seek the assistance of a lawyer and evaluate the possibility of suing the employer. You could potentially seek lost wages or costs associated with taking the job. You may have started moving or had travel or other costs associated with applying for the job. This is obviously the worst case and should be avoided.
As we talked about before, there are a lot of reasons that a company may neglect your job offer. None of them are good, but often they are not intentionally out to hurt you or cost you money.
Business conditions change, and a company may ghost you after making a job offer due to budget constraints or other factors.
Follow up in a polite and professional manner if you are ghosted to find out if the company is still considering the job offer you received.
Don’t take ghosting personally; continue your job search if you don’t hear back from a company that offered you a position.
Garland is a writer and technology consultant that lives in far west Texas, USA. He is semi-retired from a successful 25-year career in the Information Technology industry, and now spends his time writing for various websites (mostly career development related). Garland holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance, and a master’s degree in Economics and Computer Information Systems.