“A precursor to ghosting is when either party doesn’t feel bought into the process or has that emotional investment. There has to be greater emphasis on approaching people you genuinely think are right for the job. And, if someone takes time out of their day for an interview, virtually or in person, they deserve feedback.”
Craig Freedberg, a regional director at recruitment firm Robert Half
Yesterday I spent an excruciating period of time documenting the past five rejections (or lack there of) after interviewing with a wide range of companies. I wanted to share it with a friend of mine who offered me a promising consulting project to give her some context on both how grateful I am that I currently have a seasonal position with an amazing group of people, but how scared I am to enter the job-seeking world again full-time when this role ends.
I have thought a lot about this. I keep telling myself that I am never going to accept another interview without certain conditions (i.e., a guarantee that I’ll be treated with respect and kindness) or that I won’t become emotionally invested in every potential opportunity.
I’ve even considered including a proper rejection letter as part of my cover letter. One that includes a personal touch which is lacking in nearly every email I’ve received over the past year. “Leah, thanks for taking the time to meet with me. I really enjoyed hearing about your work with the Charlottesville Track Club. If I were a long distance runner I would definitely want to sign up for the Rivanna Greenbelt Marathon. It’s clear you’ve invested a great deal of time and effort into making it a fun community race.”
It doesn’t need to be a competition between which is worse: the generic rejection after you’ve shared a personal story that connects you to the mission of the organization or being ghosted after you’ve made yourself vulnerable by sharing your top two weaknesses. They both suck. They both hurt. Neither should ever happen in my opinion. It’s just bad business and it’s not kind.
Every applicant could some day be a potential client, customer, donor, or volunteer. Why in the world would you want someone to leave with a bad impression when showing some empathy and respect takes just a few minutes. One sentence is all it takes. One sentence that shows you listened and appreciated one unique thing about the person.
I know that it can be awkward to have certain conversations. I know that we’re all very busy and some things slip through the cracks or that it’s just easier to be impersonal and copy and paste.
I’m not perfect either. I have two emails I’ve been meaning to send, but put off far too long. One to someone who asked for feedback on the interviewing process after rejecting me and another about a volunteering opportunity that I haven’t had the energy to invest in properly. Those messages will be sent today. I’ll probably over apologize and over share, but I’ll be honest and even if I never get a response, I’ll know I did what felt was the right thing to do.
My other musings about the job hunt: