It’s never nice to be ignored and even less so when it is without reason. The recruitment industry has a bad reputation for doing just that to candidates. In this week’s blog, Rose discusses why ghosting happens and tells it straight from the recruitment side. #AskRose

Why is my recruitment consultant ghosting me?


noun: the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.

This is one blog I’ve been putting off, to be honest with you.

Several of the “Why are recruiters behaving in a slightly dodgy fashion?” questions I have answered, I could say to myself “I don’t do that. I’m a nice consultant” However, I do this one. Every recruitment consultant does it.

I try hard not to, but I still do it. I realised just this week when a candidate emailed me to say “hello? I’m still alive here?” and felt utter horror because I suddenly realised … “oh nooooooo, I haven’t contacted that person in ages”. You know that sort of cold feeling you get when you have 3 missed calls from your mother? That kind of feeling.

Fortunately, they were quite nice about it and haven’t arrived with pitchforks outside my door. (yet). I am aware though, that my reputation has taken a knock.

Ghosting is absolutely chronic in the industry so let me go through a few reasons (excuses?) why it can happen and we’ll see if something can be done to help candidates understand and let other recruiters know why the industry has to face up to it.

1) The recruitment consultant literally forgot about you.

This shouldn’t happen but it does. Especially with more high-volume consultants. My busiest week, I sent off 40+ CVs to clients. There are other recruiters who would think of that as a lazy and a slow week. We all have complex tracking systems and most of the good consultants use some kind of spreadsheet/notebook system as well. These do help us keep a handle on our candidates but sometimes people just slip through the net.

2) The recruitment consultant is playing the waiting game.

This is the one I am the worst one for doing. I send a CV off to a client, with hope and joy in my heart. And I wait… and wait … and wait. I know I should update the candidate. Even just to say “I have no feedback, I’ve been chasing. The hiring manager is on holiday/super busy/has been consumed by a black hole” But a part of me thinks “If I wait just one more day, feedback will appear!” (This is the reason I hadn’t contacted the candidate in the intro. The client seems to have put hiring on the backburner until Q4 but I am still living in hope that they’ll pop up with interviews.)

What do candidates think though? Would you prefer to hear nothing until the consultant has some news? Or get a kind of periodic update of “I still have no feedback but I’m still aware you exist”?

3) The recruitment consultant is consumed with guilt

Something has gone wrong. Feedback was terrible or the role closed unexpectedly. Maybe, the client changed the requirements after the consultant swore up and down that “Python isn’t a hard requirement, it’s just a nice to have!”

Basically, the consultant is too mortified to contact you to say “actually, everything is awful” and doesn’t want to dash your hopes (We are mostly good people and we do care about our candidates). This one is, in part, the fault of the industry culture that is drummed into all of us. We have all heard countless times “Be on the phone – have all conversations by the phone”. However, nobody ever wants to deliver bad news verbally so consultants resort to sort of hoping it all goes away.

Importantly, Stack Overflow surveys have shown though that most people in the tech industry prefer to receive bad news via email. So consultants, send an email, it’s easier, it’s what the candidates want, and you’re lifting that giant bag of guilt off your back.

4) The recruiter is kind of terrible.

You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. In every sector, there are people who are terrible at their jobs.  Any good consultant HATES bad recruiters, they give us all a bad name. At every tech event I go to, even the ones that I go to for my own entertainment – when people find out what I do for a living, I will hear complaints about what The Bad Recruiter did to them.

With these, the recruiter can be ghosting you because they’re not bothered, they’re lazy, unmotivated and/or because they’re just terrible. I will stress though that this is a minority. For most of us, it comes down to one of the three above.

5) Were you terrible?

Finally, I have cut off contact with candidates who were rude, abusive, or otherwise completely unreasonable. It’s only happened a handful of times – I can count them on the fingers of one hand. It does happen though! Sometimes a candidate is so obnoxious that you can’t continue to deal with them. A consultant will take a lot for a highly skilled candidate, but we don’t have to take people being completely horrible! Recruitment consultants are people too. There’s only a small tiny chance that you’re being ignored because you’re terrible but take a look at the last contact you had and if you were using words that you wouldn’t use in person to your mother – then maybe you’re the problem?


What do should you do?

For a start, please do email us. If it’s a genuine mistake, we’ll get back to you with an update. Even if the update is boring.

Asking about a timeline when you’re having the first conversations is a good idea too. Some companies just have a longer process so waiting a few weeks for feedback is normal for them. If you know you might have to wait a little while, you’ll know you’re not really being ignored. Try to set some expectations with the consultant and let them know how you like to be contacted and how often you like to be updated.

Keep applying to jobs. Don’t let this one job be the only egg in your basket. You might get something else in the meantime and if nothing else, Murphy’s Law dictates that about 5 interviews will appear at once!

Hopefully, this has given you some insight into why a consultant may not have updated you but do ask them yourself. If your consultant won’t respond to you checking in see Point 4 but for all else, they should be more than willing to update you and apologise for the silence.

If Rose has ghosted you in the past, please email her for an apology and an update.

For Dublin tech jobs contact [email protected] or #AskRose

She will be answering questions weekly, so if you have any career or recruitment questions for Rose to answer next week, comment on our page on LinkedIn, tweet @VerifyCommunity with #AskRose or send them over to [email protected]

Read her other articles giving insight into the recruitment process at