The Ghost of Job Search Past, Present, and Future

We recently did a poll on which method candidates prefer to receive feedback from applications/interviews. The overwhelming majority preferred email as a first-choice method, but above all, the sentiment seemed to be ANY feedback would be better than the radio silence a lot of job seekers experience. This brings us to today’s topic-getting ghosted.

I would bet that most people have experienced the abyss of online applications at one point or another. This frustration surrounding the lack of status and feedback has been one of the biggest complaints I hear when speaking to candidates. It’s exhausting for job seekers when they are putting in so much time and effort into the process only to not have that reciprocated.


-Stay positive and don’t get discouraged!

Many candidates get easily jaded because they aren’t mentally prepared for rejection or the possibility of getting ghosted. Unfortunately, it’s likely to happen to you at some point and you can’t let it derail you if/when it does. Mental toughness is a big piece of the job hunt. Understanding this is one of those “easier said than done” directives, it will only benefit you to develop this skill early on. Not to say positivity on its own will get you the job, you’ve got to put in the preparation and effort, but if you’re down on yourself and your job search, it will leak into your interviews and kill your chances. That’s why you’ve got to develop a thick skin and try to take SOMETHING positive away from every interview– even if you get ghosted and can’t get feedback. For example, maybe you got asked a question you’ve never been asked before. How did you handle it? Could you now answer it better in future interviews? Did you get to meet people in roles you hadn’t had a chance to meet before? Did you learn something new about how Med Affairs departments work together? Whatever it is, there is a nugget in there you can take with you.

-EQ and communication are other key components!

There’s an appropriate time and way to follow up. It’s important to remember that these interviewers and HR folks have a lot they’re juggling. Don’t tell yourself a story that they aren’t responding because they don’t like you, or it’s some personal attack. It’s more likely that they are just busy and have to prioritize things, and unfortunately delivering feedback isn’t always top of the list of business-critical needs. Please don’t misunderstand me here- I’m not saying that’s OK, just that it’s something that regularly happens and is a reason candidates might not get a response. Your job search may be the center of your universe, but that doesn’t mean the company or person interviewing you has that same focus. For example, if you were to call back-to-back, then email, then text, then email, then text… that’s not demonstrating a lot of self-awareness. What if they weren’t answering because they were attending a conference, not because they were trying to dodge you? The takeaway they’ll be left with is “that’s how that person would act toward a KOL” and they will 100% not want to move forward with you. Everything you do is part of your candidacy.

-You have every right to follow up, and SHOULD!

But the headline here is that we don’t want to overkill and be obnoxious about it. Be sure to ask for timelines during your interviews and keep track. If you haven’t heard back by the time they told you to expect an update, that would be an appropriate time to send a follow-up email to your point of contact. Hiring managers are humans and timelines can easily shift when you’re working with people on all sides of what you do, so giving grace is always the suggested route to go. We just never know what exactly is going on behind the scenes and we don’t want to shoot ourselves in the foot (by sending an angry email or 10 messages in a row) and ruin the awesome work we’ve put into the process so far. We have created a free resource for keeping track of your job search and timelines, feel free to access that here.

-It’s a small world, after all.

And it gets even smaller as you get into Medical Affairs so even if someone irks you, keep your composure and always maintain your professionalism. Even if you’re RIGHT, people talk, and you don’t ever want to let something like that get under your skin and potentially ruin something for you in the future. In the wise words of Taylor Swift, “Shake ’em off”.


If you’re asking for feedback, you need to be ready to receive it. Self-awareness and honest reflection are critical in the job search. So often candidates say, “I knocked that out of the park”, only to find out they have actually struck out. Be real with yourself. Did you really do everything you could to prepare? Did you have clear and concise answers? Did you nail your delivery on the presentation? Did you send “thank you” emails? If you’re getting candid feedback, it’s probably because they see potential and want to truly help you land the next role, so don’t be so quick to dismiss it. Hiring managers don’t always provide a lot of feedback, so if you’re getting it, I would reflect on it and try to take it to heart.

I hope this helps provide a little perspective and might make the “ghostings” a little easier to manage. I’m sorry that’s something you’re having to experience; I know it’s not fun or necessarily fair if you’re putting your energy into a process and not getting that returned. The RIGHT job is out there for you, so don’t give up!

Wishing you the best!