Ghosted by a job? Why it happened, how to follow up, and when to move on

by Oct 23, 2023

Have you ever felt ghosted by a job you’ve applied for? We’ve all been there. When you’ve found a job, perfectly crafted your application and submitted it, crossed your fingers and toes, only to not hear back. As the days and weeks press on, and your email inbox is empty and your phone is silent, you start to wonder: are the recruiters just being held up? Or, are you being ghosted?

In this blog post, we’ll cover reasons you might not have heard back about a job application, how to follow up, and when it’s time to move on.

person covered in bedsheet to look like a ghost walks through office

Why do recruiters ghost you?

There are several reasons you might not have heard back from an organisation about a job you applied for. It can be stressful, but it’s crucial to remember that not hearing back doesn’t always reflect on you or your application. So, what are some other reasons you might be ghosted?

1. Long recruitment times

  • Recruitment might be a lengthy process at the organisation you’ve applied to. Larger organisations, in particular, may vet candidates through multiple processes, causing delays.

2. Large numbers of applicants

  • Recruiters may be managing a considerable volume of applications, especially for major campaigns like graduate programs or internships. More applicants mean longer wait times between recruitment stages.

3. Reconsidering hiring needs

  • Internal organisational changes might lead to delays. There might be restructures, the role may no longer be necessary, or adjustments to the listing may be underway.

4. Your application was screened out by ATS

  • Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) could have filtered out your application due to it not being fit for the job, not containing appropriate key words, or not being formatted correctly.

For more details on ATS and how to improve your resume’s chances, check out this blog post.

5. Your application was unsuccessful

  • Hiring managers may progress without notifying unsuccessful applicants. While disheartening, following up for feedback can help you to know what you need to improve on.

Don’t fall into the trap that this TikTok user _ashbyflorence_ did and think that not hearing back means something morbid…


They are aige and well and i wasnt a good fit #foryou #fyp #funny #saxophone #delusional #adhd #add #adhdgirl #dyslexia #anxiety #college #trending #viral #cochella2022 #cochella2023 #fypp #health #weightloss #jobsearch #jobinterview

♬ Summer Background Jazz – Jazz Background Vibes

How to write a follow-up email to hiring managers

Any number of the above could be the reason you haven’t heard back, but it’s hard to deal with that uncertainty. So, a simple follow-up email could go a long way, helping you gain closure or encouraging the organisation to bring you through to the next round. Following up also shows initiative, which many organisations value.  

cat typing on laptop

you, writing a follow-up email

When do you send a follow-up email?

If you’re planning on following up with an organisation you’ve applied to, make sure you give them sufficient time to review your application first.

Typically, follow-up emails should be sent between 7-10 days from the application closing deadline. Emails are best sent on a working day, from Monday to Friday, rather than a weekend.

Consider setting a calendar reminder to a weekday 7-10 days after the deadline, to prompt yourself to follow up.

What do you send in a follow-up email?

While there is flexibility in what to include in your follow-up, you should always reference the job you applied for, include your full name, and politely enquire about the status of your application. You can also highlight your relevant qualifications, and offer any additional information, however, it’s important to make sure that your email is professional and polite.

We have a professional email guide that you can reference if you’re struggling. Or, consider using the below template to write up a follow-up email.

Subject Line: Follow-up on [Job Title] Application

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

My name is [Your Name] and I recently applied for the [Job Title] position at [Organisation Name]. My background in [relevant skills/experience] aligns well with the role, and I believe I would be a great fit for the organisation.

I was wondering if you might be able to provide an update on the status of my application? I understand you are very busy, so I am happy to supply any extra information or references if needed.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Kind regards, [Your Full Name]

[Your contact information]

What to do if your job application has been unsuccessful

If you find out that you were unsuccessful in getting through to the next round, it can feel discouraging. 

sad spongebob sitting in cafe

When you find out you didn’t get the job

However, the important thing to remember is to be graceful towards the hiring manager. Thank them for considering you, politely ask for feedback, and express your interest in being considered for any further roles within the organisation moving forward. We’ve drafted up the below template for you if you’d like to ask for feedback.  

Subject Line: Feedback on [Job Title] Application

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

I hope this finds you well. Thank you for considering my application for the [Job Title] position.

While I’m disappointed to learn of the outcome, I value the opportunity and respect the decision-making process. I was wondering if you might be able to provide feedback on my application? I would love to know how I can improve and prepare for future opportunities. 

I remain enthusiastic about contributing to [Company Name]. If there are future opportunities aligning with my skills, I’d love to be considered.

Thank you again for the opportunity and any feedback you can provide.

Kind regards,

[Your Full Name]

How to move on if you’ve been ghosted

If you’ve sent a follow-up email and still haven’t heard back, it might be time to consider moving on and letting go of the job you applied to. Remember that however exciting the job opportunity was, there will be other roles aligned with your experience in the future. Turn this experience into a learning opportunity, and explore other job opportunities.

Job searching can be draining, especially when you don’t hear back. Take steps to avoid job-search burnout, as detailed in this blog post.


Being ghosted by employers can feel demoralising, but it isn’t always a reflection on you. Whether affected by long hiring processes, internal changes, or ATS results, the only way to find out about the status of your application is by following up. Stay polite and considerate in email communications, and remember that there are other jobs out there if it’s time to move on.

If the job search process is starting to feel spooky, we’re around to help you out.



Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

Amelia Bussing

Amelia Bussing

Communications Assistant

Amelia is a Sydney-based writing and communications enthusiast working at UTS Careers as a Communications Assistant. She is UTS Alumni who studied a Bachelor of Communications (Creative Writing & Advertising), and a Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation. She is passionate about creativity, storytelling, and the art of a well-timed gif, and has a vast collection of crazy socks.