I have a strange problem and am completely at my wit's end as to why it may be happening. I have friends and family in my or similar fields and they are all baffled when I tell them about this.
I work in software, I currently hold a job but am seeking to move. I have a long history of recruiters "ghosting" on me. That is, I will make contact with a recruiter, get into some hiring process, and they will at some point stop responding to email/calls. It's quite literally as if they've simply vanished.
It has happened across the board from large companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon as well as medium sized companies and small startups. I live in Seattle, where there is a lot of supply/demand for software engineers. I am a US citizen authorized to work for any employer, etc. etc.
This happens at various points in the recruiting process. It sometimes goes something like this:
- A recruiter will respond to my application by reaching out via email.
- I respond with any requested information, very often offering times to have an initial phone call.
- We have a phone call, it seems to go well. I answer all their questions thoughtfully, try to be personable and down-to-earth, and ask followup questions showing I've done some homework on the company. The recruiter often seems engaged and happy. They mention they'll send out an email with next steps in a day or two after they speak with the team.
- Now it gets weird. I don't hear anything for ~1 week. I will reach out with an email after saying something like:
Thanks again for speaking with me last week. I just wanted to touch base and see if you had any updates regarding the hiring process, or if I can answer any more questions for you.
This will receive no response. I'll try to follow-up again later that week or next week, and maybe call and leave them a voice mail. No reply, ever. Sometimes, 1-3 months later, I'll get an automated email from a donotreply@company that I'm no longer being considered for the position. Usually nothing ever comes.
It gets stranger. I've had technical screens with an engineer and then my recruiter contact ghosts.
I've gone in for on-site interviews and had this happen. Here's a somewhat recent (~1 month ago) example:
I applied to a position and heard back from the recruiter who said I sounded like a great match. We had a lovely phone conversation, were both laughing, I have a genuine interest in their product, etc. He asked if I'd like to come in for an on-site evaluation for about 2 hours, which would lead to a full interview if it went well. He gave me some articles to read about their company. I read all the articles and brought a notebook with questions about company culture, their product, etc. I solved a white-board coding problem they gave me with what I'd consider a very typical amount of difficulty and had enough time to provide optimizations to the general solution as well as pointing out edge cases I'd address in real life and further optimizations I'd make if I had the time (and white-board space) to write them out. The engineers seemed happy with my solution and I was able to ask them some of the questions I'd written down which they both seemed happy and interested in answering. Lots of smiles, nodding, positive body language, etc. Recruiter and I spoke again and he said he'd get in touch in a day or two to let me know if they wanted to interview.
A week goes by without any contact. I send a follow-up email as above, no response. I call a few days later and leave a voice mail along the lines of "Hey thanks again for having me visit, I really loved the office and felt pretty good after the interview! Just touching base to see if I can help with anything else or if you might have any updates for me." Nothing.
edit: For emphasis in this scenario the recruiter, while sitting in a room speaking with me personally, was very adamant that he would follow up with me in a day or two about whether or not they would be moving forward. He further went on to explain that either way he would provide me feedback about why they wouldn't be moving forward and what I could do better in the future, or why they were moving forward and what I should showcase in the final round. It seems beyond unprofessional, and instead trending into blatantly rude, to tell someone this in person and then never followup and ignore their attempts to reach out.
I am completely dumbfounded. I consider myself to be at least tolerable if not personable, and I am polite and professional to everyone I meet. I arrive dressed smart-casual (jeans, dress shoes, cardigan with a fitted t-shirt) and I shower before the interview (if I've gotten that far). I avoid political, polarizing, or highly opinionated topics at work. I've had several friends in my field and a professional service review my resume and say it looks great.
All in all I'd say this has happened to me upwards of 15 times in the past year to year and a half. I've had 3 different Microsoft recruiters alone do this to me. I'd say about ~40% of ghosts are after the initial screen, ~40% are after a technical screen, and 2 or 3 times it's happened after meeting someone in person at their office.
It's completely fine if I apply and am not considered or if I get somewhere in the process and they decide not to move forward, and that has happened! (i.e. they've emailed saying they're not going to move forward and that's 100% okay) However more often than not, the recruiter vanishes and ignores any attempt to reach out. I always check that the email comes encrypted from @company so I know I'm talking to real people.
What on earth could I possibly be doing to cause this? Unless this is simply a typical experience and my friends have had atypical ones, I feel that I must be doing something to cause this to happen. It seems far too frequent to be random.
edit per a suggestion to make a tl;dr:
I've had multiple recruiters stop replying to their email/phone at multiple stages in the hiring process. Even ones I've met in person, and ones with whom I've spoken on the phone and who have promised to get back to me "either way". Everyone I've told in person who works in my field is shocked that this has happened to me so much, and I cannot believe it's mere coincidence but I also genuinely have no explanation.