It is not uncommon to not hear back after applying for a job even if you have the desired skills. It is possible that your resume won't be looked at at that point. If you get that call back, what if you don't say anything during the interview? The good news is that silence isn't always a sign of rejection. There are many reasons for silence after an interview.

After a Recruiter Screen

That doesn't mean you're a candidate just yet. Recruiters need to find enough viable candidates to present to a hiring manager when they have more than 10 job openings. The hiring manager will usually decide who will move forward into the hiring process based on the information the recruiters gather. It can take a long time for recruiters to get time on hiring managers. The manager might want to see more candidates if they are not satisfied with the initial candidates presented by the recruiters.

If you want to avoid silence early in the process, ask, "Based on the candidates you've screened so far, what else do you need to know from me to make me a top candidate for this position." Do you think I will move forward in the hiring process based on the candidates you have met? Even if the answer could change with more screens, it is better to get an honest answer. It is possible to be a top candidate today, but later you will be knocked down by more experienced candidates.

After a Hiring Manager or Panel Interview

The hiring manager may interview you if you make it past the recruiters screen. The silent treatment could be received after one of these interviews.

Debrief delays.

Interviews will be done together with the hiring manager and the recruiters. Interviewers don't share their feedback with each other on the same days because candidates aren't all interviewing on the same day Not every interviewer is timely about giving feedback, and it can take a while to align all interviewers' calendars for a meeting.

Offer formation.

It's possible that the hiring manager and the recruiters are talking about how to make a good offer. If you are not the number one choice, you will need to wait for the top candidate to reject the offer in order to be the second choice. The backup usually gets the job.

Hiring manager/recruiter unavailability.

In the middle of the hiring process, a hiring manager can take a vacation, leave on business travel, or be sick. There are delays. A hiring manager taking a leave of absence or leaving the company could cause delays. This happens. The hiring process is usually put on hold as the company tries to figure out if it will move forward with hiring and who will lead the process.

Job change.

The job may be put on hold or canceled due to the changing economy or business needs after a job has been posted. Uncertainty in the economy can affect revenue. It is possible for companies to change their hiring strategies and hiring managers to have to reexamine what they need.


You have been ghosted if you are met with silence from the recruiters. It should never happen, but it does, and it could be for any of the reasons above.

How can you figure out which of these situations you are in and how to deal with it?

Listen Carefully

After finishing each round of interviews, set up time with the recruiter, and ask, "When will you be reviewing all the candidates with the hiring manager?" It's important that the time frame is right. If the recruiters aren't talking to you after that date, you're not a top candidate. You could be in the top two or three candidates if they communicate with you. If they say, "We'll have some decisions made next week" and the deadline has passed, either the hiring manager hasn't made a decision or the recruiter offered another candidate the job and they're waiting for a response before rejecting you."

Don’t Take Silence Personally

If you made it past the recruiter screen, hiring manager interview, and another round of interviews, but didn't get the job, that's because you weren't the best candidate. The rejection may not have anything to do with you. If you aren't a top candidate or the job has changed, you may not get a response from the recruiters. Some recruiters build relationships and some don't, while others focus on the next job to fill The best way to move on is to realize that it wasn't as good of a job as you thought it would be.

Sometimes silence speaks more than words. Asking powerful questions will help you understand where you are in the process. Even if you think you nailed an interview, never stop applying for jobs until you get a job.