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Post-Interview Ghosting

Post-Interview Ghosting

Ghosting: the act or practice of abruptly cutting off all contact with someone (such as a former romantic partner) usually without explanation by no longer accepting or responding to phone calls, instant messages, etc.


I work as a life coach for a number of high-functioning educators. Some are teachers, some are school or district leaders, and some work in nontraditional roles. Most of my clients are in transition; they are actively seeking new roles or wondering if it is time to leave the role they are in. We often use this diagram as they decide what their next step might be:

The diagram helps to define the distinct differences and clear connections among profession, vocation, passion, and/or mission. It also helps define why these elements matter for a life worth living.


These folks are professionals. They are thoughtful, passionate, and dedicated. Some of them have spent decades in education, often for the same organization. They are ideal employees, yet more and more of them are leaving. Recently, I’ve noticed a pattern as to why: they applied and interviewed for a job that met many or all of the criteria in the Ikigai diagram and they were not chosen. 


Now, rejection is part of life, but it is usually not the rejection itself that demoralized these folks; it’s the lack of communication as to why they were not chosen and someone else was. These normally resilient and confident professionals start to fill in the blanks themselves and spiral into self-doubt, something they described as the hardest time in their entire careers. They don’t know which part of their skillset is valued, they don’t know what they did “wrong” during the interview, and – if they were rejected for a job within their current organization – they don’t know if they have the approval of their organization’s leadership.


A solution to this problem is simply a phone call from someone on the interview panel to people who did not get the job. This can include some basic feedback on what they did well and what was valued by the panel, as well as some areas where they can grow, and possibly a bit of information to explain why the chosen candidate was a better fit for the job. This seems so simple, yet it happens infrequently. Not doing it has a high cost.


If you conduct interviews, do you call the rejected candidates? Why or why not? Have you ever gotten a phone call after being turned down for a job? How did it make you feel? Have you ever had to make a call just to find out that you didn’t get a job? How did that affect you?


We’d love to hear your story in the comments below!

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