We all likely have some experience being ghosted by friends or potential love interests.
But what about in a professional setting?
Even though it’s common in some areas of life, it still hurts when it happens.
And when it’s your professional life, you may not be sure how to move forward or what to even do about it.
So, we reached out to the community to get some advice from experts on the topic – people who have been there and can tell you how to deal with it.
Take a look at their stories and suggestions below.
- 1. J. Kelly Hoey, Author
- 2. David Hampshere, Painless Home Buying Real Estate Investor
- 3. Rolf Bax, Chief Human Resources Officer, Resume.io
- 4. Sharon Geltner, Froogle PR
- 5. Brian V. Folmer, Founder / CEO FirstLook.vc
- 6. Stacy Caprio, Founder, Her.CEO
- 7. Michelle Devani, Relationship Expert at lovedevani
- 8. Abby Hao, Well PCB
- 9. David De Haan, Fantastic Kayaks
- 10. Nebojsa Calic, founder of CurberCrew
- 11. April Maccario, founder at AskApril
- 12. Martin Seeley, CEO MattressNextDay
- 13. Samantha Moss, Romantific
- 14. Sonya Schwartz, Her Norm
- 15. John Medina, John Medina Buys Houses
- 16. Tony Martins, Profitable Venture
- 17. Justin Brown, Ideapod
- 18. Matt Erhard, Summit Search Group
- 19. Chris Muktar, founder of WikiJob.co.uk
- 20. Neil Roach, Boxroomoffice.com
- 21. Reuben Yonatan, GetVoIP
1. J. Kelly Hoey, Author
Be professional – as you don’t the reason why you’ve been ghosted.
My ghost story? I was ghosted from approximately 4 months by a contact, right after we had a good faith handshake deal that her company would sponsor an event series for female founders I organized.
I sent the requisite exited to be collaborating with you and just confirming your company still wants to proceed with sponsorship emails plus a few popping these back to the top of you inbox – and nada.
No response. So I proceeded to organize the event series without their sponsorship, sending emails to the contact to let her know what I was planning or what events were upcoming.
Then lo and behold, all the months later the contact re-emerged! Seems the company was undergoing a reorganization and this had proved quite challenging for her.
She apologized for ghosting me, let me know how much she appreciated getting the updates and we were able to move forward successfully from there.
Beyond being professional, be understanding as we all react to difficulties differently.
2. David Hampshere, Painless Home Buying Real Estate Investor
I’m in the real estate business and it’s not uncommon to run into this. While I don’t know why I’ve been ghosted, I suspect the reasons vary.
I recall having someone come out to quote me on a complete kitchen redesign. We spoke some, and after he left I was expecting a detailed quote. After about 4 months he sends me a quote that’s just three lines and is about 4 times more than anyone else. My guess is he got quite busy, and he would only be interested in my job if I paid such a large amount.
Other times that I’ve been ghosts I suspected the job was too small for them. For example one quote to fix the subfloor was only $2,000, but some people seek at least $10,000 per job for it to be worth their time.
3. Rolf Bax, Chief Human Resources Officer, Resume.io
As someone who has been on both ends of professional ghosting, I can tell jobseekers that it happens for a variety of reasons, and not all of them are their fault. The hiring manager or person you were in contact with may have become inundated with work and you, or the entire hiring process, have fallen by the wayside. Or, they might have found it easier to simply ignore you.
it is entirely reasonable in this scenario to follow up after being ghosted, but only once. Don’t make your message personal or indignant, but inquire as to whether or not you are still being considered for a position so that you can quickly move on.
If you were ghosted before you got a chance to discuss or sell your best qualities and relevant experience and expertise, you can provide a brief breakdown of you value in your followup message as well. It is not unheard of that a manager passes on a candidate without really giving them their fair shake, only to find out later that they have ignored a great hire and reached out to request another interview or to find out more.
4. Sharon Geltner, Froogle PR
If you’ve been professionally ghosted, the primary tip is knowing when to stop trying and walk away. If the ghosting happens after an interview, especially an in-person interview, that hiring agent is incorrigibly rude and would be awful to work for. Consider yourself having dodged a bullet. Your energies are better placed in looking elsewhere for employment.
If that person(s) picked your brains during an interview, being ghosted is even worse, because you were used and taken advantage of. Lesson learned, next time, demonstrate your abilities and accomplishments without giving away too many of your ideas.
Removing yourself from ubiquitous demeaning, insulting behavior is a tough skill to learn. But in these days of labor oversupply and little demand–coupled with ever more impersonal technology wielded by people who are clueless about good manners–you must learn that skill to survive. Live to fight another day.
5. Brian V. Folmer, Founder / CEO FirstLook.vc
If someone ghosts you, the best thing to do is move on and absolutely crush them with your success. Nothing stings more than a missed opportunity they dropped the ball on.
Go a max of two follows after your original email. On the last one, say have you given up on this/the project/x? This triggers the safety of them saying no. At the same time, it also taps into prospect theory, the Nobel Prize-winning concept that loss aversion drives action more than the desire for gain. People are twice as likely to take an action to avoid a loss than they are to accomplish a gain.
6. Stacy Caprio, Founder, Her.CEO
If you are professionally ghosted, it is completely ok to send an email one to two weeks after following up with a single specific clarifying question.
If they ignore that as well you can still call the person directly once more, and if that doesn’t work you can still send a final text with your question.
Usually they will respond and give you more detail, especially if your question is very specific.
7. Michelle Devani, Relationship Expert at lovedevani
As a relationship expert, the best advice I can give when someone was professionally ghosted is to uplift oneself. Don’t drown on the situation but think of it as a sign that you were not meant to be part of that company.
It is their ultimate loss and not yours to begin with, because if they are professional enough, they will let you know what has happened.
Amidst the experience, make sure that you know your worth by moving forward and start looking for more deserving and great companies in the industry.
8. Abby Hao, Well PCB
Make sure that there is ghosting happened. Calling the person is the best option to confirm. Their reasons may be valid, and you can accept it, but if it isn’t, let them be and move on. The worst-case scenario is when they don’t reply to you at all. It’s already a sign that the ghosting is intentional.
Please don’t take it against you. Ghosting isn’t about you; it’s about the person. It reflects his ability to handle the situation that he can’t manage. He made ghosting as his escape because they don’t have the guts to tell you the reason why they don’t want to be connected with you anymore.
Always remember, ghosting is very unprofessional. Professionals don’t ghost people. They know that every time wasted is equal to money and it should be valued. They are also aware that ghosting can negatively ruin professional connections and destroy an image that can affect a person’s credibility.
9. David De Haan, Fantastic Kayaks
Follow up. Wait a few days then send a follow up email. Maybe they got too busy or something happened. Shoot them an email, they might respond and explain.
Don’t bombard them with email after email though. Just do it a couple of times, giving them a few days to respond each time. You don’t want to be annoying and end up in the spam folder.
Respond professionally. It is never fun to be on the receiving end of silence without explanation. The temptation to send an angry email with some strong words can be great. But it is better not to burn bridges. Or say something you may regret later in your career. So keep calm and if you write any strongly worded email, let it go to the drafts folder.
Don’t get offended. This is easier said than done. But if you did everything right and they ghosted you, then it’s them, not you. Maybe they are going through something or they are just rude. Whatever the case, don’t take it personally. It is even a blessing in disguise because would you want to work with someone who doesn’t know how to communicate properly? Move on and keep going. Don’t give up and don’t let it destroy your confidence.
10. Nebojsa Calic, founder of CurberCrew
Move on and know your worth!* You are self-aware enough to know that people shouldn’t ghost you and that you’re better than that.
What I usually do is to send one “last try” email that could give me an answer, and let it go if I don’t get a reply.
I look at it as the sign from the above – some (professional) relationships aren’t supposed to happen, and this is what the Universe is trying to tell us.
11. April Maccario, founder at AskApril
For me, the best thing you can do is to just let go and blacklist that company from your personal list of places to
There is no use bothering them and wasting your time waiting for an answer, most especially if you’ve already tried reaching out.
Look for other opportunities and then be careful in selecting the companies you apply for so you won’t get ghosted again.
12. Martin Seeley, CEO MattressNextDay
Professional ghosting is inevitable in the field of businesses which usually happens when some of your trusted
partners don’t trust you anymore and they don’t even want to have transactions with you anymore.
As for me, the best way to deal with professional ghosting is to remember that it’s not about you, it’s about them and to move on.
Don’t bother thinking about what is wrong with your business because most of the time you don’t have the problem and most of the time, it is better off that way and moves on.
Moving on is a challenging part of professional ghosting because you need to find another partner to replace the one who has ghosted you. Very much similar to romantic relationships but it’s just how it works.
13. Samantha Moss, Romantific
Ghosting is one of the counteractive events that everyone experienced. It usually happens when someone doesn’t communicate with you anymore.
As someone who manages a team of workers, I will share this information that you need to know when you are professionally ghosted. This will guide you on how to handle yourself in that awkward situation.
Forget and move forward are the things you need to do in handling professional ghosting. Accept the fact and find more opportunities than sticking to one.
Remember that if there is a plan a, a plan b should always be readily available and so forth. Don’t cry, and don’t take ghosting personally to avoid stressing yourself. Think of it as a blessing because someone like you deserves more.
14. Sonya Schwartz, Her Norm
We’ve all been ghosted one way or another, and even though it’s become common, being ghosted hurts.
Being ghosted in the dating world is often discussed, but being ghosted for a job or a career opportunity causes the same feelings of rejection and anxiety.
Though being ghosted can make you doubt your capabilities, there are ways you can move forward in your professional life.
Don’t immediately assume you’ve been ghosted, they might still be interviewing and haven’t gotten around to responding to you.
If you’ve sent back a thank you note for the interview, send a follow up that expresses your interest in the job. If you’ve done that and they haven’t responded, it may be a sign that you need to move on.
There are other companies who might be a better fit for you.
Change your perspective, see it as a redirection, not a rejection. If you view every unopened or unanswered email as a rejection, your self-confidence will fall faster.
Try to think of this as a chance to redirect your focus on something else.
There might be other job positions and career opportunities that you have to focus on. Learn from the experience and try something different next time.
15. John Medina, John Medina Buys Houses
Be Respectful. When you follow up, say things like Looks like we had a miscommunication here.
Give them the opportunity to say “Oh, my calendar glitched!” or whatever the case is. Allow them off the hook.
You have no idea what that person is going through. Maybe they’re struggling with their mental health and aren’t comfortable saying they couldn’t get out of bed that day.
If they don’t respond when you follow up, let it go. Don’t push.
Again, you have no idea why they ghosted you. It’s easy to assume it’s on us.
After a month, a couple months, circle back. Say something like Hey! Just remembered we never reconnected. Would love to set up a new time to chat. Be approachable.
Make it easy for them to say yes. Tell them how excited you are to chat with them. Give them less of a reason to say no!
Above all else, try not to take it personally. I know it hurts. It’s a blow to the ego. But remember, it’s not you!
16. Tony Martins, Profitable Venture
Being professionally ghosted sucks, there’s no way around that. Especially if it’s for a position or employee you were really excited about. So it can be a bit of an ego hit. But the best thing to do is this: just move on.
After being ghosted by a company once and then reached back out to about a year later, I quickly realized that they were not worth working with. While they seemed great at first, after they reached out again I noticed their gross lack of professionalism and what seemed good about them was just clever wording.
So if someone professionally ghosts you, even if they seem great, they are absolutely not worth working with. Just move on, and find a better opportunity.
17. Justin Brown, Ideapod
Being professionally ghosted is a major self-esteem hit. Not only do you believe you’re not good enough, you’re not even good enough to bother rejecting. When you are ghosted in dating you feel terrible and unlovable; when you are ghosted professionally you feel worthless and unemployable.
If you have been professionally ghosted, *do:*
Respectfully follow up and inquire at the company about what happened. Work on positive steps to improve your CV and job search skills.
Realize that in today’s competitive world it is nothing personal and you are still a skilled individual who will get an excellent job soon.
If you have been professionally ghosted, *don’t:*
Badger the company with repeated requests about why you’re not getting a response and become angry at the lack of a clear answer.
Give up on your job search and decide that it’s not worth it since you just got professionally ghosted.
Take it personally and become a bitter alcoholic who hates the world and vows never to apply for a job again.
18. Matt Erhard, Summit Search Group
First of all, keep ego and emotion out of the picture as much as possible. It’s tempting to wonder what you did wrong when someone stops responding, or to feel hurt or disrespected by their sudden silence.
It could have nothing to do with you, though—maybe the other person is dealing with a crisis in their work or personal life, or maybe they’re just disorganized and forgot to reply to you.
The best way to move forward is to send a nudging message. If the person just forgot to reply or was dealing with other issues, they’ll likely appreciate the reminder.
If you still don’t get a response from this message, it’s time to decide how important the contact is for you to maintain. In situations like job interviews or client/customer contacts, it’s probably not worth the effort to pursue the conversation further.
At most, I would recommend sending one last e-mail saying you hope the other person will reach out when they’re ready to move forward. More than 3 messages in a row without a response starts to sound increasingly desperate, not to mention it’s likely wasted effort on your part.
The situation is different if you’re ghosted by a client or colleague you’re actively working with. In that case, I would recommend switching to a different form of contact if the second message doesn’t get a response.
Be polite and non-accusatory—phrase it as you attempting to get ahold of them to move forward with the project, not that you’re yelling at them for their lack of response.
19. Chris Muktar, founder of WikiJob.co.uk
Ghosting does not only usually happen in relationships, but ghosting also happens often in the workplace. You can be ghosted by a client, after your job interview, or by a colleague.
Managing my own business for quite some time now, I have experienced being professionally ghosted a few times. So I know how being professionally ghosted can leave you feeling confused, disappointed, or dejected.
But you should not let this affect you too much, you should learn how to move on and move forward.
Here are a few of my tips on how to cope and overcome being professionally ghosted:
Stay professional no matter what. Despite being professionally ghosted a really frustrating experience, you should stay professional no matter what. You never know who you can work with in the future, so it will be best to avoid burning any bridges.
Treat it as a redirection. Instead of thinking of it as a rejection, it is better to treat it as a redirection. Think of and treat this particular experience as a sign to focus your efforts on something else.
20. Neil Roach, Boxroomoffice.com
I’ve been on the receiving end of professional ghosting twice in my life.
The most important part of being professionally ghosted is to most definitely not take it personally. You have no idea whether the person is ghosting you or everyone.
But there’s a simple 4-step formula to follow if it does end up playing on your mind:
1. Attempt to Connect/Friend the person again on the platform of your choice
2. Wait 2 weeks for a reply
3. Make a second attempt at connecting with your colleague
4. Wait 1 week for a reply
5. Forget about it and move on with your life
You can’t control the actions or attitudes of others, but you can control how you react to them.
And part of that is simply accepting that sometimes people change and you’ll never know or understand why.
21. Reuben Yonatan, GetVoIP
Do not pester the individual who ghosted you. At most, send two follow-up emails/text messages and leave it at that. Pestering breeds annoyance and destroys the professional relationship. When you ease up, you have a chance of preserving the relationship. Remember that most of the time, the ghosting has nothing to do with you, and by not pushing it, you might get another chance to revisit the issue.
Move on. Do not get stuck trying to figure out why the individual ghosted you. Chalk that up to a missed opportunity, move on and find other opportunities. Admittedly, some situations are impossible to walk away from, for instance, where there is money involved. In that case, pursue the legal options available and get your money back before moving on.
Has professional ghosting happened to you? Know that you deserve better than an employer or client that decides to ghost you.