In the military, soldiers rely heavily on personal and performance feedback to improve upon their craft and succeed within the ranks. They expect to receive communication regardless of their temperament and have become heavily reliant on it to best navigate their career path. When service members get out of the military and have diligently begun their job application process they find themselves frustrated when they do not hear anything back on the jobs that they applied for. Many veterans cannot wrap their heads around why this is and most of the time feel a great sense of personal rejection.

Impact of Ghosting on Veterans

In reality, many employers fail to personalize or provide meaningful feedback, opting instead for automated rejection messages. This “type of feedback” has not settled well with the veteran community and has been an unfortunate hurdle to overcome as they navigate their post-service career. There has also been a great increase in awareness of the phenomenon of employment “ghosting.” If you factor the lack of employer feedback with the illusive response of ghosting, many veterans have become quite perplexed as to how to perceive and achieve success in the current job market.

Ghosting is a term that has become a frustrating staple in modern-day American hiring culture and many veteran job applicants are feeling the wrath. Ghosting occurs when a job applicant has a promising interaction with a potential employer but never receives further communication. Initially, the job applicant feels as if they did something wrong and will tend to overanalyze the situation only to find themselves feeling isolated and rejected. What the veteran may not be aware of is that this has become a social norm in the hiring process circa the pandemic. With the surge of job applicants coupled with the current economic climate, employers have found themselves drowning in talent. This has allowed many employers to “fall off of the grid” and simply not communicate with their job applicants. Ghosting is a large issue in today’s current job market and even more so for veterans and service members who expect a certain reciprocity of communication.

You’ve Been Ghosted

In the last six months, I have been “ghosted” by potential employers at least three times. Each employer sought me out for my background and experience, began a hopeful conversation about the role that they wanted to fill, and then “vanished” as fast as they came in. Like any diligent veteran, I followed all the recommended protocols. I followed up and sent an email addressing the great attributes of the role and how I would be a great fit, etc. Each time I would get an email response back from the employer only to tell me that they will get back to me. It has been an inevitable push/pull to get employers to follow up with communication and has ultimately left me in the dark more often than not.

I am a firm believer that every communication exchange should be a balancing act for both parties. I remember my grandmother’s sage advice many years ago. She told me that you never need to chase anything in life.  In short, there should always be an even and respectful exchange of energy and communication between the parties involved. I think that many veterans will go above and beyond in the pursuit of employment to the detriment of their self-value.

My advice is to not chase or shake a job opportunity down. If it is meant for you and they value you then it will be given to you with grace and ease. The employer will find the time to properly communicate with you and even offer some feedback in the process. No chasing or shaking down a job opportunity is required. This might be a bit of an uncomfortable mindset for some of the transitional service members to embrace. However, adopting this mindset is crucial for maintaining your mental well-being throughout the job search process. After all, it should be a job search and not a job hunt.

Related News

Carin Richelle Sendra is a Post 9/11 USAF Veteran that served both in active duty as well as D.O.D security contracting OCONUS. She has spent time in both the private and public sector working within the Human Capital space assisting organizations to train and develop their teams. She has spent time as a lecturer for academic and professional development. Carin has spent several years supporting the military and veteran community while offering her unique perspective that many veterans encounter post-service. She has a Master's degree in Management studies from The University of Redlands and a certificate from Cornell University on The Psychology of Leadership.