HR Blog

November 18, 2021 | Olaide Bakare, PHRi

You got an interview and it went great, but after weeks of patiently waiting and pleasantly following up with your interviewer, you get the dreaded email that you did not get the job. Being rejected for employment, even if you were not 100% invested in the job, is tough. So, what do you do next?

You can start by letting out some frustration. Have a good cry, go for an intense workout, eat an entire bowl of ice cream, talk to a friend; whatever helps you relieve stress, do it. Letting out all the anger, sadness, and frustration you are feeling is an important step in the process. However, it is not the last step.

Discovering you did not get the job you wanted can be discouraging, but it should serve as a lesson that helps you improve your chances the next time around. Although you will probably never know why you were rejected in most cases, there are common reasons job applicants are turned down.

Below are seven probable reasons to consider:

You Showed Up to the Interview Unprepared

When a candidate shows up to an interview unprepared, it is not only frustrating to the hiring manager, it is also a complete waste of their time. Since interviews are usually scheduled days or weeks in advance, there is no excuse to show up unprepared.

Before attending an interview, you should know and understand the mission of the company as well as the job you are applying for. You must also be able to articulate how your skills and experience meet the job requirements.

Your Non-Verbal Cues Betrayed You

Maybe you can get away with a weak handshake. Maybe. But a weak handshake and poor eye contact, probably not. Your body language sends a loud message.

While most savvy interviewers may not be too quick to dismiss you for being a little nervous, the power of confidence cannot be overstated. A little fidgeting can be a deal breaker if it comes down to deciding between you and another equally-qualified candidate who better projects confidence and rapport-building skills.

They Don’t Think You Would Stay

You studied Mass Communication in University, interned for a media company and have a fashion blog. This is all great stuff but you are interviewing for an entry-level customer service position in healthcare. Your interviewer is going to have doubts about whether this is the job that you really want.

Many companies are willing to look at transferable skills and will train and invest in their new employees, but they need to know that this is what you really want to do and that you will commit. So, you must be able to connect the dots, convey that you want the position and would be motivated to excel in the role long-term. Otherwise, the hiring manager may not be inclined to hire someone who appears would leave after a short tenure or who just cannot be bothered to give the position their all.

Your Online Reputation is Questionable

It is now common practice for recruiters to look up applicants on social media. Most hiring managers scrutinize the Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles of candidates to get an idea of what they are like.

Exhibition of discriminatory opinions, inappropriate photographs, and vent-post regarding past employer or position will brand you unemployable – no matter how qualified you are or promising your interview was.

Your References Screwed You Up

Who are your references? Are you in touch with them? Are they aware you went for an interview? What exactly do they have to say about you? Can they still be reached via the phone number you have on your CV?

Contacting references is often the last step in the hiring process, and can sometimes be the opportunity killer. Your references can close the sale for you so that you get the job offer, or they can end the opportunity very quickly.

There was a Personality Misfit

Interviewers are not only looking for someone who can perform the job duties well, they are looking for someone who would make a good employee and fit in with the team.

Sometimes, interviewers could make knee-jerk judgments about your personality that are not fair or accurate, other times, you may fail to convey enough about your personality or experience to help the interviewer envision working with you. Either ways, this mysterious factor is critical in determining who gets hired.

The Position Was Filled Internally

Sometimes it is not you, it is them.

At times, organizations post positions even when they are planning to hire from within. In other scenarios, an internal candidate might express their interest in a role after your successful interview with the firm. And given that internal applicants are more familiar with the workplace culture, they are better placed to take up the roles at your expense.

Bonus: Another Applicant Performed Better

No none likes to hear this, but you may have missed the job because someone else performed better.

The sad truth is there is always going to be someone better qualified for the job, or better at giving a first impression. So don’t beat yourself up, keep applying and pushing, there is something out there for you!

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