You’re probably wondering why you were rejected for a job position when it seemed like all the qualifications were met, and there was nothing wrong with your application.
According to career experts, there are a few reasons why you’re not getting hired after interviews.
Here are their insights:
Hiring Manager | Educator and Higher Ed Consultant
They may choose to hire another who appears to be a better fit for the job or the organization
The goal of the interview process is to find the person who is the best fit for the job and the organization.
If you are getting interviews, you have a strong resume. However, you are one of several qualified applicants being interviewed. They may choose to hire another who appears to be a better fit either for the specific job or the organization.
This might mean another candidate:
- Had more skill or experience in a specific area that is a priority for the organization
- Has a communication style that is more likely to lead to success on their team
- Demonstrated goals and values that better align with theirs, or you may not be demonstrating why this move makes sense
They want to hire someone who will be not just successful but also who will be happy and stay awhile.
You may need to work on your communication skills
You are getting interviews, so your resume and cover letter are effective. Since you aren’t landing the job, you may need to work on your communication skills.
- Are you effectively answering the questions you are asked without talking too much? Or do you go in with talking points that don’t directly address the questions?
- Are you highlighting both what you can bring to them and what you will get out of the job?
- Are you asking questions that demonstrate you have done your homework and understand (and can meet) their needs?
- Do you appear passionate about the opportunity?
Consider asking a trusted colleague to take you through a mock interview. Have them ask you the types of questions you are being asked in interviews and give you feedback. Videotape the mock interview so you can watch your performance and critique yourself.
Maybe you focused too much on compensation and benefits
Sometimes, there are multiple strong candidates, and it comes down to money.
Are you out of town? They may prefer to hire locally instead of paying for relocation. Did you focus too much on compensation and benefits, giving them the impression you wouldn’t accept their offer? This is particularly relevant if the job is a lateral or downward move.
If you are seeking a move that isn’t promotional, you need to explain your motivation and be persuasive that you aren’t focusing on the pay.
You may not be as qualified as you think you are
There is one more reason you may not be getting the job—the reason may be uncomfortable but needs to be addressed. You may not be as qualified as you think you are.
- Does your resume describe accomplishments that were actually a team effort and not your individual contributions?
- Do you lack skill, knowledge, or experience in some key areas of the position?
While some managers will hire based on potential, others want to hire someone with directly transferable experience. If you are seeking a promotion, keep at it. Eventually, you will find an organization that is prepared to see your potential.
In the interim, consider volunteer opportunities to build your skills, knowledge, and leadership experience. Is there a community group or professional organization that would let you take on a role you haven’t done before?
Former HR Leader | Executive and Career Coach | President & CEO, Dare2Dream Careers
You really don’t want the job
This happens when you know in your heart you don’t really want the job. You are not sure this opportunity is a good fit for your next career step. This can happen when you are unclear on your next step or don’t know if this position will help you reach your career goals in the short or long term.
Believe it or not, your lackluster excitement shows in your body language, your answers, and even your attention to detail throughout the entire hiring process.
Savvy interviewers will dig deep to ensure they are selecting the absolute best candidate. This may be a lack of passion, or you are just simply passive about the interview and role. Consider a few ways to go above and beyond; send a custom note, preferably handwritten but in this virtual age, be creative.
- Make it very clear you want to work for the organization and the hiring manager.
- Openly ask how the interview went and if there is anything you can clarify.
- Also, consider asking, although it is bold, “Is there anything that would prevent you from making me an offer?”
Even consider asking for swag. I once interviewed for an organization I still love and would work for at the drop of a hat, and they gave me a water bottle I still use, and it’s a reminder of how much I love them and their culture.
You did not do your homework or research
You can’t clearly articulate why you want this role and what it will mean to your 1-3 and 3-5 year plan. You don’t know what they do to make and lose money or who their competition is. You don’t understand the competitive marketplace for the company or organization.
As you grow or matriculate in your career, this is critically important to convey. It shows you have not only done your homework and research but your overall commitment to the organization’s mission and vision for the future and what it will take to get there.
I suggest networking your way into your next position. Be sure you have connections inside the organization who can advocate on your behalf. In addition, they can share the organization’s culture, insider tips, and the best practices to interview and get hired.
If you are in a hurry and don’t have a personal contact, consider GlassDoor.com or CareerBliss.com, you will find helpful information on company ratings, salaries, and reviews.
You’re either underqualified or overqualified
You may not be considering the correct level for where you are and what’s next in your career. Timing is everything in this fast-paced marketplace.
If your skills are dated, or you just don’t have the current skills employers are seeking, this can show in interviews. Remember, the employer knows that making a wrong hire is a very costly mistake up to 30% or, on average, $14,000 per poos hire.
(The U.S. The Department of Labor says the cost of a bad hire can reach up to 30 percent of the employee’s first-year earnings. CareerBuilder says 74 percent of companies who made a poor hire lost an average of $14,900 per poor hire.)
Also, if you are over or nearly overqualified, the employer may believe you won’t stay, or you will be seeking a promotion too soon. This can also lead to turnover.
President, Nigel Frank International
You won’t land a job if you walk into an interview under-qualified and unmotivated
A proactive employee is valuable to any organization; it’s a great skill to show potential employers. A driven applicant with a resume of relevant experience will go far in the interview process.
Related: How to Make Your Resume Stand Out
Unlike passion, knowledge is something learned and is invaluable to the hiring process. The best way to show respect to your potential employer is to know your stuff. Often candidates walk into interviews with little knowledge of the business or role and wonder why they don’t get hired.
Employers want someone who has some knowledge of the field they are joining and the company they are onboarding with. You wouldn’t hire a plumber to conduct heart surgery after all.
With information as accessible as it is, there’s no excuse.
- Are you up to date with the company’s recent social media posts?
- Do you know what your role will ask of you?
Demonstrating your knowledge in an interview is a great way to show your engagement and help to prevent those dreaded awkward silences.
Watch your attitude during the interview
A professional attitude from the get-go is a great indicator of a good employee. They will sense if you are passionate by watching how you conduct yourself. It’s natural to be nervous but remaining calm and collected is your best chance at a second interview.
Engage with your interviewer, maintain eye contact, and don’t forget to smile.
Being human is so important; they aren’t looking to hire a robot. Remember to speak clearly, and don’t be afraid to take the time to consider your answers. It looks better to give a thought-out answer rather than rush and stumble.
Confidence and expertise can go far in the interview process, so believing in yourself will do wonders.
Attorney | Conflict Manager
Not selecting and vetting your references carefully
I would encourage job candidates to give careful and serious consideration to their references. While references are used to confirm your competence and ability to meet the job description’s demands, their main purpose is to assess your soft skills and determine whether you will contribute to positive work culture.
Employers look to references to provide insight on things that are difficult for a potential employer to discern in the confines of an interview.
Many candidates give polished interviews and have impeccable resumes, but their references paint a different picture of the day-to-day work experience with the person. I have been on many interview panels where our selected candidate following interviews moved to the bottom of the list after references were consulted.
First of all, be sure to provide references.
I suggest that candidates include at least one former supervisor and coworker in their references. Before listing someone as a reference, please be sure you have an idea of what they might say. A negative reference from someone you suggested a potential employer contact will cause a number of concerns.
Poor references indicate a lack of self-awareness or emotional intelligence
As a prospective employee, are you unaware of how you are perceived in the workplace?
This lack of awareness indicates:
- People are intimidated to express their true feelings about you
- You turn deaf ears to constructive criticism
- You do not recognize the importance of maintaining a positive workplace culture
All of these possibilities are red flags to prospective employers.
Poor references indicate a lack of communication skills
Why would you list someone as a reference if they’re not going to be favorable to you? You probably assumed they had positive things to say. Most likely, your communication was simply, “Will you be a reference for me?”
Before listing someone as a reference, effective communication requires a deeper conversation about their assessment of you. A prospective employer is looking at your communication skills, and a negative reference is a clear sign that there are gaps in your communication—the kind of gaps that may be disruptive to the team.
No prospective employer wants to add disruption to their work processes.
Poor references indicate a lack of preparation
When a reference is not favorable, it also indicates a lack of preparation. Did you apply for the job at the last minute without vetting your own references?
A prospective employer is looking for someone who produces quality work, not a procrastinator who fills in the blanks without doing the necessary research and preparation. A negative reference is a red flag about the depth of your preparation and the quality of your work.
So select your references carefully. Vet them fully—it may make all the difference.
CV and Career Expert, CareerAddict
You’re not giving off a good impression in the interview
While your CV might be impressive, you may not be giving off the same vibe when it comes to the interview. This could be down to the fact that you’ve fabricated some of the information on your CV, or you just haven’t prepared enough for the interview.
You don’t ask any questions
An interview is a two-way conversation. You need to be active in the conversation and ask questions to show that you’re interested in the company. This is one of the biggest turn-offs in an interview for me as it proves that the interviewee isn’t an active thinker and won’t excel in the role.
You’re too shy or overconfident
When interviewing, there must be a good balance between being sociable and not overly confident. You must show that you’re a good communicator without being overpowering.
You’re underqualified for the role
If you’re not getting any success interview after interview, it could be because you’re aiming for a role that requires a little more experience. If you’re fresh out of university, try to get some internships or work experience on your CV to show that you’ve managed to put your knowledge into practice.
To gauge why you’re getting an interview but not going any further, ask your interviewers for some feedback. They may give you some good pointers that will help with future opportunities.
Head of People and Culture, Tidio
You were not able to present your knowledge and previous experience during the interview
Think about how you presented your knowledge and previous experience during the interview.
- Did you gather information about the company for which you are applying?
- Did you highlight your skills that may be useful for the position?
To increase your chance of landing a role, you can make a list of your professional achievements that demonstrate your competencies and help you describe your previous job background.
They chose a candidate with more experience
Sometimes an impressive CV and presenting yourself well at a job interview are not enough. If another candidate has previously worked in the same position as the one you are recruiting for, he is just more likely to be hired.
Sometimes, an employer prefers not to take risks and choose a candidate who already knows the industry well.
You were not a good fit to their company culture
A recruiter may also have rejected your application because they felt you would not fit into the company culture.
During the interview, recruiters look not only at hard skills but also at soft skills, such as:
- What kind of communication do you prefer
- How you like to work
- What makes you happy and motivated
If your approach to work is very different from how the company works, likely, this is not the right place for you. This decision can be tough to understand, but it will save you from later disappointment.
Career Coach | Managing Director, Arielle Executive
You lack personality
Skills and experiences are important in getting the job. However, that’s not all there is to it. When you’re someone with the right skills and experiences but the employer doesn’t see much personality, it can be a turn-off.
When interviewing, you need to give the employer a glimpse of who you are as a person.
Interviewers don’t want to see someone who’s like a robot with the skills; they want to see a human. You have a personality, so show them that you’re someone they would enjoy working with. Relax and be yourself.
You’re not being proactive
Being proactive can be your way to career success. Your approach to your job search shouldn’t be passive.
- You need to learn how and when to follow up.
- You need to apply for more jobs.
- You need to do your research.
These are some steps to be more proactive in the job search. When you show the interviewer that you have passion for what you’re doing, they’ll be more drawn to take you in.
You’re interviewing for the wrong jobs
You have to think about the skills you have and the jobs you’re applying for. Sometimes, we don’t realize we’re applying for jobs that aren’t aligned with our skills. You’re not necessarily underqualified, but you’re not the right fit.
If you’re the kind of person who’s extroverted and has strong people skills, you may not be the right fit for a behind-the-desk office job. Employers will see this and won’t give you something that doesn’t fit your skills and personality.
Operations Coordinator, Online Optimism
Not making time to learn about the company
Sometimes when candidates interview, it’s clear they haven’t taken the time to learn about the company and what makes it unique. We are looking for the most qualified candidates who have also made an effort to familiarize themselves with the organization.
Subscribing to the company newsletter and reading our blog posts are simple ways to learn about the company culture and identify questions you want to ask in your interview.
Not asking relevant questions during the interview
Even if you think you know everything there is to know about a company from their website, show that you’re engaged by asking questions. Did you see an interesting initiative that the company offers? Ask how you’d be able to get involved!
We set aside time in the interview for the candidates to ask questions, so it’s discouraging when they don’t have any.
Not having certifications in the field
If you interview for a job, and the other candidates have certifications in the field, they’re going to have an immediate upper hand. There are plenty of free certifications out there that demonstrate a commitment to the career and ensure that you will stand out in the interview process.
Google Analytics and Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing certification are both free and will give you a leg up on other interviewees.
The candidate did not give evidence of their experience in the interview
The biggest mistake I see candidates make is not using examples in their responses. It’s really hard to hire a candidate who doesn’t give evidence of their experience in the interview.
One sign that you’re not giving good examples is you’re saying what you would do in response to the question.
Whether you’re meeting with a recruiter, a hiring manager, or a business owner, they are looking to understand whether you have the experience you claim to have on your resume or LinkedIn profile.
It’s important to remember that anyone can say anything. That’s why it’s so important that you use examples in your responses throughout the interview, even if the interviewer isn’t directly asking you for an example.
The best way to make interviews easier:
To make it easier to come up with solid evidence on the spot, I recommend that you have two or three experiences in mind that demonstrate a wide range of situations.
On top of having examples that are relevant to the job you’re applying for, be sure they could touch on a time you made a mistake, a time you took the initiative, and a time you had to collaborate with others.
Early in my career, I thought that referring to the same couple of examples throughout the interview wouldn’t show the depth of my experience.
But I’ve been on the other side of the interview long enough to realize it’s so much easier to understand the candidate’s examples when they refer back to a couple of scenarios.
Expert Copywriter | Professional Freelance Writing Coach and Mentor
With the Great Resignation in full swing and people posting their “I Quit” story all over YouTube and social media that garner hundreds of thousands of views, it’s no wonder that 1 in 4 Americans will be working remotely or freelancing at home by the end of 2021.
So, for the flood of new blood ready to work from home, how can the “I Quit” crowd be successful in their interviews? If you find that every Zoom interview results in no gigs, here is the main reason why that is:
You are not offering more than one skill
LinkedIn — a social media platform for businesses — recently shared its report on the top job skills companies seek.
The top job skills are:
- Instagram marketing
- Content marketing
- Creative problem-solving
As a freelance designer, copywriter, or artist, how can you show that you are confident in these top job skills?
For Instagram marketing, are you using Reels, or are you even on Instagram? With over a billion people using Instagram every day, it’s in your best interest to be on Instagram and show that on your resume.
Many companies that hire freelancers want them to promote their business. As a freelance writer, I often do this on Twitter and Facebook, but now I know Instagram shouldn’t be ignored.
Update your IG profile daily, create Reels and share your services and credibility in those reels.
With the pandemic in full swing and a lot of dissension in the nation, customer trust is at an all-time low. This means they don’t trust overly marketing ads and instead want authentic content that’s written by one person or a trusted source.
In effect, this is what content marketing provides.
When you share highly valuable content that answers a problem by showing your credibility in your skillset and share it, you are marketing your content effectively. For new freelancers, have a blog and start sharing informational and helpful content that prospects can find and immediately hire you.
Creative problem solving
Businesses need people that can solve problems on their own. One of my earliest mistakes in losing a job was not being able to answer their questions with creative answers that led to new ideas.
For you, take the time to read, research and absorb what’s going on in your industry.
Take, for example, LinkedIn is launching a freelance marketplace or that Youtube shorts and Pinterest Idea pins are a popular strategy to use. For me, I can use this information to help land freelance jobs that want information on Pinterest or LinkedIn.
So, why do you have to show more than one skill to land the job? Because 61% of freelancers are already specializing in up to 3 skills. This means a company can hire you with one main skill (blog writing) or hire someone with three skills (SEO long-form blog writing).
Online Entrepreneur | Creator, Mikke Goes Coding
Someone else made a better first impression during the interview phase
Getting invited to an interview shows that your cover letter and resume convinced the employer that you have the right skills and experience. But unfortunately, someone else made a better first impression during the interview phase.
To fix this – and to land the next job – you need to pay attention to three critical points to nail your next interview:
Understand what the potential employer is looking for and what they need
Before each interview, you want to understand what your potential employer is actually looking for and what they need.
- Why are they hiring?
- What is the biggest problem they need help with?
- Why are they looking for someone with the skills you possess?
It is essential to be mindful of what the employer needs help with because that is why they have an open position in the first place. Once you understand the underlying reason, it is easier to emphasize the right skills in your interview.
Read through the job posting carefully, paying attention to any clues you find about what the employer plans to achieve by hiring. What value will you bring to the table as a new employee?
Focus on solutions instead of skills
Most of us tend to highlight the technicalities and skills we think will get us hired during a job interview. But the truth is: the employer needs someone who can use their skills for real-life projects at work.
Hence, they need someone who knows how to take what they know and build something useful, helpful, and valuable.
This point is crucial if you are an experienced specialist in your field, and you will be joining a team where your skills are unique. If that is the case, your interviewer may not entirely understand the technical aspects of your skillset.
Thus, it is essential to focus on explaining what you can do with your knowledge, what type of results you can deliver, and how that will make a difference to the bottom line.
Show interest in the workplace and team
Finally, it is crucial to show interest in your potential employer on a more general level. Of course, we often focus primarily on the job itself and do our best to showcase our competence for that specific position during the interview.
However, what most employers value is that you express your curiosity for the company as a whole.
This is an easy way to make a more engaged impression on the interviewer. It simply shows that you care about more than just landing the job. At the end of the day, a job interview is all about a mutual conversation. You want to convince the interviewer that you are the best candidate for the job, while the employer also wants to make a positive first impression face-to-face.
Give them the chance to do that.
Make sure to prepare a few questions about your future team and the workplace in general – but be careful not to sound too curious. While it is perfectly OK to ask about where your place would be in the team, it’s not a good idea to go into more detail about the group dynamics.
Suppose it comes down to two applicants with identical skills. If only one of them managed to build a two-way conversation, painting a picture of themselves being part of the team and working smoothly with the others – that’s the one getting hired.
Sports and Performance Psychologist
You may not have been the right fit for the company
There are some things that are not within your control, as you simply may not have been the right fit for the company. It’s more important to focus on what’s within your control. Then, no matter the end result, you know you exerted every ounce of effort and did everything you could to get hired.
Here’s a checklist to review before and after each interview:
- Did I focus on what I can do to support the company? The company will want to learn about your goals and aspirations. Make sure you always connect your personal goals with the company so they get a clear image of how you will contribute and be a team player.
- Did I follow up with a personalized thank you letter and include unique details from the interview? Instead of sending a generic thank you, gain a competitive advantage by sharing information you learned during the interview in your thank you letter.
- Did I demonstrate real knowledge of the company and ask engaging questions? It’s important to research the company as well as the people involved in the interviewing process. When you ask questions, draw from information you would only have known by learning about the company and the people beforehand.
- Did I listen to the questions asked and respond accordingly? Although you might have prepared responses, it’s important to be flexible and answer the specific questions being asked.
- Did I come with hard copies of my resume and any additional documents requested?
- Is my social media page acceptable to a company?
- Did my attire match the company’s culture?
- Did I use everyone’s name (including the receptionist and everyone else I interacted with) and behave in a polite manner?
- Did I send a thank you email to everyone who interviewed me and briefly recap my qualifications and enthusiasm for the position?
Founder and CEO, OnlineDegree
You’re giving canned answers during the interview
When hiring within a startup company and any company, you will want to be extra particular that your potential employee will be a good fit for not only the role but also the company culture.
When the interview answers are too rehearsed, the interviewer cannot get a good sense of your personality. It’s highly likely that the interviewer has already seen your resume, so they know your skills and past experience.
An interview is the opportunity to see if the potential employee will be a good fit culturally.
Not being authentic
Being authentic is going to be the best strategy to impress an interviewer. This doesn’t mean being unprofessional—it means being able to handle questions with answers you believe in personally.
Guessing what the interviewer wants to hear
Again, having too canned of answers is going to hide all the interesting aspects of your character. When asked, “What’s your biggest strength?“ don’t just answer, “I work too hard,” because that’s what you think the interviewer wants you to say.
Instead, try actually being honest, then maybe add a few ways you’ve worked to combat that weakness. The only thing better than an employee who is going to be genuine is one that can self-reflect and act upon those reflections.
Cofounder & Managing Director, CFO On-Call
Responding with vague answers
When a hiring manager considers you for an interview, you need to believe that they liked what they saw and they want to learn more about you.
However, if you step in with vague answers, the hiring manager may assume that you lied on your resume. Therefore, you should be prepared to answer questions about your past experiences, the skills you have practiced, and the knowledge you have gained in each role.
You should be able to share answers that explain how your experiences were and what kind of environment you’ve worked in. With unsure answers, you’ll always come off as a liable candidate that the hiring manager will find hard to trust.
Messing up tricky questions
The interview phase is where recruiters try to see how you handle certain situations; some can be situational or observational. Tricky questions can be challenging to answer, and people often botch their responses.
Try to outline all the questions in past interviews that made your mind race, assemble them and give a detailed answer with respect to the new role you applied for.
Evading them or giving bogus answers makes it harder for you to get the nod. Do better research, rehearse your answers, and keep them concise to come off as a confident candidate.
Candidates who struggle throughout the interview process have a higher likelihood of not getting hired
Usually, this is a result of poor preparation and neglecting to conduct research in advance. One way to impress the hiring manager would be through demonstrating an impressive working knowledge of the company you’re applying for.
Candidates who show some level of investment and passion tend to fare better than those who don’t.
For example, you could refer to projects that the company has worked on in the past or even discuss the company’s most notable achievements. Feel free to explain how you might have done things differently and what you might have changed in order to achieve a better outcome.
This makes for a far more productive conversation throughout the interview and gives the hiring manager a crystal clear idea of how you might fit into the workplace.
Marketing Specialist, Jobscan
Your interview skills need to be polished
If it’s interviews that seem to be the roadblock to getting hired for you, consider the factors that might be causing you to fall short.
- Are you showing up on time and fully prepared?
- Are you dressing professionally and looking sharp (even in a remote setting)?
Being sloppy in either appearance or demeanor can make a poor first impression.
Lastly, practice interview questions out loud beforehand to calm your nerves and get you in the right mindset. Part of making a good impression is showing that you are a strong communicator.
In the days before an interview, practice sitting up straight, uncrossing your arms and keeping strong eye contact.
Senior Job Data Content Producer, Virtual Vocations
Your lack of confidence
Confidence, or a lack thereof, could be a contributing factor to rejection following a job interview. For our 2021 Career Confidence Survey, we polled professional adults to gauge whether career confidence influences job outlooks and decision-making.
Among 1,158 respondents, only 11% felt fully confident on a professional level. What’s more, when it comes to conducting a job search, 17% say they feel least confident when interviewing for a job or following up after an interview.
Diminished confidence related to job interviews was second only to cold calling or networking for job openings.
Co-Founder, Academia Labs LLC
They found that you are not a team player from your personality assessment
Most tasks in any company need teamwork; this means that an employee cannot do tasks completely alone. So when the psychometrician reports that one of your biggest weaknesses is that you are not a team player, it can be a very big red flag and may affect your chances of getting hired.
If you are not a team player, chances are, you will just clash with other members of the team.
This may result in office fights and drama, which will then lead to a toxic environment. Toxic environments can then be the cause of high employee turnover. Employers do not want this, and they want to prevent this at all costs.
So, not being a team player may lead you to not being hired by the company.
Career and Workplace Editor, Mantelligence
Rejection can be brutal for a lot of job seekers, especially in the job market recently, where the entire process usually happens remotely. Applicants worldwide are left confused.
- Why didn’t the company get back to me?
- Why didn’t I land the job?
- Did I do something wrong during the interview?
These are some of the questions that job seekers ask themselves.
Today, I will shed light on the three typical reasons you’re not getting hired after the preliminary job interviews.
They did not see your determination
When looking for a prospective employee, most HR specialists would tell you the importance of showing determination in the application process. And one of the telling signs of determination in a candidate is promptness.
Promptness is crucial when it comes to interviewing or even email correspondence.
While many HR personnel are lenient when it comes to interviewing schedules, make sure that you back up your tardiness with a valid reason when you are late. Otherwise, make sure that you show up on time and are prepared for your interview.
Your experiences do not match the job requirements
Some jobs need specific skills, knowledge, and expertise. Unless you’re applying for an entry-level position that does not require much, you should make sure to provide relevant, professional experiences during your interview.
For example, if the HR for a web development company asks you about your coding experience, you cannot tell them that you only had some experience in school. They are looking for professional expertise. And if you cannot provide that, you won’t get hired.
They chose a more qualified candidate
The sad reality is that there’s always someone who has better, more qualified experiences and credentials than you. Accepting this fact can save you from feeling down when you get rejected.
What you can do is to look for other opportunities where you are perfectly qualified.
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