When you’re looking for a job, every rejection might feel like a punch to the gut. If you don’t land a job you interviewed for, you’re probably wondering one thing more than anything else: why?
There’s no one answer to that question. Different circumstances will apply to different situations. However, our years of experience have shown us that some reasons are more common than others. So if you’re wondering what to do differently next time, here are five possible reasons for why you didn’t get the job.
You Made a Bad First Impression.
Maybe you weren’t dressed appropriately for the office environment. Maybe you had a hard time looking them in the eye when you introduced yourself. Maybe you showed up late—or, almost as bad, maybe you showed up way too early (signaling overeagerness and desperation). Maybe you weren’t as polite as you could have been to the receptionist.
If you make a bad first impression in any of these ways, you’re already starting from behind; then, the rest of your interview has to be exceptional to make up for it. Be punctual (5-10 minutes early is perfect), professional (appropriate attire, erring on the side of conservative), polite (to everyone you speak to), and confident (firm handshake and good eye contact). Focusing on your first impression will get your interview off to a good start.
You Made Excuses.
People who play themselves up to be the victim are not very attractive candidates. The most common ways people do this are:
- Making an excuse for showing up late
- Making excuses for leaving past jobs (the boss was a jerk, family emergency, health problems etc.)
- Making excuses for past mistakes/failures
Employers want to hire people that are capable of owning up to their mistakes and learning from them. Plus, they want people that focus on positives rather than jumping from one problem to the next.
You Were Forgettable.
Even if you do everything “right,” per se, you could still miss out on the opportunity if you fail to leave an impression. One of the best ways to be more memorable is to have some personal experiences ready to share. Stories will stick with interviewers much more than generic answers will. Have a story or two ready to go that highlight your qualities as an employee, and you’re less likely to be forgotten as soon as you step out the door.
You Fumbled the Post-Interview.
It’s important to follow-up after an interview. Send a quick email thanking them for their time and consideration, and offering to get them any additional information they need. This shows interest, courtesy, and responsibility.
On the flip side, you don’t want to cross the line into the territory of “annoying.” A single follow up email or thank you card will suffice. Don’t call every day until they make a decision. They know where to find you if they need you.
You Got Beat by Someone Else.
Sometimes, the harsh truth is this: you didn’t do anything wrong, but there was someone who was better. Maybe that person already had a contact at the company. Maybe they have experience on a specific project that was relevant to the company’s current clientele. Maybe their resume was more polished. Maybe they just “clicked” with the interviewer. Whatever the reason, sometimes, you just aren’t the best person for the job—and that’s okay.
Hopefully, these insights into why you might have missed out on a job will help you as you move forward with the interviewing process. As long as you’re confident, qualified, and professional, the right job is probably just around the corner.
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