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8 main reasons you didn’t get the job

Aug 16, 2021 by Monica Garcia

Getting a job rejection after an interview is an inevitable part of a job search journey. It’s never a pleasant experience, and you can easily feel frustrated and defeated, especially if the reasons why you weren’t able to secure the position aren’t clear. However, it’s important to remember that different factors can impact the hiring process. While some of them depend on you or how the interview went, others are difficult to predict or control. So if you’ve experienced a job rejection recently and didn't get the job you really wanted, here you have 8 possible reasons:

1. Your availability didn’t match

Companies usually need new talent as soon as possible. Although they keep in mind that candidates need some time to relocate or meet the resignation period established in their current job contract, it is frequent that they decide to go with that candidate that fits the profile and can start shortly. Moreover, if it’s not possible for them to be flexible and need their new colleague to start on a specific date, they expect candidates to respect this requirement. This means - if you are interested in a job position but aren’t sure if the company might be flexible or if you could start on the specified date, send your resumé and cover letter anyway, but remember about this aspect.

2. Your resumé is not tailored to the job - or your profile is not what they are really looking for 

Your resumé and cover letter are the first steps to getting an interview and are the first impression a recruiter has of you. If your CV is not well-structured or tailored to the role you are applying for - with those desired keywords, skills and abilities - you might not even get to the first step of the process. Creating a resumé and cover letter that help you stand out from other applicants (with a strong introduction and relevant information) is essential to get the recruiter or hiring manager’s attention. 

On the other hand, it might happen that your profile is not what the organisation is really looking for. And it's fine! You might have applied for a job that you are overqualified for. Or your hard skills don't match with what they really need. Don't overthink it.

3. You didn’t prepare enough for the interview

The preparation of the interview is as relevant as the interview itself. You need to prepare your speech regarding your experience and skills and also show proof that you know about the organisation.  In fact, many recruiters ask questions to test the candidates and to find out if they have taken the time to research and learn about the company and the job and if they are really interested in working there. 

*Tips: just doing some research about basic information such as who the CEO is, their goals, mission and values, their culture and what the role entails is enough to show your interest and impress the recruiter. 

4. Lack of cultural fit

In the same way that a website doesn't tell everything about a company, neither does your resumé. The cultural fit is considered essential for most companies, and there's only one big piece of advice here: Don't take this kind of rejection personally. If they don't think you are a good fit, they might be doing you a favour by not giving you the job (as they might not be the right fit for you either!)

Woman looking through the window and reading a newspaper

5. You were not responsive enough

Recruiters can feel when a candidate is excited or not for the role. As previously mentioned, a company wants to find a new colleague who is prepared for the job, fits into the culture and shows enthusiasm and passion about her/his work. Candidates conveying how excited and eager they are for the position have more chances to be considered in front of those who don’t engage or just give short answers on an interview.

In addition, following up after the job interview with a thank you email message is always a good practice to express your interest in the job and make a final statement about why you are THE candidate. 

6. The company decided to hire internally 

Getting a job can become even more challenging when internal candidates (employees already working there) are also interested in the position. When this happens, a recruiter might highly consider them for the role as the company knows their potential and has already invested in training and developing their skills. However, it's good to know that in this situation, many companies keep the resumes received for another opportunity, or they even pass them along within the organisation. 

7. Lack of references

References can be extremely useful for recruiters when they need one last big reason to convince them to hire a candidate. Lacking or not providing references can impact your eligibility for the role, especially if it’s a skilled position. To fix this, reach out to former or current colleagues or managers who would be willing to recommend you for the job or confirm your skills and abilities. If it’s an entry-level position, former professors or colleagues are also reliable sources. Asking the right people for a reference can significantly affect the quality of the recommendations and help you get hired. Just ensure that they are aware of the job you are applying to so that they can also tailor the recommendation to the position.  

8. Job closed - Someone better came along, or the company decided not to proceed

There are always things that are simply beyond our control. Although you have a strong CV and perform excellently at an interview, the competition is sometimes too strong, and someone better suddenly comes along. But before you start doubting your skills, remember: not being chosen doesn’t mean you are not good enough at what you do. The reality is that recruiters today have it even harder to decide which candidate is the best for the role, as online recruitment has made applying for jobs much more accessible for people. 

However, it might also be the case that the company put a temporary freeze on hiring or reconsider it due to different circumstances that directly impact the process: not enough budget, a global event (like the pandemic), or a complete restructure of team or department.

You didn’t get the job? Just move on! 

The way we handle a job rejection is just as important as our experience and skills on our CV. If you let it negatively impact your confidence and make you doubt your abilities it will affect your performance in future interviews. Stay positive and always try to learn from the experience!