10 Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job

10 Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job

Job searching is tough on your self-esteem. It’s hard to tell yourself that it’s nothing personal when employers appear to be rejecting you as a person (or at least, as a professional).

But the truth is that a lot of the time, it really isn’t about you. Hiring managers have goals, constraints, and considerations that you can’t see from your end of the interaction. Further, they’re human, too—sometimes, they miss out on great hires for reasons that have nothing to do with the candidates’ skills or abilities.

That said, there are things you can do to help ensure that your application gets the right kind of attention from hiring teams.

10 Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job That Have Nothing To Do With You

Here’s what you need to know about the factors that might keep you from getting hired.

Things You Can’t Control

Internal Hires

Most companies post job listings both externally and internally when they have an opening. However, there are many reasons why they might prefer to choose an internal candidate if one becomes available. For one thing, they’re a known quantity;

Bad Communication

A typical hiring process involves multiple people, departments, and decision-makers—and often, these entities are not communicating well with one another. It’s not uncommon for a recruiter to promise something that a hiring manager knows nothing about, or vice versa. Sometimes, these mix-ups extend to entire job reqs, which is why you might see job openings disappear even if they’re unfilled.

Changes in Priorities

Layoffs, reorganizations, changes in management—all these factors can affect budgets and hiring decisions. Sometimes, the hiring manager is the last to know about them.

Financial Woes

Whether it’s a global recession, an industry downturn, or an isolated example of one employer hitting a rough patch, money troubles frequently mean hiring freezes. You obviously can’t affect the economy or an individual company’s financial fortunes.

The Hiring Manager Doesn’t Recognize a Good Thing (You)

Maybe you had a disconnect with the hiring manager during the interview. Perhaps they’re looking for a different skill set, work history, or approach. Or maybe they’re biased against you based on irrelevant factors that are way beyond your control. Recognize that even if it’s about you, it’s probably not about you. It’s their loss.

Things You Can Change

Failing to Use Your Network

At least a third of new hires come through employee referrals, according to SHRM. This makes sense, as data shows that employees who come via referral are more likely to be a good fit and stay at the organization than those who don’t. It’s worth looking at LinkedIn the next time you target a job opportunity. You might be surprised to see how many contacts you have in the company.

Sending the Same Resume and Cover Letter to Every Job

Employers don’t want to hire just any qualified applicant. They want candidates who really want to work for their organization and in their open roles. Customizing your resume and cover letter ensures that your enthusiasm shows through.

Even more importantly, it ensures that your application makes it through the applicant tracking system (ATS), which sorts resumes for consideration. Make sure your resume and cover letter contain the keywords from the job description in the listing to maximize your chances of getting your information in front of the hiring team.

Spamming Employers With Applications to Multiple Roles

One way to structure your job search is to start by targeting the employers you’d like to work for. Once you have this list, you can narrow your search by focusing on these companies’ roles.

However, resist the urge to apply to every opportunity you see on their corporate job site. You’ll look less than focused and maybe even desperate—not a good place to start a potential salary negotiation, even if you hear from the employer.

Not Following Up After

Your parents were right: it’s important to say thank you, and as quickly and authentically as possible. After a job interview, send a thank-you email within 24 hours. Include specifics about your enthusiasm for the role and why you feel that you would be an asset to the organization. You may also decide to include any questions you didn’t get a chance to ask during the job interview.

After you send your thank-you note, you can also follow up once more to gauge their interest. If the hiring team gave you a timeline during the interview, wait until this period has elapsed before sending your note. Otherwise, wait at least a week.

Don’t push it beyond that. Employers want to hire candidates who are passionate about the work, but they don’t like to be hounded.

Falling Into a Self-Blame Spiral

It’s easy to feel down on yourself while you’re struggling through a lengthy job search. But remember that there are many issues at play here beyond your profile as a candidate. Be responsive to feedback from hiring managers or recruiters, but be sure to give yourself grace, as 

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  • July 4, 2023