10 Reasons You Didn't Get the Job

So you applied for the job, followed up, got an interview and went home feeling like the job was yours. Awesome! You didn't stress when you didn't hear back right away because duh, they probably are interviewing a bunch of other people. They even told you you'd hear back after a week. Then you did finally hear back, except you got the generic email thanking you for your time and encouraging you to apply for any other open positions. Or worse, they just completely ghosted you. No email telling you they chose another candidate, no explanation of why it wasn't going to work out. Awesome.

This has happened to all of us, so first off don't feel like a total loser. Months ago I had two interviews at two different organizations. One place never bothered to contact me again while the other offered me a job that very week. So sometimes it has nothing to do with you, but don't get too comfortable with that idea, cause you might've fucked up. Let's figure out what went wrong together.

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1. You couldn't connect your past work experience.

Having plenty of work experience is great, but what's the point if you cant relate your experiences and skills learned to the job your applying to now. Take time to find ways to connect your past work with the new job your applying for.


2. You weren't able to communicate effectively.

The people interviewing are going to judge you, on everything, especially the way you talk. Regardless if you're voice is squeaky like mine or weirdly deep, they are going to pay more attention to how often you pause and say words like umm, like or uhhh. While it may seem unfair, constantly needing to stop and say words like those makes you sound unprepared and unprofessional.


3. They wanted to hire someone internally all along.

Sorry guys, but most companies are required to hold interviews even if they plan to hire someone from within. If you had an amazing interview and met all the job qualification but still didn't get the job, chances are they already had someone in mind to begin with.

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4. You didn't click with the interviewer.

A few months ago I walked into an interview room and immediately knew I had zero chances at being hired for the job, and I hadn't even answered my first interview question yet! The reason? The woman I was interviewing with literally looked me up and down and then continued to have this weird frown/smirk on her face. I was toast. If you don't feel comfortable talking during your interview for at least one moment chances are you guys aren't hitting it off, and employers aren't looking to hire people who won't seamlessly blend into the office environment.

5. Your salary requirements were too high.

Companies have a rough estimate of what they're willing to pay potential candidates, which is why many ask for salary requirements upfront during the applications process. Pay attention to what other individuals with similar jobs and experiences are making and base your salary requirement off that. If you're lucky, Glassdoor will list past salaries from people who work at the company you're applying to making the hardest question to answer so much easier.

6. Someone else was willing to work for less.

Let's say they listed the job's salary between 40 and 50 thousand dollars a year, so to be competitive you listed your salary requirement as 45 thousand. You might have all the experience necessary and have had a great interview, but as soon as someone else with great experience walks in saying they are willing to do a job for thousands less, chances are they are going to prefer that person. While this not be the case everywhere, many nonprofits I've worked at are looking for people to fill positions with qualified applicants who also have low salary requirements.

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7. You didn't prepare for the interview.

Taking the time to come up with answers to the most popular interview questions isn't enough anymore, which is why it's important you take time to research the organization you're interviewing with. Taking thirty minutes to read their mission statement, how the company is organized and what ongoing projects they have is a great way to show the person interviewing you this is more than just another job you applied to.

8. Your references weren't supportive.

Everyone knows not to list people who don't have good things to say about you, right? I seriously hope so. On the other hand, don't list someone as a reference that can't have longer than a two minute conversation about you. Prepping your reference on not only the job you are applying to but also your past work experience will give them much more to say besides the generic, "oh yeah, she was great."


9. You weren't dressed appropriately.

Dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Just because you may be applying to a low ranking job doesn't mean you can show up to the interview in your old cardigan and a button up. Put on a damn blazer! At my current job I escort all of our potential new hires into the conference room where they'll be interviewed, and so many come dressed as if they forgot we're a professional office environment. Dress appropriately, and if you don't know how, that's what Pinterest is for.

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10. Your background check made you look bad.

Most people know what to expect when a background check is being run, but depending on the type of job you are applying for the employer might be more interested in one aspect over another. If you have anything that might come up in a background check it's important to be upfront about it. A good place to bring this up is in the interview, that way you have the opportunity to explain the situation and how it wouldn't affect your ability to do the job.


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Have you ever had a great interview and then just never heard back? What do you think wen't wrong or are you still wondering about some like I am?

3 comments

  1. These are all good tips! I've been huge on connecting previous work experience to anything they list in the job qualifications. I love doing that and recruiters love it too. However, I always list my salary requirements pretty high. Chances are that they will haggle you down anyways, so start strong and prove your worth. My current job said they could pay on 5K less than I asked for, I still went through with the interview and ended up getting hired at 1K less than I asked for (4K more than they said was their max!) If you can prove your worth and value to the company, they'll go for it rather than hire a less qualified candidate for less.

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    1. That is so amazing!!!! I've thankfully never had to convince someone to pay me more, luckily my current job was just awesome and upped what my offer even was. I definitely agree that if you have the experience you shouldn't settle for less than what you are already making or a few thousand more, otherwise why switch jobs?

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  2. I agree these are some common reasons why people generally don't get selected.You have shared an informative post which is helpful for job seekers especially freshers. Thanks so much for sharing!

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