10 Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job
Finding a job is hard. It requires a great deal of research, legwork, and preparation, and that’s before you even manage to land an interview. If you are fortunate enough to reach the interview process, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be in the final consideration for a position even if you possess all the qualifications. In fact, there are a number of reasons why you may not get a job that have nothing to do with your experience and skills.
Here Are 10 Reasons That Might Explain Why You Didn’t Get the Job:
1: You Fixated on What the Job Could Do for You
Prospective employers want to know what you can do for the job. They’re interested in how your skills and experience can help you carry out the position’s responsibilities more effectively than other candidates. How will you approach the work? How will you handle being part of a collaborative team? What value do you add to the company? What they don’t want to know is how you plan to use the job as a stepping stone to get somewhere else. Or what having the job will mean to you personally. While there’s nothing wrong with asking about development opportunities, keep the focus on the job you’re actually interviewing for, not the one you want to get in the future.
2: You Didn’t Research the Company or the Interviewers
Being unprepared and clueless never makes a good impression. If you walk into an interview not knowing what the company does, you’re already putting yourself at a serious disadvantage. You also don’t want to be in the embarrassing situation of asking the CEO of the company “What they do here” in the middle of an interview. While most interviewers will not expect you to be an expert on the company and its personnel, you should at least be familiar with the information that’s publicly available about the company. Reviewing the company website, reading about its executive team, and familiarizing yourself with its industry should be basic steps in preparing for any interview.
3: Your Appearance Wasn’t Appropriate
Many companies today are far more casual about dress than was common a generation ago. However, just because a company claims to have a “laid back” culture doesn’t mean you should show up in flip-flops, shorts, and a stained t-shirt. A job interview is the first opportunity to make an impression, and arriving there with a poor appearance communicates that you don’t care enough to put in the effort to present yourself appropriately. It also shows a lack of respect for the job. If you’re not going to bother to make a good impression, how much effort are you going to put into the work itself?
4: You Cursed
This may seem like an obvious one, but unleashing a string of profanities during a job interview doesn’t say very much about your professionalism. Remember that an interview is not a casual conversation between friends; it is a formal interaction about a business relationship. Even if the interviewer swears at some point, you should not take that as permission to do the same.
5: You Offered Opinions Where They Were Not Requested
So you don’t care for open office layouts or Apple products? That’s all well and good, but an interviewer probably doesn’t want to know how you feel about things that aren’t directly related to the job. Offering your opinion on every topic imaginable, from business strategy to politics, can give the impression that you’ll be confrontational and difficult to work with. While there are many instances where a company wants feedback from employees, there are also times when people are expected to do their work without complaining about why it needs to be done a particular way.
6: You Overshared Personal Information
Most interviewers will ask you to talk about yourself at some point to get an idea of your professional background and experience. While they already know the main points from your resume, this is an opportunity for you to fill in the gaps and provide additional context that might not be evident in your employment history. What the interviewer does NOT want to know about is your most recent relationship, your favorite vacation destinations, or how you like to have fun on the weekends. Again, this is a formal interview, not a casual conversation at the local bar. If the interviewer sees you don’t have clear boundaries, they will certainly start to think about how that could create HR headaches in the workplace. Unless your personal information is directly related to a professional issue, it probably doesn’t need to come up.
7: You Didn’t Stay on Point
Rambling on and on and on not only wastes the interviewer’s time, it also makes you seem like you don’t know what you’re talking about. If you can’t focus on one topic and instead branch off to talk about unrelated issues, the interviewer is bound to question how well you’ll be able to stay on task at work. Rambling is often interpreted as a sign of insecurity, so be sure to make your comments thorough enough to answer the question, but concise enough to keep the interview moving.
8: You Are Critical of Current or Past Employers
This is point that should seem obvious, but it’s striking how many candidates feel free to say terrible things about past employers. While there’s nothing wrong with expressing dissatisfaction with an old job, throwing them under the bus isn’t going to endear you to your potential new employer. Hoisting blame upon former coworkers falls into the same category, and it indicates to the interviewer that you’re unwilling to hold yourself accountable when things go wrong.
9: You Didn’t Follow Up Promptly
Interviews are often a multi-step process. After an initial screening, you may be asked to contact someone else to set up an appointment or complete a task of some kind. If you can’t be bothered to make the effort to follow up promptly, it doesn’t send a good message about your willingness to take responsibility and follow instructions. In many instances, employers are looking for reasons to whittle down a pool of candidates to a more manageable group of finalists. Failing to follow up in a timely fashion is a good excuse to eliminate you from consideration.
10: You Didn’t Ask Relevant Questions That Exemplified Your Interest
Interviewers want to identify candidates who are actually interested in the job. Engaged employees are more likely to be productive and remain in their position long enough to justify the cost of hiring and training them. You can demonstrate interest in a position by asking questions about it. While you should know the basics from your pre-interview research, asking about what a typical day looks like or seeking clarification about certain job roles can show the interviewer that you have a genuine interest in the position. Simply sitting through the interview without asking any questions about the job makes it seem like you’re just there for the sake of being there. Companies want people who are going to be engaged and interested in their work, not people who are just showing up to collect a paycheck.
Landing a new job is difficult enough in the best of circumstances. Don’t undermine your chances by doing things that make a bad impression with the interviewer or suggest that you’re not serious about the position. If you do your homework, respect the process, and put in the same effort you would put into the job itself, you’ll be well-positioned be in the final round of candidates.