3 Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job

You’ve probably been working on your job search for a while. Whether or not you’ve scored some interviews, you haven’t been successful in getting the offer. Doubtless, you’ve wondered what went wrong, or how you could have done better.

Once in a while, if you make contact with a hiring manager or HR staffer to ask how you could have done better you’ll get an honest answer. If that happens, consider yourself fortunate!

The vast majority of the time, you’ll either not receive any kind of reply at all, or else you’ll get something so vague you likely won’t obtain any actionable information that you can actually utilize the next time around.

From the employer’s perspective, there are lots of things to consider when screening and interviewing candidates in order to determine who will go on to the next step in the hiring process and who will ultimately get the prized offer letter.

 

Here are some missteps you might have made that no one will tell you about.

Mistaking friendliness with friendship. Interviewers are trained to set a friendly conversational tone, and to show a degree of empathy. Partly, that’s just good manners, but it goes beyond. They understand that interviewees are instinctively nervous and guarded, and well-prepared for the standard questions they might get.

By making you feel comfortable, you are more likely to believe that your interviewer identifies with you, and that you are really on “the same team.” It’s your own fantasy that makes you assume you’ll be working together before too long.

When you enter this mindset you’ll likely confide things that may give more insight into your past or personality than you intend. Perhaps you’ll confide something negative about your former employer or boss, use some coarse language or, with your guard down, reveal something that can shed a negative light on your candidacy. And you’ll have shot yourself in the foot without even knowing it.

While it is important to create a real connection with your interviewer, it is just as important to remember that their sole purpose is to get as much information about you, and from you, as possible. Getting you to reveal more than you intend to is a real art form. Beware of this tactic and maintain your professional demeanor at all times throughout your interview process!

Mistaking “I can do that” with “I’m the best one to do that.” You might be enthralled by a particular job listing. “I’m tired of doing what I’ve been doing up till now. This job would really be exciting and I know I can do it,” you think.

In all likelihood, you probably can do the job. But with more than 100 applicants for a typical job these days, you can never know that you’ll be the best one for the job. It’s the job of the hiring authorities to sort that out.

When you assert in a cover letter something to the effect of, “I’m uniquely qualified to succeed at this job,” you are usurping the role of the hiring manager to make that judgment and you are claiming something that you can’t really know.

At best, your words become cliche, and at worst they deprive you the space to bettermake the case that you are in fact the best possible candidate. Don’t allow your assumptions to negate your real job of showing your value through your skills, results and accomplishments!

Mistaking what a question is all about. For example, it is a pretty sure bet that your interviewer has carefully read your resume prior to speaking to you. By this time, your resume has then done all you can ask of it.

Yet, during your conversation, you are asked about something that in your mind is clearly stated on the resume. Perhaps you are trying to be helpful, or maybe you’re upset and feel that the interviewer hasn’t bothered to really look at your document. Either way, if you refer the person to your resume rather than taking the ball and providing a clear and succinct answer, you make a big mistake.

Most likely the question isn’t really the question, but rather the interviewer is probing to see your communication skills when talking about something with which you should have intimate knowledge. Maybe you’ve already answered the question on the resume, but now you are being quizzed to see if you were exaggerating or claiming something in writing that you can’t back up with “off the cuff” answers.

Hiring managers generally don’t take kindly to being told, in effect, “I’ve already answered that on my resume.” Such statements can be seen as condescending and even insulting.

Remember, often questions are about more than the obvious. They are designed to test your knowledge, communication skills, achievements and more. Don’t offer snippy responses, or indicate how frustrated you might be. Because then you give ample grounds to dismiss your candidacy for a perceived poor personality or communication failure.

Of course these aren’t the only mistakes that job hunters make, but for you they can be a beginning of a period of self-reflection so that you can learn from the past to gain better results in the future.

Happy hunting!

Fertig, Arnie. “3 Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job.” US News. US News, 12 July 2016. Web. 19 July 2016.