“Why did I not get the job?” Have you ever been for an interview, or applied for a position that you felt fits you perfectly and still ended with a rejection letter in your inbox? I am quite sure that most people reading this article have been there at some point in their life. And I am certain that you spent a few days wondering what exactly went wrong, and what you could have done differently.
Rejection can come at two points during your job search. Firstly, it can come when you have applied for a position but are turned down even before the interview stage. Or even worse, you receive no reply at all. Or it can come after you have attended an interview. There are different reasons for each of these rejection types and we are going to discuss them in this article. I am also going to give you some tips to avoid these nasty rejections in the future.
I can’t figure out why I did not get the job!
As I mentioned we will be discussing each of the possible rejection points separately. It makes sense to start with pre-interview rejections. In other words, you have applied for a position but were not shortlisted for the interview process.
I think it is best to start here because these are the most common, and most job seekers will experience a few rejections at this stage of their job search.
Why did you not get an interview?
1) Your CV is badly put together.
I have said it a million times before. But I am going to say it again. Hiring managers, and to certain extent recruiters, only spend about 10 seconds skimming over your CV before deciding to read further or to discard your application.
You need to make sure that your CV grabs the readers’ attention and gives great insight into what you offer and what you are capable of achieving. If you are having problems designing your CV please check out these 3 CV design hacks to help you get started.
I personally suggest that you keep your CV short and sweet. Focus on the most important information that will get you noticed. Try to eliminate the unnecessary nonsense that does not apply to the vacancy you are applying for. Another great tip is to send a short (5-6 lines) cover note or introductory Email that highlights your skills.
2) Your skills do not match the job.
There are some job seekers out there who just send their CV out to each and every vacancy they come across, regardless of the skills and experience required. If you are guilty of this then you can not be surprised when you do not hear back from the company.
However, there are many other job seekers who are looking for better opportunities then what they currently have. I encourage this with all my heart, and believe that everyone should be looking for more responsibilities, better learning opportunities, and of course better pay.
The problem is that although you might feel you are ready to take on a bigger role, your skills and experience might not reflect this. The company could be wary of hiring a candidate that they know might need more training.
A simple solution to this is to try to upskill yourself with a short course. You can do this part-time while still employed at your original position. Another option is to write a compelling and motivating cover letter which explains exactly why you feel you will be able to handle the new role, and why you would be perfect for the vacancy.
3) Your salary expectations were too high.
Most companies will have a salary range for each position within the company. If you have come along and listed your salary expectation way out of the vacancies range then there is a good chance the hiring manager will pass over your application.
This is a difficult situation. If you genuinely need the higher salary to make ends meet then you probably need to search elsewhere. Understand that this probably why your application was turned down and keep your search focused on positions that are offering a better salary.
If you are willing to negotiate on your salary expectations then try to make this clear in your application. It might mean that you are able to secure an interview which will give you a better opportunity to negotiate with the company.
If you made it to the interview stage, but you were still turned down. These are the possible reasons why.
4) You did not highlight your achievements during the interview.
You do not need to downplay your achievements during an interview! Of course, you must remember to be confident and avoid being arrogant. But please sell yourself no matter what. Take time to reflect on each question asked, and try to equate this to a skill you possess.
As we said earlier, you want to keep your CV short and sweet. An interview is a perfect time to expand on your CV and discuss all the skills, experiences, and achievements that you did not mention on your CV.
5) You did not research the company properly.
Knowing about the company you are applying with is absolutely vital. Having some information about the company shows the interviewer that you are genuinely interested in the vacancy, and you can see yourself working at the company. Make sure that you read the mission and vision statements of the company. These are quite often displayed on the companies website.
I also suggest that you go further than just reading through the companies website though. You should learn about them from other sources such as news reports and LinkedIn profiles. Find out whatever you can and double-check your sources.
Remember you should be doing your research when preparing for an interview.
6) You were not the right fit for the company culture.
Every organisation has a different culture. Some companies are very specific about the personality type that they are looking for. They will have a candidate profile in place that they will consider when conducting interviews. And any candidates who do not match the profile will not be considered for the position.
For example, I knew a fruit packing company that also owned a bar in a little valley in Limpopo. The CEO of this company would insist that anyone interviewing for a senior management vacancy met the entire team “after the interview” at the pub. Little did the candidates know that this was actually a large part of the interview, and how you got on with the rest of the team, would actually make or break your chances of getting hired.
You can get an idea about the company culture during the interview. And if you think that this is the reason you were passed over for a job, well just move on. It may not seem like it at the time, but you will be happier in the long run. Working for a company where you do not fit in can be soul-destroying.
7) They just had a better option then you.
This is a tough pill to swallow. But the fact of the matter is that you are up against many other candidates. If you do not get the job offer it might simply be because the company interviewed a better candidate.
Do not take this personally. It could be that the other candidate was equal but had a slightly lower salary expectation.
If you feel that the interview went well and you were a good fit for the company but you still did not get the job offer. It might be a good idea to send a quick follow up E-Mail to the company. Thank them once again or the opportunity, ask for any constructive feedback on your interview and mention that you would love them to keep your CV on file in the event that another vacancy comes up in the future.
It is heartbreaking to be turned down. But the truth is that our egos are usually most affected by the rejection, leaving us asking, “why did I not get the job?” Remember to try and use the rejection as a learning opportunity to improve for the next time.
If you keep positive and motivated and do not give up you will eventually find the perfect position. Remember you check out my free CV templates and free cover letter templates to make sure you are submitting the best looking possible applications.
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