8 Reasons You're Not Getting a Second Interview

Carly Naaktgeboren
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After a first-round interview, you may have thought everything went perfectly fine.  You wait and wait, but only hear crickets, and then you get the email stating that they are carrying on with second interviews or making offers and you’re not one of them.  So, why were you passed up for a second interview?

1. Were you late?  Were you running through the halls, waiting on the elevator, waiting for the bus, waiting, waiting, waiting? Of course, stuff happens.  You might have google-mapped three different possible routes and still been running behind.  Unfortunately, this shines an unflattering and unprofessional light on you.  You have to at least show you care enough to arrive on time, or better yet, slightly early.  There are plenty of cafes and parks you can hang out in if you have an excess of time, and that can calm your nerves and keep you from becoming too frazzled.

2. Speaking of professionalism, how did you dress?  Did you look put together? Did you wash your hair?  Did you dress in a way that said you knew anything about the company?  Do a little research to help you plan your outfit ahead of time so that you look professional and also like you could fit-in in the work environment.

3. Again, with research, did you do any?  It’s of the utmost importance to research EVERYTHING before your interview.  It shows you give a hoot about the job.  Have information on the company and on your interviewers.  Know what has been said about them in the media.  This can also help you prepare commentary on your own qualifications and how your experience fits in with this project or that report.  

4. Were you rambling like a fool?  Think about questions they’ll ask you.  RESEARCH questions they’ll ask you.  And know how to answer in a perfunctory way.  Don’t be so wordy that they can’t understand what you’re trying to relay to them.  

5. Did you show off your personality?  It’s always good to be professional, but your employers want to know who you are as a person as well.  They’ll be working with you day in and day out.  You’re allowed to smile and be charismatic, it might make them like you more as a human being, and thus, as a possible employee.

6. Did you ask questions?  Have questions prepared for the end of the interview ahead of time and think of some relating to what the interviewer has told you.  Ask them personalized questions as well, this is both flattering and shows you have been paying attention.

7. On a similar note, did you listen to them?  Were you attentive when they spoke and did you wait to give a thoughtful response?  Showing people you care suggests you will take your job seriously and also be a solid team player.

8. Did you send a follow-up thank you email?  Sending an email or note immediately after an interview shows you’re willing to go above and beyond and keeps you in the thoughts of employers.  Make sure you send a separate one to everyone who interviewed you so as to not create confusion or make anyone feel excluded.

And remember, it might not be you at all! They could have met someone they felt was a better fit for whatever reason just ten minutes after you left.  Don’t take it personally.  Prepare ahead of time, know you did your best, and then confidently continue on interviewing until you find the job for you.


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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Rich M thanks for your follow-up. So sorry about the job. This happens sometimes - especially when doing temp work. Could be that they found someone with more experience who was willing to do the work for less money. Someone that they could hire right away so that they didn't have to pay Staffworks their fee? It's just wrong that they didn't tell you why. But it sure does let you know that you don't want to work for them in the future. Also lets the recruiters know to be wary of additional jobs from them. Now all you have to do is get back to the job hunting and find that next great adventure! All the best.

  • Rich M.
    Rich M.

    Hi Nancy, I did learn some new things on the job. I thought I was going to be there after three months, I was wrong. Last Friday,the 13th, I got a call from Staffworks saying they, Infitec, decided to end my assignment. How's that for a kick in the pants. They didn't say why they ended it, just they ended it. No reason was given and I feel I should know why it happened. From the start, I felt I was upfront in asking if there was a quota they wanted and tell me if I was doing anything wrong. I was friendly to the other employees and didn't do or say anything out of line. I kind of think, because they had to make a new plate or two for the press I was using(I didn't break anything, the ink wasn't picking up on the plate and stamping on the part where it should be) because it was waring out. I also felt that I was doing the best I could in the job I was doing. After all, you can't rush a machine in going faster than it's suppose to go. In setting up the press, you have to adjust to print on the part where it's suppose to print and that takes a little bit of time. I did get it down to about fifteen minutes from start to putting pieces into production. So what was I to do? I was there on time, twenty minutes ahead and courteous to the other employees. Again, thank you for your support Nancy and I hope to be working real soon. Infitec did tell me, I was doing fine everyday and I took that as I wasn't doing anything wrong.

  • Sabena S.
    Sabena S.

    sustainable development

  • Hassan M.
    Hassan M.

    I sent 2 likes


    Useless article. Employers treat applicants like garbage. Why don't you ask these questions to employers?

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the great comments. @Lloyd L. if you truly feel that this is ageism or sexual discrimination, you might want to look into hiring an employment lawyer. Companies will continue to hire the cheapest person they can regardless of their ability to do the job. In a few weeks, that same posting will be listed because that person was fired. This is the same merry-go-round that has been happening - well, forever. What can you do? Keep applying. Try going in as a temp if you can and that way you can show your worth. @Sharon Ozel congrats on the interviews. We have folks who have been looking for a LONG time without even so much as the first interview. Maybe they will all call at the same time. Just keep at them until you either get called in for another interview or they let you know of their hiring decision. Some companies take a long time to make the decision. Just keep your positive attitude. @Marshall Posey - thanks for your comment. To you these things may not to be new but to a person going for a job for the first time, they are great! All the best to all of you.

  • Scott B.
    Scott B.

    Makes sense to me.


    There is nothing new to these reasons.....you are just rehashing things that everyone already knows.


    Thanks for these tips. I think I followed each tips well. I had a job interview today for the 20th time. I was told by the interviewer she wants to call me back for a second interview, because I have the experiences she is looking for. However, she had to interview others and discuss with the hiring team. I was told the same thing by the last interviewer and it has been two weeks, “Nothing.” I did reached out one week later, thanking the recruiter for the opportunity. I feel that one day all of these jobs will be calling me at the same time offering me a job.

  • Lloyd L.
    Lloyd L.

    So what if you do follow all what is recommended and still don't get the job. I have seen a a lot of Sexual discrimination and age discrimination. I apply for positions in the administrative side of medical and get passed over for college kids with no experience and are female, when I look in the offices all I see is female workers. I have called one company out on it and they claim the person had more experience. When the person is only 18, how can that even be possible?

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Rich M - thanks for the follow-up. Congrats on the new position! You will learn the job for sure. You worked hard enough to get it. If you work that hard on the job, you will certainly become permanent in 3 months. Good to know that age was not a factor! It's what we try to tell job seekers all of the time - don't get bogged down with age. Just keep your resume fresh and keep applying. All the best in this new adventure!

  • Rich M.
    Rich M.

    Hi Nancy, I did get a job. I started last Wednesday. I start at 7 am and end at 3:30 pm. The position is from Monday-Friday and I have to wait, I still hope to be there, 3 months before I get hired on permanently. I have a lot to learn and they are so patient and kind there. It took a long time and hopefully it'll pay off in the end. Now I just have to catch up on my bills and get them straightened around. So, in short, there is hope for us old timers(I'll be 60 next month) in landing a job. It just takes a little longer. Thanks again, Nancy for words of encouragement.

  • Antwi G.
    Antwi G.

    Am new in this job but I wont to greet you all my memberes think you all

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Noreen R. thanks for your comment. So sorry for your circumstances. Have you considered a remote position? Sounds like it might be your best bet. Especially as a graphic designer - remote sounds like your best choice. That or moving to another town!

  • Noreen R.
    Noreen R.

    @ Candy B. I live in a small college town and moved here for my ex and his job. I stayed home and took care of the kids and house. Didn't know he was having an affair with a student until after he was out of the house. Now almost 55, I have had phone interviews and in person interviews. It is very incestuous here, it is who you know and with graphic design, anyone with a computer and a few fonts thinks they are a designer. Also they will post jobs at the universities and the hospitals but already have someone in mind in house even if they don't have the experience.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Beverly Torgerson, RN thanks for your comment. Times may have changed a little bit but the "old school" is still the way to go. People seem to be very lax when it comes to job fairs. Not sure why because first impressions are lasting impressions. I wouldn't change what you are doing. Conservative dress with dress pants or a modest length skirt along with a nice top - minimal jewelry, light makeup and so on. Clean, neat and presentable. Whether a job fair or an in-person interview at the company, remember - you only get one chance to make a great first impression.

  • Beverly Torgerson, RN

    To continue, this line of business what a major medical company and was applying for an RN position. I guess I couldn’t believe what people thought was appropriate. And the people interviewing were recruiters. Has something changed??

  • Beverly Torgerson, RN

    My question is, has the dress code changed for interviews? I’m 43 and I guess I’m “old school” when it comes to dressing for one. Completely business, regardless the job or the stage of interview. I was recently at a job fair and had the opportunity to observe the other possible candidates that had come in. A few were in sandals, some looked liked they were heading into business-casual office, I saw too-short skirts, just, to me, not expressing their seriousness of the job. I saw one young gentleman, who was a teenager, looking for a starter job in a suit and tie (without a jacket). I was impressed by that. There were only a handful that wore a conservative dress with a blazer (business jacket) and conservative heels with light makeup and clean, put-together hair.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for all of the great comments. @Noreen R. I agree with @Candy B.'s suggestion that you look for a consulting position or you consider starting your own graphic design company - be your own boxx. @Candy B. thanks - great information and good to know that it can work. I, too, have been interviewed by younger folks and it is kind of comical to watch their attitudes when we meet in person. I keep waiting for them to ask me if I need help to get up from the chair or if they want to offer me a cane! Just have to try to keep your sense of humor about it and chalk it up to another interview under your belt. @Gerald H. thanks for that. Totally agree. It only takes a second to send an email thanking you for applying but they hired another candidate. That way you can cross that one off your list and move on instead of waiting around or trying to get in touch with them - which they truly dislike. @Richard Waugh - I truly hope that you are wrong. Many job seekers are 67 or older and need jobs just the same as their younger counterparts. All we can do is keep applying and keep following up. The odds are that sooner or later, we are going to land a great job! All the best.

  • Richard Waugh
    Richard Waugh

    There is no interview after age 67, or if you do get one, they politely thank you and you never hear from them again...

  • Gerald H.
    Gerald H.

    I love when they specifically tell you never to ghost a possible employer when they try to get back in touch with you about a position. But it seems to be fi e for a possible.employer to ghost you and never get back to you after an interview. It only takes a minute to craft an email stating that they went a different direction with the position. Just simple courtesy. But then again these younger HR people do not seem to have this talent.

  • CANDY B.
    CANDY B.

    I agree with Noreen R. After numerous in-person interviews, despite that I was more than qualified for the position and no money had been discussed, I never heard back. When I called to find out if the position had been filled, I was informed that another party had been chosen. Several of these companies had people I knew working there. They informed me that they had hired a fresh out of college recruit. Yes I did my due diligence and sent thank you notes; they even discussed benefits and I advised that they could save some money as I did not need them. There is very real and present age discrimination and fortunate for you, you have not experienced it - yet. Most of your middle managers and HR are newly promoted and young. I am not a threat or do I wish to take their job, but upon meeting, I could detect a level of discomfort in the interviewers demeanor. See, these are the people who are going to weed you out for the others that will have the final say. They are uncomfortable interviewing anyone older than 25 and I passed that area long ago. My suggestion to Noreen is start looking for consulting position - you interview over the phone and you are taken for your skills & experience, not your age. Generally you are interviewed over the phone and you never meet the interviewer. After 50, you need to reinvent yourself. That was 13 years ago for me and I have found this rewarding and lucrative.

  • Nohemi V.
    Nohemi V.

    Thanks. Very useful to me

  • Noreen R.
    Noreen R.
    1. Age Discrimination. Sometimes I didn't make it past HR. I would find out they hired someone with much less experience so they can pay them less. I am a graphic designer with over 25 years of experience. Very frustrating. After rejection after rejection and even making it to the in person interview and finding out they hired someone much younger and with less experience, it is very disheartening.
  • Kevin P.
    Kevin P.

    Thank you for the good advice.

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