If You Didn't Get Hired, This Could be Why

John Krautzel
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As a job seeker, you recognize there could be many reasons why a hiring decision didn't work out in your favor. Perhaps someone was more qualified than you, had better soft skills, presented himself better in the job interview or clicked with the interviewers in a more substantial way. Liz Ryan, an HR expert writing for Forbes, has some thoughts as to why she wouldn't hire you.

Ryan points out that hiring decisions often come down to the judgment and perspective of those interviewing you. Even when you ask later for some feedback as to what you can improve, the answer may not be that simple. Your interviewers may not even have the time to return the feedback. However, there are some things to watch out for and avoid in your behavior while trying to wow the people in front of you.

1. Memorized Answers

Memorized answers are great, but if every answer you give to interviewers sounds rehearsed, the hiring decision may not go your way because your interviewers will recognize canned answers. It's fine to think about your responses and be spontaneous.

2. Lack of Emotions

You're not a robot, nor do your interviewers expect you to be. In fact, people love passionate hires who have an emotional connection to the position. That doesn't mean baring your soul during your face time, but a hiring decision might come down to your emotional intelligence.

3. Failure to Ask Questions

Interviews are conversations with your future employer, and they are not an interrogation room where you answer as many questions as possible. Interviewers expect you to ask questions because the questions you ask reveal aspects of your personality and how well you truly know the company and its culture. Don't expect a favorable hiring decision if you do not ask any questions or if you ask mundane questions.

4. No Problem-Solving Skills

Your job interview is a great time to showcase your problem-solving skills. If you can't solve a hypothetical problem presented to you, the future employer might not think too favorably because you'll need to solve problems on a daily basis while on the job. Put some thought behind your judgment before answering questions about how to solve unique problems.

5. Not Backing Up Your Credentials

Good references, awards, degrees and accolades are great. However, an employer wants to know what you can do in the present as opposed to what you've done in the past. An interview roots out your soft skills, while your resume shows your qualifications. Your resume and the information on it is what landed you the interview in the first place. Backing up your credentials with the right interpersonal skills, intelligence and soft skills is what the interview entails.

There are many reasons behind a company's hiring decision and why you may not land a job. Having sharp recall skills and witty answers is a good start. However, a company hires people for each position rather than biochemical robots who can memorize facts, responses and names.

Photo courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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  • Isobel Morgenstern
    Isobel Morgenstern

    Although I'm employed I am looking for positions in a particular market. It is tough these days (aside from the 50+ issue),the entire process has become a job just to get a job INTERVIEW! All the steps: apply online, if you hear back (use their keywords in your resume to get responded to btw), then there's the phone call from the recruiter to set up the phone interview, the phone interview which is usually a S.T.A.R formula now used by most HR (I always write out my answers based on that knowing pretty much what I"ll be asked), then there's a follow up personality profile AND THEN if you've gotten through all that THE ACTUAL INTERVIEW!!! I just went on one, thinking I was very prepared, based on all the above, had an Exec Director in person with a Regional Manager conferenced in....I abided by all the suggestions in this article and all I've learned, asked questions (that I had prepared and typed out), was expressive (not robotic) and gave examples behind all questions re: past successes, etc. I'm a proven salesperson with over $100 million in sales at each position due to my above and beyond approach. End result: they told me I was "too creative", that I "talked too much" because I backed up my claims to have x,y,z proven skills AND that I didn't ask enough questions! (asked 8 substantive ones)...What can I say, sometimes you can do it all "right" but can't control the people you're interviewing with. The Reg Mgr on the conference call asked me the same question 3x!! believe she was doing something else while on call and barely listened.

  • Craig A.
    Craig A.

    Amen Glenn K!!!

  • Craig A.
    Craig A.

    continued... Once you find a position or company for whom you'd like to work, check LinkedIn and request connections with what would be your supervisor there. If you're fortunate enough to get a hit, explain your situation in a follow up message, and politely ask if they might keep you in mind and/or pass along a copy of your resume if one of their colleagues has an opening. I'd also recommend getting a professional resume update. Yes, it'll cost you a couple hundred bucks, but after meeting with the writer, they'll likely be able to put your experience and acumen in a modern and more appealing format - one that has more of the "buzz words" on which ATS might be filtering. Good Luck!

  • Glenn K.
    Glenn K.

    If you're over 55 you're toast unless you know the boss or can bribe someone.

  • Craig A.
    Craig A.

    No question that almost any transition in today's market requires at least an indirect connection. Job boards are all but useless in my opinion. About the only thing they're good for is a potential lead (if the posting isn't already closed). If you're even fortunate enough to get an acknowledgement email, chances are very high that you'll get excluded by the ATS that virtually all HR departments use.


    Congrats, Alan M, on the offer. What a process!

  • Kimberly B.
    Kimberly B.

    I am currently in a position I do not like. I took the job to get away from negative environment in previous role. I had a gut feeling to not take the job but I did and now I am stuck. I really want a position in Treasury and banking. That is where my passion is. Does anyone know how I should proceed? Thanks!

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the great comments. Congrats @Alan M. and @Holly G for obtaining employment! @Raymond A. keep trying. Are you meeting people - making contacts? That might be a good way for you to get a foot in the door. What about temp work? @Jason Lewis you are right that sometimes it's not what you know but who you know. But that's not always the case. Keep applying and keep checking out the company sites when you apply. You may be surprised to find a former co-worker or friend at the company who can help you get in for an interview. @Roger F. and @Michael Gallagher we certainly were not trying to be insulting - just trying to assist. There are more reasons why a person doesn't get hired than the ones above. That is true. It could be age or it could be that the resume didn't make it through the ATS. All we can do is keep applying. @Steven L. your status should NEVER come up in an interview. If asked if you are single or married, simply state that your status has nothing to do with how you perform on the job and drop it at that. The question is illegal. Maybe they threw that question in there just to see how you would react? There truly are many reasons why we don't get hired. It would be great if companies would respond and let us know why - like they did 10+ years ago. Sadly those days are over. Today a computer program (ATS) determines if our resume/cover letter fit the bill before either discarding it or sending it on. Make sure that your resume and cover letter are in tune with the job posting before you send it. That gives you more of a chance to get an interview and then it's up to you to sell yourself! All the best.

  • Steven L.
    Steven L.

    I have been looked down upon while working at a job when they found out I was Single with no kids. If that comes up in an interview, then I am not sure how I would respond. That could very well play into someone not getting a job.

  • Michael Gallagher
    Michael Gallagher

    I have to agree with Roger,people can be rejected because of their ages too! their appearances,job history,maybe even their race also even though it can seem be illigal!

  • ROGER F.
    ROGER F.

    This article is almost insulting. There are so many more reasons why a person doesn't get hired that are far more common than the reasons discussed in this article.

  • Teresa R.
    Teresa R.

    Thank you great advice.

  • Raymond A.
    Raymond A.

    Thank you so much for this article. I have been searching for a job since February 2016 after relocating due to a family emergency. Jobs seem to be limited here and there are jobs where at least 50 people apply for each one. I've tried asking for feedback from my interviews, but I can't ever get a call back either way. It almost feels like I'm trapped in a void.

  • Jason Lewis
    Jason Lewis

    The biggest hurdle that I have found in the hiring process for me has been connections to others. The past three positions held have been with the help of knowing someone who knows someone. Anytime that link is missing, the chances of landing the job drop significantly.

  • Holly G.
    Holly G.

    Hey Alan M Congrats to you very much so! I know the feeling...:) I'm there now after 10 months. Everything happens for a reason so they say but it's getting really difficult. Good luck in your new job and remember...don't work too hard! Life is worth living. ;)

  • Alan M.
    Alan M.

    Having just landed a job offer yesterday, which I accepted, and being out of work for 1.5 years from the oil and gas industry, I can vouch for this article. It's true, every word. Thank goodness I'm going back to work. It's been a long, arduous journey, but to those out there still looking: have faith and do not give up - ever! Your job is out there!

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Colleen S thanks for your comment. It must be strange to be back into the job seeker's world again after 9 years out of it. Many things have changed. Take a day or two and read up on some of the changes either through the articles we have posted here or on the Internet. Today, most companies use applicant tracking software (ATS) wherein your resume goes through a computer program before it reaches the hiring manager or HR. If you don't make it through that - game over. So it would be worth your while to just take a few days and get yourself up to speed before you start sending out those resumes. All the best.

  • Colleen S.
    Colleen S.

    Thanks for the refresher. Have been working for the same company for 9 years. Now it has been closed. Strange being back on the job hunt.

  • Mercury E.
    Mercury E.

    I saw that and I was applaude at the statement keeping into consideration that you can do some thing about before hand.

  • saroj u.
    saroj u.

    yes, you are absolutely right and fully satisfied with your answer.

  • delann c.
    delann c.

    Just know that (in Indiana) if you work nonprofit there will be no unemployment benefits if you ever lose your job. I found out the hard way.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for your comments. @Kathy H it sounds like you have worked the gamut of positions and would be valuable to a non-profit. Have you tried finding a position with a non-profit organization? The pay would be low but you could probably work the hours that you need. Check around your local area - ask around for such positions. @Nancy Taylor -I certainly don't understand why more companies don't get on board with remote work. All you can do is keep searching. I believe that employers still have the "butts in the seat" mentality. Not that they want to be controlling but they want to know that the work that they are paying for is being done. Keep looking!

  • Nancy Taylor
    Nancy Taylor

    I'm a slightly disabled senior who needs part-time remote work to supplement my income. I'm a copyeditor / proofreader and love my work. My experience is excellent (20 years with a large multinational company), but my skills are going to waste because prospective employers won't consider remote workers. They don't recognize how valuable such people are -- no benefits or overtime to pay, no facilities costs. I work on an as-needed basis, and nights and weekends are fine in moderation. Sometimes it seems as though the employers want to be controlling and aren't comfortable using off-site workers.

  • Kathy H.
    Kathy H.

    I am a good csr with great problem solving skills. I am bi-lingual in spanish. I have tried. I have tried many different jobs as a surveyors aide to telemarketingcold calls dispatcing auto accessories human resources payroll for over 500 employees training front office staff hiring n firing to selling shoes n working the visitor center in las vegas. My problem is im disabled n can only work so many hrs per month n receive only a specific amt of wages earned without having my disability paycheck retracted

  • Mario C.
    Mario C.

    THIS IS AMAZING, all of these recommendation are very important to us because you keep in mine some topics witch you never image it could happen, I mean its good to know How you will be in front of someone Who has tranquility versus a bunch of nerves you have, Thank you

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