Job searching can be a stressful and frustrating process, am I right?
You apply for jobs, get through for an interview, get your hopes up and then get ghosted or receive a rejection email and just like that you are back to square one.
But rejection is unfortunately an inevitable part of job searching. The reality is that there might be many rejections before you land your dream job or any job as a matter of fact. Often, it might not be clear why you were not retained for that opportunity even if you felt that the interview went well. Sometimes, it might be for reasons that were not in your control such as the employer decided not to hire due to budget cuts, the job was given to someone inside the company, or they already had someone targeted for the job and the interview was just a formality. But in other times the reasons could be under your control and could have done something differently that would have had a more positive outcome.
So here are 5 possible reasons why you didn’t get the job:
1. You were over OR under qualified for the position.
It is true that you don’t need to have a 100% of the skills and qualification listed on the job application to apply for the position or that you could have done the job really well even if you have more experience than required. For the employer, hiring someone with not enough or too many qualifications can be too big of a gamble for them. Remember that the hiring manager or recruiter is looking for someone that will thrive in that position and if you can’t keep up with the workload or the job is too easy, you might lack motivation to perform well.
When applying for a position, we suggest you meet at least 80-90% of the skills and qualifications required and to be ready to demonstrate the 10-20% missing could be easily acquired through experience and continuous learning. If you are overqualified for the job but would like to apply because it seems like a very interesting job for you, make sure to acknowledge it in your cover letter and explain why you are applying for that position.
2. You focused on what they can do for you and not the other way around.
When an opportunity present itself of meeting the hiring manager or a recruiter for an interview, don’t mess it up by only talking about how the job would benefit you. Instead, focus on how you could help THEM. This is why they are hiring. They are looking for someone that will help them grow and thrive as a company. They want to know what they will gain by hiring you instead of another potential candidate. When you answer their questions, make sure your answers help them confirm that you would be an asset for the team.
3. You were unprepared.
This is a huge reason why candidates often get rejected for the position: they were not well prepared for the interview. In fact, statistics from Twin employment & training suggest that 47% of interviewers won’t offer the job to a candidates due to lack of preparation and knowledge about the company. So heads-up, there is considerable work to do before you actually step in that interview.
First you need to do your research. Go online to find information about the company: what is their mission, their values, how are they involved in the community and see how it relates to what you are looking for. Review their LinkedIn profile, social media pages to learn as much as possible about what they do. Talk to people around you or someone that work for the company so that all your questions are answered.
Then, you need to prepare for the interview itself. This involves learning about the type of interviews, looking for the most asked questions and how to answer them, and how to answer behavioral questions. We also suggest practicing your answers out loud in front of a mirror or by recording yourself on your computer You will feel confident and ready (but careful not to be overly rehearsed) when you get to the real interview.
4. Your non-verbal cues were off.
Your non-verbal cues often speak louder than your words. It starts with your handshake (well…pre-pandemic) to the way you smile, you are dressed, you sit, and you make eye contact (in person or via Zoom). If you say that you are an enthusiastic and fun to be around person, but your non-verbal gestures suggest differently, it will send mix messages to your interviewer and what you say won’t matter as much.
Be mindful of what your non-verbal is saying. To help with this, practice with a friend and ask them to share their impression.
5. You didn’t put your strengths on display.
It is not a second nature for everyone to sell ourselves during an interview. It can feel like you are bragging, and it can make you feel uncomfortable. However, remember that it is your chance to shine and your opportunity to show what you can do. The key here is to really get comfortable talking about yourself in a way that focuses on what the employer is looking for Instead of talking about how good you are at maintaining your vegetable garden when you are applying for a job in finance, review the job description and highlight the skills and strengths they have listed as important for the position. Then look at your resume to see where those skills and strengths apply to you and practice your talking points.
Have you recognized yourself in any of these reasons?
Evaluate where you stand on each possible reason and see what changes you could make before your next interview. Those changes might pave the way to land your next dream job.