You brushed your teeth. You combed your hair. You answered every question with confidence and flair. You even threw out a few zingers of your own. By all accounts, you knocked it out of the park, and it’s only a matter of time before you hear the job is yours.
But when the call finally comes, there’s no mention of a start date. There’s no negotiation over pay. There’s just the words, “We’ve decided to go another way.”
In the hiring process, the reasons why someone doesn’t land the job falls on the shoulders of one of two parties.
It’s Not You, It’s Us
Not getting the job doesn’t necessarily mean you did something wrong. You could’ve nailed the interview, even ending up as the number-one choice on their list, and still walk away without an offer.
Here are a few reasons why a potential employer can’t bring you on:
Timing is everything in business, and occasions do arise when a company realizes that it no longer has the funds for a role. Sometimes, it’s the result of a change in the company’s financial situation. Other times, it’s due to not getting the budget approved prior to posting the role.Whatever the reason, finances can tie the hands of an employer, and it happens more often than you think. So, don’t get it in your head that you should’ve asked for less. If the money isn’t there, it’s just not there.
Going with an internal candidate is probably one of the most common reasons people lose out on a job, especially when an employee is deserving of a promotion. And let’s not forget, it’s often more cost-effective to train inside talent.There’s also something to be said for the institutional knowledge that person brings to the role — not to mention established relationships with other company members can make for a much more seamless transition.
Reclassifying the position.
A change in duties, responsibilities, or requirements could affect the job you were originally brought in for. And what was once an ideal position for you may no longer be the case. In fact, they could end up scrapping the role altogether.
Implementing a hiring freeze.
It isn’t uncommon for companies to go through a hiring freeze at a moment’s notice. When someone exits a position — particularly someone in the C-suite, for example — a company may decide to hold off on hiring any new talent until that seat is filled.
Exiting of the hiring manager.
The person who’s handling the interviews could be in the middle of his or her own job search. If that person ups and leaves, you could fall out of the running for no other reason than the left hand no longer knows what the right hand is doing.
It’s Not Us, It’s You
Even when someone is a perfect fit for the job, there are things a candidate can do to sabotage his or her chances. Most of them happen during the interview. The following are just a few examples of how you may be getting in your own way:
Showing up late.
You only have one chance to make a good first impression, and arriving late isn’t the way to do it. No matter the excuse, it gives the impression that you’re not good at keeping track of time. Who’s to say you won’t do the same once hired?Showing up late is also an indication of your preparedness. The hiring manager may question whether he or she can trust you to get your work done in a timely manner. Do everything in your power to show up on time — if not early.
You obviously want to ask questions during the interview, but your first question should never be, “So…what do y’all do here?” The interviewer expects you to know a few basic facts. Research the company, and then ask informed questions during the interview. It shows interest in the job.And please don’t do your research in the lobby while you wait. The interview starts as soon as you walk in the door. Like arriving late, fiddling with your phone could give people a bad first impression. Can they trust you not to do the same thing during the workday?
Veiling strengths as weaknesses.
You’re not fooling anyone (or doing yourself any favors) by saying, “I work too hard.” Or, worse yet, “I don’t have any weaknesses.” You may need the job, but that employer just wants to figure out if you’re a good fit for the position and the organization.Plus, you could turn off the interviewer right then and there. Everyone has at least one weakness, so take an honest look at yourself. Saying, “I’m too critical of myself” or “I’m unfamiliar with your software” are much better options.
Taking jabs at past employers.
There may be no love lost between you and a past employer, but an interview isn’t the right time to talk about it. You’ll come off as not only unprofessional but petty — a big turnoff on both accounts.Besides that, how well you got along with a past employer is a good indication of how well you’ll get along with this new one. And with the world getting smaller by the day, you never know who knows who. You could be badmouthing someone connected to your interviewer.
Salary is important, but there’s a time and a place for its discussion during the interview process. Leave it to the interviewer to bring it up. Broaching the topic yourself can make it appear that money is the reason you applied for the job.When the talk does come up, make sure you prepared an answer. Feel free to give a range, and make sure that the range is consistent with the listed salary or the average pay for someone in a similar position.
It’s never easy to lose out on an opportunity. It’s even doubly true when that opportunity is the job of your dreams. Just remind yourself that there’s another opportunity around the corner, and then do everything possible to prepare.