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Why Didn’t I Get The Job? Here’s The Number 1 Reason:

September 7th, 2011 · 5 Comments

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why didn't I get the job?Well, it’s time to finish my “why” series (why #1 here) (why #2 here).

That leaves us with the big question: Why didn’t I get the job?

I mean, you thought the job interview went well. It went SO well! The employer seemed enthusiastic. You even heard through the grapevine that they’d probably hire you. And you were qualified! Oh, you were so qualified for this. This job was right up your alley!

So why didn’t you get the job?

In my 15 years working with clients on their job search, I’ve found there are plenty of likely reasons why you might not have gotten hired:

  • There was someone more qualified. You might even have been the best person they had interviewed so far, at the time of your interview. But then someone came along and blew you out of the water.
  • The employer changed what they were looking for over the course of the interviewing process. You might have been perfect for what they thought they wanted, but later on, they decided to go in a different direction.
  • You were mistaken. You thought the interview went well. You thought you were impressive. But perhaps you had this all wrong. You have to be honest with yourself in evaluating these things.
  • The job wasn’t really yours to win. They were just interviewing to say they had. Really, they had someone else in mind all along.

But you know, over the years, the number one reason… by far… that I’ve seen for why otherwise perfectly qualified people don’t get the job is simple:

They Just Didn’t Like You.

I think that when it comes to job search, interviews and hiring, a lot of people underestimate how much personal relationships come into play. Obviously, the hiring manager is trying to determine if you can do the job and do it well. But they’re also deciding on something a little more subtle, but no less profound: can this person work well with my existing team?

Even simpler than that, they have to decide: do I want to work with this person day in and day out.

So sometimes, it really is a matter of, they just weren’t that into you. And I bet if you could somehow get people to be honest about it… I bet way more than 50% of the time when someone seemingly perfect for the job doesn’t get hired, it comes down to a personality call.

So if they just didn’t like you, just didn’t think you’d fit, there’s really nothing you can do. And you can’t take it personally, really. I mean, who’s to say they’re wrong? Who’s to say you wouldn’t have been a bad fit? Who’s to say you wouldn’t have gotten along with them?

If you suspect you didn’t get the job because you just didn’t click personally, think of it like dating: there are other fish in the sea. And there are other jobs you are qualified for that will end up being a better personal fit.

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Tags: Ask Brian · Job Offers

  • Mits

    This is not what I wanted to hear, it’s pretty depressing hearing this I’ve been looking for work and attending interviews for the past 6 months. There must be a reason why I keep getting rejection slips. How does one fine out what he’s doing wrong at interview when companies don’t want to give feedback. 

  • Interviewgeeks

    This is tough to hear, but I try to remind people that there is an unknown quantity in a job interview that you can’t know about and they can’t tell you: Will you fit into the team/culture? If you don’t, you didn’t really want to work in that job. I know you need the job, but working with people who don’t “get” you is painful after the first couple weeks. 

  • EDSI

    It’s a hard pill to swallow when you don’t get a job you were sure you were perfect for… but it is good to remember that there are many reasons why this can happen. It’s just a sign that you haven’t yet found the job that is the right fit (but you will)!

  • Sexy_sonar

    One of the best articles I have read. I have been interviewing extensively
    For over two years and yet no offers. I just don’t think many white chemicals
    Companies want to acknowledge a black chemical engineer

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