You leave the interview thinking you have the job in the bag. You got along really well with the hiring manager and you have the perfect experience for the role. But then, you get the dreaded “I’m sorry, but we moved in a different direction” email. So, where did you go wrong?
With so many moving parts involved in hiring, you might never know why you didn’t get the job. Sometimes the reason could be as simple as bad timing, and other times, you may have made a minor mistake that cost you. Since it can be so easy to overlook these “small” things, certain job rejections can feel more puzzling than others.
The good news is that with a little self-reflection, these minor faux pas are easily avoidable! And in some cases, the reason you were passed over could be entirely out of your control. So, the next time you find out you didn’t get the job, don’t be too hard on yourself. Try to determine if one of the following factors cost you the job, use it as a learning experience, and keep on applying!
You didn’t follow the application instructions
If you want to make it to the next step in the hiring process, you need to follow every set of instructions provided for you. If you are asked to submit your resume in a certain file format, do it. If the company requires a writing sample for the position, don’t forget to send it in. While some application instructions may feel tedious, they are there for a reason. If you can’t follow a simple instruction, it might raise some red flags about your attention-to-detail—automatically disqualifying you from the hiring process.
Your online presence is less than professional
While social media can be a great platform for expressing your ideas and opinions, without the proper context, some status updates and photos can be misconstrued—working against you in the hiring process. If a quick Google search reveals that your online presence might be an issue for the company, this gives the hiring manager easy grounds for moving on with another candidate. INFOGRAPHIC: How To Build Your Online Brand
You left a poor first impression
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that first impressions mean a lot during the interview process. Although the actual interview might have gone well, little details you might have overlooked can come back to haunt you. For example, arriving to the interview late, dressing unprofessionally, or displaying unengaged body language are some minor faux pas that can take you out of the running.
You were unprepared
You should always be putting your best foot forward when entering an interview, regardless of what stage of the process you are in. As result, not doing some basic company research or taking the time to prep for some common interview questions can be an immediate deal breaker for the employer.
You were overly confident
It’s important to display confidence in every interview, but you have to walk a fine line between appearing confident and arrogant. This is especially important when the interview is going well. As you feel more comfortable with the hiring manager, it might be easy to start playing up all your awards and accomplishments. While you do need to sell yourself, being too cavalier about your skillset may give the impression that you are not a team player or already think the role is as good as yours.
You didn’t sell yourself
On the other hand, you might not have used your interview time strategically enough to sell yourself. Instead of simply rehashing your resume, the interview is your chance to give more context to your background and how it makes you the best fit for the role. At the same time, it’s important to let your personality shine through. Employers are not only evaluating your technical skillset, but whether you possess the traits essential for long-term success with the company.
You didn’t send a thank you note
Whether it was a first-round phone screen or the final interview, sending a thank you note is more than a best practice. It’s a move that conveys your respect for your interviewer’s time, demonstrates your interest in the role, and keeps you top of mind during the decision-making process. That being said, your thank you note (or lack thereof) can mean the difference between you and another candidate. Read also: 6 Do’s + Don’ts For Writing The Perfect Thank You Note
You just didn’t connect with the hiring manager
You can do or say all the right things during the interview process, but you will not receive an offer if you don’t connect with the hiring manager. If you didn’t get the job because of this, look at the silver lining! You want to work in an environment and with a team that can bring out your best qualities. If you didn’t connect with the hiring manager, chances are this wasn’t the best work setting for you.