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I Did Everything Right. Why Didn’t I Get The Job?

Note: This article is the second installment of a two-part series on why you may not be getting a call back at various stages of the job searching process. You can find part one, “Why Your Resume May Have Fallen into the ‘Black Hole,’” here.

With the plethora of job search tips and advice out there, most job seekers have everything they need to prepare themselves for interviews and the hiring process. From crafting a stand-out resume to acing tricky interview questions, candidates are more in-the-know regarding best practices than they ever were. And that’s good—right?

For many job seekers, the answer could be bittersweet. You may have access to more helpful information now, but that means your competitors for that dream job do as well. The vast amount of information out there also makes the use of cliché resume terms and interview answers a huge disadvantage, creating more demand for unique and innovative approaches to the job search process.

However, say you feel you managed to nail all of these preliminary steps, yet never get an offer or even a follow-up call. You put together a stellar resume, locked down a day for an interview, and showed up on time. Your conversation with the interviewer seemed to flow well, and you left feeling confident. Why, then, would you be passed over for the position?

You may have all the technical skills and job search prowess typically required to secure a great role, but soft skills and cultural fit are becoming more important to employers than ever. In fact, 80% employers surveyed for our 2015 Regional Hiring Outlook labeled personality fit as either “critical” or “very important.” So if you’re getting interviews but are consistently being passed on for job after job, it may be time to consider your approach and professional demeanor.

For example, during the interview process, were you…

Overly confident or arrogant? Employers aren’t likely to feel that someone who possesses these traits will be a good fit, especially in a team-oriented or leadership role. If you’re answering “where do you see yourself in five years?” with “in your position,” for example, you could be coming off as too aggressive and making the interviewer uncomfortable. It’s possible you could be doing this unintentionally, while trying to express confidence in your abilities, which is always a great touch in an interview—however, just be sure you aren’t taking it too far and overstepping boundaries.

A bit desperate? It’s important to express excitement for the job you’re interviewing for, but there’s a fine line between passionate and desperate. A passionate job seeker expresses their excitement for the position and the company’s values and mission. A desperate candidate expresses an absolute need for the job and an intensity that can make the interviewer uncomfortable.

Too casual/too formal? “Dress to impress” is a great piece of advice, but it’s one that can be taken too far. While dressing professionally is a must for any job interview, professional doesn’t have to mean business professional—just as casual doesn’t necessarily translate to a t-shirt and jeans. The best thing a candidate can do is dress in a neat, respectful manner that mirrors the company’s culture. If you’re unsure of how to dress for an interview, research the company thoroughly (which you should be doing prior to an interview, anyway) and take a look at Glassdoor.com to see what former employees say about the work environment. Over-dressing can be as damaging to your image as under-dressing in many cases, and the importance of your image in an interview cannot be understated.

Not showing enough interest in company culture? When an interviewer asks if you have any questions, that’s a great time to gather more information about the company’s culture and whether or not you’d be a good fit with them. While personality fit is becoming more important to employers, finding a company that you mesh well with is equally as important to you and your career, and many hiring managers want to see you take that into consideration by asking the right questions.

If you answered yes to any of these, you could have the answer as to why your interviews aren’t proving fruitful. If not, you may want to look out for any of these indicators in your next interview, in case you’re giving off a vibe that you don’t intend.

However, if you’re certain you aren’t making any of these mistakes, keep your chin up! The job search can often be a numbers game, and it may be that you just haven’t happened upon the right fit yet. To keep your spirits high and make sure you’re heading in the right direction, be sure you’re taking away these 5 key things from every interview in the future.

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