The job-hunting process can be a roller coaster of highs and lows, and every rejection along the way can make you feel more and more insecure. But while there are situations where you didn’t get the job because of something you did (or didn’t) do or say, there are also times when it’s more about another candidate.
Here’s why you didn’t get the position, according to recruiters and experts.
You didn’t do your homework
You have the power to learn as much as possible about your potential employer before the interview day comes, and if you don’t you’re at a huge disadvantage. A Robert Half blog post makes it abundantly clear that you shouldn’t essentially give up an opportunity with an employer because you failed to do your research properly.
“You don’t want the reason you didn’t get the job to be because of something easily avoidable. Today, there’s no excuse for not being prepared for an interview. Start by reviewing the company website, and really dig into the content. Companies often provide profiles of their key executives, which you should read carefully. Look for the company’s press releases, too, where you may find information that doesn’t show up anywhere else,” Half writes.
The article continues, saying that you should know about the employers competitors, among other points.
You used too much jargon
Jargon can make you look like you’re trying way too hard at work, and enough ridiculous words could potentially send eyes rolling.
Another applicant stole your thunder
Sometimes, it’s not about you — it’s about how another candidate has won over the employer.
Ashley Watkins, NCRW, touches on the reason “the company is in love with another candidate” in a LinkedIn article, mentioning how this situation might play out.
“Many times candidates are left in limbo because the hiring team is heavily courting another candidate,” Watkins writes. “The company isn’t telling you where you stand in the application process one way or another because should this ‘dream candidate’ back out, they’ll be able to fall back on you.”
You’re better suited for another employer
There’s a large discrepancy between what you want and how the employer operates.
Ken Schmitt and Vicky Willenberg write about how the job isn’t “the right ‘fit’” in a LinkedIn post, saying that you want to be part of a “loosely structure culture” and more, but that ”our company has long been established as a traditional corporate work environment with a structured hierarchy and a typical 8-5 workday. Clearly, we are not the right ‘fit’ for you. It’s nothing personal, we just won’t get along.”
So instead of getting too hung up on the differences in the work culture you seek and the one the employer has, move on and look for positions at places that match your vision more.
You just didn’t mesh with the hiring manager
Sometimes you don’t get the job, even though you technically fit the bill.
Richard Moy writes about his time as a recruiter in an article for The Muse.
In the section about why “you weren’t the right fit for the manager,” he writes, “the unfortunate truth about getting rejected is that even when you match every single bullet point on a job description, there are things the hiring manager’s looking for that are difficult to describe in words.”
You weren’t on time
This is an obvious one: Whatever you do: Don’t. Be. Late. This is Strike One in terms of things that work against you before the interview has even started.
A HuffPost article features commentary from SpareFoot recruiter Katie Smith: “Being late is disrespectful and will gain you no points in terms of getting the job… This is an instant red flag to any hiring manager that you are not the most dependable candidate in the pool,” Smith told the publication.
Your materials contain errors
Again, this is also a no-brainer. How is an employer supposed to trust you with high-stakes projects and assignments if it’s clear that you struggle with spelling?
The same HuffPost article mentions that things like spelling mistakes and other issues in your cover letter and resume make you look “sloppy,” among other points.
It continues with advice from Kimberly Reed, managing partner and CEO of Reed Development Group. She told the publication that your cover letter and resume should be “clear, concise and results-focused.”
Many of these mistakes can be avoided, so steer clear of them so you’re in a better position to land the job you want.