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10 Reasons That You Didn’t Land the Job

Updated on September 5, 2012

So you submitted your resume and they called you in for the in-person interview. You thought that it went great, but you never got the call back with the job offer. The interviewing process is something to take very seriously; it is the employer’s most important way to evaluate you as a potential employee. Here are 10 reasons that you didn’t get that job (in no particular order):

1. You were late to the interview – First impressions are everything and being late to the interview is not going to look good to the hiring manager or HR. You are interviewing with important people in the company and you don’t want to waste their time. Take the time to look up directions beforehand and make sure that you know where you are going. Give yourself a buffer of 15-30 minutes in case you encounter traffic or other unseen circumstances. Having to sit in your car for a few minutes because you are early is so much better than having to apologize to everyone for being late.

2. You were not properly dressed for the interview – Again, this is about first impressions; your appearance to the hiring manager or HR will say a lot about how much you care about the job you are interviewing for. Ultimately, it is your abilities and qualifications that will get you the position, but looking your best may just make the difference between you and another candidate equally qualified. Business interview attire consists of a suit (black, grey or navy for women and dark grey or navy for men), long sleeve shirt or blouse, limited jewelry, conservative shoes, tie and belt for men, and a portfolio or briefcase to keep copies of your resume and references. Your hairstyle should be neat and professional. Make sure your clothing is clean and ironed. If you have a question on what you should wear, ask HR or the person who set up the interview on what would be appropriate. It might even be a good idea to show your outfit to a friend ahead of time for their opinion too.

3. You seemed distracted, sleepy, grouchy or not interested – No one really cares how bad your morning was or that the neighbor’s dog kept you up all night. Put on your best face and have a pleasant attitude as you go in for the interview. Make sure you are focused on the interview and put your worries away for that period of time. You don’t want to give the interview a negative tone by coming in grouchy or with a poor attitude. Do yourself a favor and get as much sleep as you can in the days before your interview.

4. You gave answers that were too brief or you did not explain yourself fully – The hiring manager and HR are there at the interview to hear you talk and get an idea of what type of employee you will be. Giving two-second answers is not to your advantage and may make it look like you don’t know what you are talking about or that you don’t really care if you get the job. Think thoughtfully about each question and answer it in the best of your ability. On the opposite side though, don’t be long winded. They don’t want to be in the interview room all afternoon!

5. You talked negatively about your former employer – Whatever bad feelings you have for your old employer, leave them at home. Don’t talk about how awful your last job was. Focus on your experience at past positions, that’s what counts. They won’t want to hire someone who already shows a poor attitude.

6. You were not prepared to answer questions related to your field – Be prepared to answer questions related to your line of work. For instance, if you are interviewing for a chemist job, be ready to answer chemistry questions. If you need to go back and refresh your memory on basic knowledge in your field, it would be a good idea to do so. Some hiring managers even have screening questions based on basic knowledge for that particular field that they use to screen out candidates.

7. You gave answers that raised a “red flag” – It is important that you think about some of the questions that they might ask you beforehand. Not being prepared can lead you to give answers that may not sit well with HR or the hiring manager. For instance, they may ask you questions like: how do you handle difficult problems in your work or what do you feel are your strengths and weaknesses. Be prepared with your answers so that you don’t give answers that may give the impression that you don’t interact well with coworkers or supervisors. Emphasize your strengths; even a “weakness” can be presented as a strength, e.g. tend to work too hard!!

8. You were not flexible enough regarding available start date or hours – Sometimes hiring managers and HR are under tight timelines to get people hired and usually have specific requirements for the position in terms of hours or shift. They will ultimately choose the candidate that fits those requirements. If you don’t convey that you can meet those requirements, you will likely not get the job offer. For example, if the job is for 2nd shift and you say in the interview that you really prefer 1st shift, they may not hire you. Also if you are currently working, a two week notice is typical, but if you are not available for another 3 or 4 weeks, then they may pick someone who can start earlier.

9. You talked about personal problems or issues – Don’t get overly personal with your answers. Keep the interview professional and don’t talk about problems or issues outside of work. HR and the hiring manager are there to hear about your qualifications and work experience.

10. You made it clear that you are overqualified for the position - Keep in mind the position you are interviewing for. With unemployment high these days, many people are interviewing for lower level positions because they really need a job. If this is the case for you, don’t overly emphasize in the interview how much experience or how many degrees you have. Just keep focused on what the requirements are for the job you are interviewing for. HR or the hiring manager may be reluctant to hire someone in this case because of the higher job level you might expect and higher salary expectations.

Take these into consideration before your next interview. They may just make the difference between whether you get the job or don’t. If you have any other suggestions for interview preparation, please share them below!


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    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I think this is definitely a list to keep in mind. It's hard to read the mind of some of these employers. But this being an employer's market- you can never bee too prepared. Voted up, useful, and shared!


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