I Was the Perfect Candidate – Why Didn’t I Get the Job?

Erin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CPRW, CERW, CEMC, is a Certified Professional Resume Writer/Career Consultant, and the President of Professional Resume Services, named one of Forbes “Top 100 Career Websites”.

You just left the job interview and you know you are PERFECT for the job. How many times has this happened to you and then you didn’t get it? You went over the interview in your mind a hundred times, noted how easily the conversation flowed, how enthusiastic the interviewer was when you described a certain experience or skill. They seemed excited when they said they would get back to you soon. 

Then you got the email that you weren’t chosen. Safe to say, I think we’ve all been there. I’m a firm believer in if you didn’t get the job, something better will come along. Through the years, some of our clients have come back to us to tell us about interviews they nailed and were sure they got the job. But didn’t. However, there are various reasons companies may choose a different route:

You were overqualified.  Based on your past experience and qualification, they may think you won’t do tasks you deem “beneath you”. While it’s unfair for them to assume what you will or won’t do, it is a common concern. They may also fear you will get bored at the job—especially if you’ve been on an impressive career track. Or, that after a while, you will leave, and they’ll be back to square one.

If you are struggling with job search, hang tight. The right job will come along.

ERIN KENNEDY

You were underqualified. Though the position may be something you really want, you may just not have the skill set or experience to tackle it right now. Thinking you’d be great in a role and actually having the experience to master the role are two different things. Read the job description thoroughly and make sure you have the experience to apply for the role.

They hired internally. I know it seems unfair, but they may have already had a front runner in mind. They just posted it to see if there is someone better.  Some companies HAVE to post externally due to contract constraints or affirmative action plans. Federal contractors or government agencies may have to post externally as well.

TMI – Too Much Information. I’ve talked with recruiters who said the candidate told them their life story—the good, bad, and ugly—and in the process turned off the recruiter. Keep the conversation on the company, their pain points, how you can help them, and that’s it. Don’t talk about your jerk boss, your sick parent, or a personal health problem. They really don’t want to or need to hear it. Keep it professional.

They had another candidate in mind already. It’s possible they already found their choice but they had to have a certain amount of candidates to interview to fill their candidate roster. It might be company policy that a certain number of people need to be interviewed before a choice can be made.

You didn’t know enough about the company. Research the company, its mission, what they do, what they sell, or what they are about. Research the role, figure out their pain points. Have questions ready to interview the interviewer, questions like, “What should I know about the role I am seeking? Do you have any other insight?” Be both knowledgeable and inquisitive.

Your online presence wasn’t professional or up-to-date. Hiring managers will check your social media profiles to learn more about you. Make sure your privacy settings are set correctly if you have personal pictures or information on there. Also, if you haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile in a while (or years!), now is the time to do it. Lack of LI presence can hurt you as well. Get it up to date.

Whatever the answer, you may never know. You might have done everything right and still did not get the job. It might have been narrowed down to you and someone else, but they went with the other person because they had more strategy experience. Either way, you gave it your all.

About two months ago, an operations executive said to me, “You know, after three rounds of interviews, they finally told me I wasn’t chosen. So, I reached out to a few old colleagues that resulted in a round of interviews with a company I was never interested in and an industry I wasn’t very familiar with. But they liked me and saw what my vision was for their company–and hired me. It has been the best job I’ve ever had.”

If you are struggling with job search, hang tight. The right job will come along.

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