Why They Didn’t Hire You

You worked hard on sharpening your resume. It paid off and you got the coveted interview. But that was weeks ago and you’ve just received the news that they selected another candidate. What did you do wrong? You thought it went well and that they liked you but somehow you didn’t make the cut. You’re reasonably sure you didn’t commit any of the basic interview faux pas mentioned in previous articles such as inappropriate attire, tardiness, poor manners or body language so what went wrong?

Here are some possible reasons you didn’t get the job.

1. Your responses were generic and rehearsed.

While it is a good idea to practice for your interview and to anticipate popular questions, you do not want to come across as rehearsed. Your delivery should be relaxed but enthusiastic and your passion and personality should shine through. Know what you are going to say but do not practice word for word and avoid the usual cliches.

2. You didn’t know anything about the company.

Researching the company is important because you will be expected to say why you are a good fit, why you want to work for them and demonstrate that you are interested in not just any job at any company but this particular company. Even if you are not asked a direct question on what you know about the company, you will be sure to get bonus points if you can prove that you’ve done your research by mentioning something specific and relating it to your suitability for the role. It is a good way to show real interest. Bonus tip: find out who will be interviewing you and research them too.

3. You were too negative.

It is poor form to badmouth your ex-boss in a job interview. Although the question of why you left and your prior job experiences will inevitably arise it is important to be tactful and diplomatic in your responses. The way you speak of them is a reflection of your character and how you will operate in this new job.  Your potential new boss may be interviewing you and they will assume that is how you will speak of them.

Additionally, if you are questioned about your willingness to do tasks not outlined in the job description do not say that you don’t or you can’t or you don’t like. The question is aimed at gauging your willingness to expand and learn. Additionally, if you don’t have a skill they ask for be truthful but also indicate your willingness to correct that deficiency. Be positive!

4. You asked the wrong questions.

Be careful what you ask. Do not ask questions that would hint at a bad experience in your previous jobs. Ask constructive, positive questions that are focused on this potential employer and this job. Do not ask about vacation leave or benefits.

5. You lied.

Make sure that the information on your resume is accurate and truthful and there will be no awkward questions and fumbled explanations. The recruiter may not give you the benefit of the doubt. Candid and professional is the way to go.

6. You gave the wrong answers.

The answer to “why do you want this job?” is not “I heard you pay well” or “I really wanted to apply for the BD role but applications were closed so…” or “I want to work for a big company”, no matter how truthful these responses may be. You need to be applying for what they consider to be ‘the right reasons’.


Good Luck!