So exactly why didn’t I get the job? This is the $50,000 question or whatever that potential job was going to pay. There are as many possible answers to that question as there might be planets in the heavens; however some of the more common reasons include the following:
- It’s a matter of numbers. If ten candidates interview for one position, and three are truly qualified, yet only one can be hired, that means two highly qualified candidates were not selected.
- Chemistry or likeability. As objective as interviewers are, they are still people and subjectivity enters the equation. Something connects the interviewer with the interviewee; maybe it’s humor, hometown, school, background, the way you look, or even an intangible that simply clicks between two people.
- A major screw-up; something you could have controlled but you didn’t. This includes poor manners, inadequate social skills, you looked in disarray or disheveled, poor communication skills, disconnected answers to questions, rambling answers, late to the interview, etc.
- A minor screw-up; misspellings on your resume or cover letter, missing button on your shirt or blouse, fidget with your pen, etc.
- Uncontrollable coincidence; you remind the interviewer of someone s/he doesn’t like (ex-spouse, co-worker, supervisor, etc.)
- Inexperienced interviewer. Sometimes the absolute best candidate can be sitting right there with the interviewer, and the interviewer misses the opportunity to take the candidate to the next level.
- It’s a proactive interview. A job doesn’t really exist (now) but it might in the future and the interviewer is creating a ‘stock pile’ of potential candidates for when a position does open.
- You are a practice ‘run’ for the interviewer. It’s unfortunate, but this does happen. Your intention is to get a job, and the interviewer’s intention is to get some real-life practice in interviewing.
Quota, favoritism or pre-determined. This is another unfortunate situation where the interviewer knows the position will go to an internal, however it requires that externals be considered even though the decision has already been made.
A change in company or hiring plans. At the time you interview the position is or will be available, but during the process either the open-position does not become open, or there is a change in the company’s hiring situation.
So it’s not always something you did ‘wrong’ or could have controlled. It’s very possible you did everything correctly and you were the best candidate, however the needs of the situation dictated a different outcome. The key is for you to learn from every experience and persevere.