Why You (Really) Didn’t Get The Job

Not getting the job may have been a good thing.

Not getting the job may have been a good thing.

Let’s face it, nobody likes rejection. But when you’re a job seeker, learning that you didn’t get a job that you’ve been interviewing for stings; even more-so when it’s a job that you really wanted and worked hard to be considered for.

As recruiters, we have one job – find the right person for the position. What many of our candidates don’t know, is we are being evaluated just as much as they are by our clients. Recruiters are measured against how effectively we’ve matched potential candidates to the opening that’s available and how efficiently we’ve done it. It’s all a race to get a potential candidate screened, submitted, and into the running for interviews. And what’s more, we’re usually up against other recruiters/firms as well; just like you are competing with other possible candidates.

When you’ve made it through the process and it’s down to you and another person for a final selection, it can often be mind-boggling as to “why” you were passed over in favor of someone else. So just “why” didn’t you get the job? nine times out of ten, a recruiter will offer you the “they’ve decided to go with another candidate at this time,” and leave it at that – but why?

Simply, it’s because we don’t want to burn a bridge with you, our candidate. We know how hard you’ve worked and just what a disappointment it is to hear you didn’t make the cut. When you succeed, WE succeed. The last thing we enjoy doing is telling any of our hard-working candidates is: “sorry, you weren’t selected.” All recruiters have been in your exact shoes before. As working adults, we know the feeling all too well.

So the next time you hear that you didn’t get the job, believe that this wasn’t the right opportunity for you to shine. Don’t beat yourself up over it! You made it that far in the process, probably further than most! Everything WILL click when it’s meant to. We are firm believers that there is a place for everyone, and you owe it to yourself to find a place that deserves to get a talent such as yours.

Here are some possible reasons why you (really) didn’t get the job:


The Decision Maker Didn’t Mesh Well With You/Was Threatened By You

We all work well with certain types of people and personalities. While we gel well with most people there are those that we, for whatever reason, simply do not ‘like’. That’s just life. You can’t force someone to like you, and are better off not to even bother wasting your time with this person. It’s usually their own insecurities that is the problem, not you. Which leads us to our next point, that they felt threatened by you.

What do we mean by threatened? Your talents, skills, experiences, likability factor, whatever – outshines them and they know it. Again, this is another example of insecurity on their part. Good leaders hire people better than themselves, help them along in their careers, and collaborate with great talent to push themselves to excel. Insecure leaders sniff out the first sign of a rising rockstar and pass them over in favor of someone non-threatening. Or if they are forced to hire them, they’ll find a reason to get them out of there pronto – for fear of losing their job.

It’s sad, but it happens all of the time unfortunately. You are much better off not having a boss or employer like this. Are we ever told that this was the reason our candidate wasn’t selected? No. What hiring authority wants to own up to any insecurities? We don’t just put “anyone” in front of our clients. We work with the best and brightest talent we can find (hint: that’s probably you!)

The Dollars Didn’t Make Cents

 When it comes down to salary negotiations, employers have a figure (usually) in mind that they’re willing to agree to. Should you ever undercut yourself? Absolutely not! Not unless of course it is an absolutely amazing opportunity that will offer you incredible experience and something notable for your resume. But even then, please consider all the factors! We recommend that you use tools such as Salary.com to review competitive going rates for your field/title (taking into consideration geographical location) and list out the benefits you’ll need to be comfortable and happy. Look at all things – health care, savings plans, vacation/sick/parental leave and other perks that you would like. List them out.

Our job is to present to you a comprehensive offer that will leave you as our candidate, and our client delighted to be working together. If for some reason it’s just not going to add up (you’d be taking a pay-cut, the benefits are a reduction from where you’ve been, there’s no relocation being offered, etc) it’s best to move on without burning a bridge. Communication here is key. If you’re not happy with the offer, let us know as soon as possible and we’ll let the client know. Most clients understand these circumstances. In the end, you’ll respect yourself for knowing your worth in the long run. We are trained to help our candidates through the negotiations process, but understand that you’ve still got to do what’s best for you.

The Opportunity Has Been Put On Hold Until???

One minute a client is ready to bring on additional staff the next minute they get a call from up the ladder that tells them to pause all hiring efforts. (What the?!) Business climates change all of the time. Earnings reports come in and the numbers aren’t good, resulting in budget cuts – there are numerous reasons why employers put a hold on hiring. Positions get closed down for active recruitment all of the time. Others remain on hold for months on end.

Yes, this even happens during the final stages of the hiring process. When a hiring manager’s hands are tied, there’s not much they can do except wait and hope that you’ll still be available when they are able to resume hiring once again. It’s frustrating for all parties involved to say the least. Employers and recruiters know that great candidates don’t sit idle for long. If and when the hiring manager resumes hiring again, you’re likely to be one of the first people we’ll want to reach out to and hope you’ll be available; but we will be just as happy to hear that you’ve already landed your perfect job.

You’ve Become Victim To a “Stealthy Squirrel”

Squirrels are crafty little creatures. One minute they’re minding their own business, the next minute they’re raiding your bird feeder. Stealthy Squirrel Candidates are quite similar. They’re the ones who may already have a job inside or outside of the company and likely have connections and access to the hiring manager (read: friend/connection/family of a boss, manager, etc.) These stealthy folks come in seemingly out of no-where, swoop in, and lay claim to the position that you’re interviewing for. Why? Because they know a good opportunity when they hear it, and have no problem going after it. They know that savvy squirrels are always on the lookout for a stronghold of acorns and birdfeeders, or as we know it – a great job opportunity.

In defense of these ‘Squirrels,’ they may not even think that they’ve ousted others. But for whatever reason, they have quickly won the attention and admiration of the hiring authorities and have not only taken the acorn (interview,) but also the whole oak tree (job!) Employers want the best person for the job wherever and however they can find them. Our best advice? Don’t take it personally. Take a cue from the squirrels and keep in-tune to your industry happenings and stay in touch with your personal and professional network. You never know where that trail of acorns and seed might lead…

You didn’t seem to really want the job

 Finding a new job is a lot like dating. You go on a couple interviews before you decide to commit to just one employer. Most people would never dream of marrying someone they’d met just once – the same goes for the interviewing process with a potential employer. Think of it as courting. You can tell when someone is interested in you – they’re engaged and interested in your conversation, you’ve shared a laugh, and maybe even learned you have some things in common. In short, things just “clicked.”

Just as you can tell when someone is interested, the other party can also tell if you’re just “not that into them.” When interviewing, employers can get the vibe if you’re really not all that “thrilled” with the job opportunity, or their company, or otherwise. Not that there is anything wrong with this – unless of course, you ARE really interested and have been sending off the wrong vibes. Being nervous can sometimes bring this out. But if that’s not the case and now that you’ve gotten to know more about the opportunity, the company, and the people you’d be working with and have decided it’s just not for you, it’s likely the client/employer was picking up on this vibe. We all want someone to “want” us. It really is an ego thing, but as an employer, they only want to hire people who want to work there. Not someone who is lukewarm on the thought.

If you’ve decided you aren’t interested anymore, we ask that you tell us right away and save all parties involved their time. There’s no sense pursuing an opportunity if you’re really not excited about it.