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Why Didn't You Get Hired at Your Last Interview?

It can take a lot of time and effort just to get a job interview.  For this reason it's extremely frustrating to go through the job interview process only to hear crickets afterwards.  If you've been through it a few times, you might be feeling a little discouraged.  Why aren't you getting a job offer???  The truth is that there are many different reasons that the employer may decide to go with another candidate even if you are perfectly qualified for the job.  Some of these reasons are within your control and some aren't.  Here are a few possibilities: 

There was an internal candidate.  Sometimes the employer knows who they want to hire before they even post the position.  They have an internal candidate in mind, but because of their HR policies, they still have to go through the interview process.  If it's a unionized workplace, the employer may be forced to hire internally if there is a qualified internal candidate.  Unfortunately, from the outside, there is no way of knowing about this situation so you just have to go through the process.     

You didn't make a strong enough case.  Today's job market is extremely competitive.  To be a top candidate, you need to be able to clearly articulate your value to the employer.  This means having a strong understanding of the position, the company and the industry and clearly articulating your strengths with detailed examples.    If you don't do that effectively, you will be a forgettable candidate.  

You wouldn't fit in with the organizational culture.  If you have been invited in for an interview, the employer has already determined that you are qualified for the job.  One of the main purposes of the job interview is to determine if you would be a good fit- both for the company and for the position.  The employer is looking for someone with a personality that would mesh well with the employees and who would work in a way that is consistent with the organizational culture and values.  It is important that you do some research to get an understanding of the organizational culture so that you can present yourself accordingly.  

You didn't do enough research.  When you consider that there are hundreds of applicants for each position posted, it becomes clear that you need to step up your game.  The other candidates will be doing everything they can to prepare for the interview so you need to do the same.  Do your homework and learn about the company:  What do they do? How are they structured?  How are they growing?  What are their strengths?  What are their challenges?  How do they present themselves on social media?  What is the position you are interviewing for?  What are the requirements?  What are the responsibilities?  What are the priorities for this role?  The more information you have, the more you will be able to position yourself as an ideal candidate.  

The company changed their mind about the position. Even though this job opportunity is at the top of your mind, it is likely just one item on the employer's lengthy to-do list.  If you don't hear back from the employer, there is always a possibility that they are dealing with a crisis which has caused them to delay the hiring process.  It's also possible that a budgeting change has eliminated the position altogether.  You could have been the top candidate for the position, but it's a position that has disappeared.  

One of the most frustrating parts of the job search process is how little control the job seeker has over it.  You can put your heart and soul into the interview and the employer can simply reject you for no apparent reason.  At the end of the day, you are just along for the ride.  The key is to have trust in the process; if you keep trying, you will find the right fit.    

(Written by Karen Bivand, Image by