I see so many comments here from job seekers wondering what they “did wrong” to derail the job offer they knew was coming from that very encouraging hiring manager who ended the 2nd round of interviews saying, “See you soon.”
But then, the employer never called back. What happened?
Many, many factors go into making a hire, and half of them have nothing to do with the job seeker! Read next week’s post to see the 10 factors that job seekers do control.
Reasons You Weren’t Hired that You Couldn’t Control
In our list of 20 reasons you were not hired, the first 10, below, are outside of your control as a job seeker. (The 10 things you CAN control in in the next post.) You could be the perfect match to the job requirements, have a resume that knocked their socks off, have a LinkedIn Profile that shows you could be President, and made life-long friends during the interview process. But, you still might not get the job because of issues that have absolutely nothing to do with you, your qualifications, or your performance in the process.
The Big Picture Reasons
Many factors influence these hiring opportunity decisions, and some of them are related to the over-all health or plans of the whole organization. I call these “Macro level” factors, and they are usually outside of the hiring managers’ control, even if the hiring manager is the CEO.
1. Budget issues –
It’s a tough economy, and when sales fall or some other negative financial situation arises, budgets can be reduced, removing the money to pay for the position.
2. Organizational issues –
They decide to reorganize, shifting employees and/or responsibilities from one part of the organization to another. Until “the dust has settled” they don’t add new staff.
3. Today’s level of job market competition –
Many excellent people are competing in today’s job market, bringing their “A games” to the process, and it has changed expectations, raising the bar for everyone. At the same time, many people are showing little interest or enthusiasm, applying sloppily for everything they see, which is making employers skeptical of job seeker interest. This means that what worked 3 years ago often won’t work now.
The Local Reasons
At the hiring decision level in most organizations, many “local” concerns impact hiring and can kill a job requisition or bump a job seeker into 2nd place from first. I call these “Micro level” inter-organizational factors, and they are also outside of the job seeker’s control (at least for this opportunity):
4. Internal hire –
Someone already working inside the organization got the job (which may result in another opening elsewhere in the organization). This one is very tough to beat, since most organizations want to offer their employees the opportunity for advancement or, at least, for change.
5. Someone else was a better networker –
With 2 equally-qualified and equally-impressive people to choose from, the person who was referred by an employee gets hired twice as often as the “unknown” person – probably because the referred person is viewed as a lower-risk choice.
6. The job was canceled –
They decided that it wasn’t really necessary to fill this job at this time – not busy enough or not clear that having someone do the job would be necessary for the long term.
7. Job was redefined –
They decided to change it, replacing the first duties and requirements with updated ones, so they are starting from scratch and you may not be a good match to the new job.
8. The “Chemistry” didn’t work –
The mysterious factor that is so important in determining who gets hired, often boils down to how well you were liked by the people who interviewed you. They may have some very quirky characters working there, and you didn’t feel “right” to one or two (or more) of the people who interacted with you, which could be people outside of the official/obvious interview process like the receptionist. It’s not a good idea to try to force chemistry to work. You must be your true professional self in an interview to find a job that you like (and vice versa).
9. Wrong “fit” for the corporate culture –
They have an idea of the kind of person who succeeds in their organization, and you are not that kind of person. Perhaps you are too “artsy” or too “formal” or not “professional” enough or whatever. This is also beyond your control. But, better not to be hired into one of these organizations.
10. A mix-up/mistake –
Perhaps something was mislaid or misfiled, or they confused you with someone else – unfortunately, with someone they didn’t like. You can do your best to help them know who you are, but you cannot guarantee that no one will make a mistake.
As employers are imperfect, so are job seekers. However, since the job seeker is in “selling” mode, it is up to the job seeker to pay close attention to what the employer wants. For more reasons you were not hired, read next week’s post – the 10 factors in a job search that are controlled by the job seeker.
More on Recovering from Job Search Rejection
© Copyright, 2012, Susan P. Joyce. All rights reserved.
About the author…
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 2011, NETability purchased WorkCoachCafe.com, which Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoach since then. Susan also edits and publishes Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.