5 Reasons You Were Not Hired (Hint: It’s – Likely – Not Personal)

12 November, 2019  |  Denise Spacinsky

I get inspired to write from my clients. And sometimes my neighbors.

This morning on my walk back from dropping my son at school I had a chat with one of the other moms. She looked haggard (well, we all do some mornings, don’t we?) and mentioned that she just took a job in Cambridge MA. That’s a 45 minute commute from us without traffic. My breath caught. Ohh…you have 3 kids…ohh…you have to leave at 6am every morning…ohh…your morning nanny just quit…ohh…

As she talked on she mentioned that before this job she had been interviewing for a really long time. She said it was over a year, but I’d guess it may be closer to two. She was looking for a position in Marketing which was her background before stepping out of the workforce for kids. A common situation and common challenge for professional/mom folk looking to get back into the office.

Her experience was disappointing. She had several dozen promising job opportunities, had an impressive, qualified background, made it to final rounds of interviews then: nothin’. That is, until a friend-of-a-friend mentioned a need for a Marketing Exec at a mobile tech company and – voilà – there she was: employed again.

Going through the whirlwind of a job search can be rough. There are highs in applying for promising opportunities and the elation of being interviewed that dip to disappointing silences and finding the need to pick yourself back up again and again, rejection after rejection. This can endure for months, sometimes years. It is hard for a job seeker to keep motivation – and confidence, and a positive outlook – while going through all of that.

I want to tell you something that you may not know: If you didn’t get a job you interviewed for, it’s likely not because of ‘you’. Personally. Per se. Necessarily.

There are a myriad of reasons people don’t get jobs, and they are not all about the applicant being deficient in some way. I have a recruiter and career advisor background and I can tell you, job rejections are often not really personal.

Here are some reasons that jobs offers may not have been forthcoming that would have had nothing to do with you.

1) There was a big candidate pool.

You don’t always see who you are up against in your interviews. Sometimes companies have many people to get through in their hiring schedule. There may be too many ‘perfectly qualified’ candidates. It’s not necessarily a mark against you personally if you weren’t chosen, there were just a lot of people in the mix and only one spot.

2) The hiring manager got distracted.

Hiring is not a full time position for most execs and hiring managers. In fact, its very time consuming and distracts from an otherwise very busy and complex schedule. HR Managers and Recruiters chase around hiring managers all the time to keep the interviewing and offer process flowing. Sometimes they are successful and sometimes they are not. Unfortunately this is a factor that certainly at play when a company is trying to fill a job and jobs may go cold.

3) The job was put on hold.

Maybe budgets were cut. Maybe the company lost a key client. Maybe there is a restructuring going on. It is very common that a company initiates a hiring process then has to pull back for a while when things shift around internally.

4) You were missing some key skill or experience they needed.

You may have all the talent in the world, and you may be a fast learner, but if a company needs you to have a specific skill or some level in experience as a must, you won’t be offered the job. It’s not personal, it’s just about making the right matches and filling specific needs.

5) The owner had a friend-of-a-friend she wanted to hire.

Networking and close personal referrals are a strong factor in selection. But, on the bright side, it may work in your favor at some point.

So, just when you are lamenting if you had an error on your resume, or wondering if you answered interview questions wrong, don’t fret. If you didn’t get offered the job you wanted, it may not be about you, personally. You were likely stellar in your presentation, but the job – this job, or these jobs – just didn’t come together for you.

My advice: Keep your head up and keep on going. See what is around the next corner for you. If you need some motivation or a few mantras to help you out, check out my other post: 3 Mantras to Stay Calm During a Job Search

I didn’t get a chance to tell my neighbor all of this. I didn’t want to get career-coachy before my first (okay, second) cup of coffee, so I thought to share it with you.