Five reasons you didn’t get the job

You’ve submitted your resume, maybe endured multiple rounds of interviews with HR, the hiring manager and team members, and now you are staring at the rejection letter. “After careful consideration, I regret to inform you that we have chosen another candidate.”  You are begging for feedback, but most employers are not forthcoming with reasons on why you didn’t make the cut. Let’s face it – rejection hurts. Some employers might help you out and offer a few pieces of advice, but majority of employers don’t tell you where you took a wrong turn. 

Here are five common reasons why you were declined for the job:

1. I Didn’t Even Look at your Resume – Companies today use Applicant Tracking Systems. This fabulous technology has decreased the workload of the recruiter and created efficiencies. Yet, as with all great technology, occasionally it fails and fabulous candidates fall victim. You may be declined by a computer-generated response rather than a human being. Ensure that your resume has the keywords that are utilized in the job description; and if you really believe that you are the perfect fit for the company and the role, and you have all the qualifications, then push past the technology! Do the hard work to network into the company and discover how to get your resume to the top of the pile. 

2. We Had an Internal Candidate – Occasionally due to company policies or within certain industry sectors, all open positions have to be publicized and posted publicly. Unfortunately, this gives us the false impression that there is a job opportunity; however, these companies may already have an internal candidate that they plan to promote rather than hire an “outsider.”

3. The Organization Changed Direction – Organizations change rapidly in today’s marketplace. By the time a recruiter posts an open position, the business may have taken a strong left-turn strategically, economically, or even lost key internal players. We don’t know, but all of these impact open requisitions. Stay nimble and flexible when looking for your next opportunity.

4.  Lawyers Say ‘No’.  We live in a litigious society – companies recognize that it seems like almost any excuse can be grounds for a lawsuit. Hiring managers are being directed from their legal department and human resources to stay silent and/or offer generic feedback, such as, ‘we had a more qualified candidate.’ Many employers even have policies prohibiting giving feedback.

5. Personal Criticism is Awkward and Time Consuming – Hiring managers are busy – they are not your personal job coach. Providing thoughtful feedback takes time, and frankly, most managers won’t take the time. This is amplified when you are not someone who works for them. Telling someone they dressed unprofessionally or their strong cologne caused an allergic outbreak in the office are common reasons for rejecting someone, but most managers will not have these awkward conversations with strangers. Some will give advice—but it’s a favor when they do it, not an obligation.

While rejection hurts and it is easy to wallow and wonder why employers can’t see that you would be a perfect fit, much of the time, it simply is that they were more impressed with someone else – there’s really no reason beyond that.  Send your thank you letter, leave the door open for future opportunities, and move on. After all, your perfect position could be right around the corner.