After doing your very best to give a great interview, it can be heartbreaking to get a rejection without even knowing why. Is there something you did that caused them to “hate” you? If only you could figure out where you went wrong, maybe next time you could do a better job.
But the truth is, they may have liked you a lot even if you didn’t get the offer. I know that might sound contradictory, but there are reasons you get rejected that are not about anything you did wrong!
Reasons for rejection that you can’t control
- They had a picture of someone in mind, and no matter what you said and did, you just didn’t fit that image. Is that fair? No, of course not. But sometimes that really is the reason they said “no”.
- They liked you a lot. They may even wish they had two openings right now and will keep you in mind for a job later on, but there was someone who was a better fit for reasons only someone with internal knowledge can know. (Although this does remind us to give the very best interview possible every time — showing your real self — since the difference between “yes” and “no” can be quite small.)
- You just didn’t have enough experience. In this case, sometimes you can win them over with your attitude and evidence of times you learned quickly, but if it comes down to a matter of skills and / or experience to navigate the internal politics that they know about, you can’t take that personally. But a good note to self about looking for ways to get involved where you are in projects that help get you more experience or maybe time to acquire better skills now.
- Personality conflict or perhaps you remind them of someone they didn’t like, for whatever reason. Clearly not your fault. and luckily this is not all that common, but it does happen on occasion. Job search even for the most skilled and experienced candidates can take time, and — a little like dating — chemistry does play a role!
- Position changed or the organization changed in some way that may have led to a delay in hiring, a loss of the position, or a change in what they were looking for initially.
- Not all interviewers are good at interviewing, and in your case, despite a great interview, they simply picked the wrong person. It happens. I once got turned down for a job because I didn’t have enough direct experience, and the very-experienced person they hired screwed up royally. I got the job a few months later. That’s why it pays to stay in touch and keep the warm lines of communication open, if possible.
- It was the wrong job for you. They knew it even if you didn’t. Again, not your fault. To help avoid that in the future, make sure you do your research ahead of time and target your resume and cover letter to EACH job, using your real skills and experience to get picked for job interviews you do match more closely. It’s also ok to apply when you don’t have every skill or requirement; just use your cover letter and resume to show you have transferable skills.
A few final thoughts
Of course, there can be other reasons you didn’t get that job offer that you’ll never know about. Nor does it matter. Learn from each interview, and then move on. Your job is to give your best, most natural interview, using real workplace stories to help show that you do match the job.
More articles to help