You had a great interview. Everything went great, you expected an offer. But the offer never came. Why? Here are the 8 most common reasons you didn’t get the job:
- You didn’t convince the employer that you are the best person for the job. Many candidates delude themselves into thinking that the employer is accepting their words at face value. So how do you know? Ask at the end of the interview simply say: “I believe I have the background and skills you are seeking for this role. Do you agree?” Sure, it puts the interviewer on the spot but you’ll find out quickly if there is still a gap. And you still have time to address it.
- You didn’t ask for the job. You might be the best candidate for the job, but you find yourself being #2 to no one. The employer keeps looking for someone who might be a little better. Why? Because you didn’t ask for the job. How? Simple: “I am very interested in the job. When can I start?” Yep, that’s aggressive. But it tells the interviewer that you’re interested and ready to go. Decision time, rather than wait time.
- You weren’t qualified for the job. While many career books try to convince you to get an offer from every interview, it is an acceptable outcome for either you or the employment to make an assessment that you are either not qualified. But make sure you are truly not qualified for the role before you resign yourself to this one. If you didn’t interview well, the employer may have the perception that you were not qualified. Make sure you fully answer all qualification questions in detail and back them up with examples.
- Discrimination. Yep, it still does happen. The most common form of employment discrimination is age discrimination, followed closely by discrimination based on gender, race and sexual preference. Interviewers will typically say something to the effect that they think you are not a good “fit” with the team. In most cases, the interviewer may not even aware that s/he is discriminating, but that is precisely what is taking place. What can you do? Unless it’s clear and blatant, just move on. If it is clear and blatant, you may want to contact an employment law attorney to review your options.
- Salary. A surprising number of employers don’t ask the salary question unless and until they are interested in a candidate, only to then be blown away with the unexpectedly high level of compensation. And many employers don’t ask what you are seeking, just what you are making. They often assume that you will want a 10-15% bump in salary to make a move. If that’s not the case, say it. But always let the employer make the first move on numbers, if you can. Sell them first on you.
- Internal candidate. Yes, they interviewed you. But only because they had to. And you might even have been the best person for the job. But there may have been an internal candidate who was earmarked for the role, no matter who the external candidates might be. I’d love to say there is a way around this one but, in most cases, there isn’t. Unless you truly wow the interviewer, it’s tough to overcome the internal candidate who is ready for the role.
- Budget changes. The budget was there and the job was funded. Or maybe the hiring manager hoped it would be funded. But when the time comes to actually go forward with making the offer, either the money is no longer there or the budget priorities have changed. Although this may be a short term negative for you, keep in mind that you may be a ready future candidate if/when the budget monies are available.
- Poor interviewing skills. It could be them. Very few interviewers are actually trained in effective interviewing skills. Or it could be you. But between the two of you, you failed to establish that you are the best person for the role. How to get past this? By behaviorally interviewing, whether the interviewer uses behavioral questions or not. Always answer with: “Let me give you an example…” and then go on to give a behavioral answer to support the competency at the core of the question. Use the S-T-A-R approach: give a Situation or Task, the Action you took, and the Results achieved.
You have the opportunity to be a STAR in your interviews. Does it mean you will get an offer every time you interview? Nope. There are always internal things going on to which are not visible to you.. And you should not get an offer if you are not qualified for the role. But the key is to get an offer for the roles where you are truly qualified and the best person for the job. You need to hone your interviewing skills to become that STAR.
CollegeGrad.com has a wealth of information on interviewing, including in-depth answers to the most common interview questions.