by Jenae Nordman and Nora Bright
A job search is two-sided: it’s a candidate’s quest for the perfect new job and an employer’s hunt for the ideal new hire. A candidate looks for a position that will utilize his or her specific skill set, accommodate individual personality traits and provide a forum in which they can excel. An employer looks for the right qualifications, someone they determine will be a “good fit” within the company and whom they feel will also excel in their position.
But even when these two sides of a search appear to align, the candidate still doesn’t get the job.
Here are top reasons why you may not get the job:
If you did not get called in for an interview after submitting your resume, it is probably because you did not have the specific skills and experience the company is looking for.
I often see candidates who have the right skills for a position, but come from a different industry. This could also affect your chance of landing an initial interview. Typically, companies like to hire within their industry unless your skills are able to cross over to other industries such as software development.
If you have had a couple of interviews over the phone or have even met in person, and don’t get hired, then perhaps the reason could be a personality fit. Keep in mind there could be more qualified candidates who applied. However, even if you are the most qualified, you could be at a higher compensation rate than a similar candidate.
A company may rule you out due to a failure to prepare: have you researched, in detail, not only the specific company but what might your prospective position entail? Preparation shows interest and will pay off in an interview and in your general confidence.
Did you sell yourself by talking about your experience and achievements? Your interview should incorporate what you learned, implemented or advocated at your previous company. This will give an insight as to your personality, your level of confidence and your desire to innovate and execute.
Of course, a lack of appropriate skills or experience are each a common reason that a candidate won’t get a job for which they’ve interviewed.
However, candidates often don’t move forward due to less obvious reasons. Employers are frequently concerned about how long a candidate will stay with the company after being hired. You may have the qualifications needed to do the job — but will the position be challenging enough that you will stay for at least a couple of years? Do you have a strong desire to work at this company, or do you see this opportunity only as a “stepping stone” to get into a particular industry or higher-level roles?
Additionally, if you are considering a position at a large company, the employer may decide not to move forward with you if you don’t have experience with companies of a similar size. The employer may fear that you will find the bureaucracy too frustrating and leave soon after taking the job. The scenario also applies for candidates applying to a job at a small company if they don’t have experience in an environment where they must “wear many hats.”
Employers want to see how you think; while you may fear that ideas you float may not “jibe” exactly with your prospective employer, many employers want to see that a candidate has ambition, is creative and willing to take initiative.
If applicable, you may not have shown an adequate investment in yourself: Does your resume, and your interview, reflect a desire to “be the best you can be” by acquiring outside certifications, taking classes or being involved in self-improvement organizations (like Toastmasters)?
Employers want to hire an employee who will perform well but are also willing to go the extra mile to improve themselves. Employers understand that they, and the company, will benefit from your self-improvement
Look at the hiring process from the employer’s viewpoint: and then put your best foot forward. While much of the hiring process may be out of your control, preparedness and self-promotion are certainly within your power.
Jenae Nordman is a Recruiting Coordinator with Bristol Associates. View Jenae’s LinkedIn profile or email her: firstname.lastname@example.org. Nora Bright is Bristol’s Vice President and Co-owner and specializes in executive recruiting for non-profits and arts organizations. View Nora’s LinkedIn profile or email her: email@example.com.