Every job application, interview and rejection/success is unique. There are so many different factors at play during a hiring process that it can be almost impossible to predict an outcome. Even if you’ve given a fantastic interview or have an exemplary CV, there may just be someone else who beat you to the position, leaving you to wonder why.
Often, you may never know why you did not get the job. In many cases, employers will not provide feedback as to why you were rejected. As recruitment specialists, we always try to provide our candidates with interview feedback, but sometimes clients may not be forthcoming with this information.
If you’ve experienced a job rejection recently, here are a few possible explanations why:
1. Your CV didn’t sell you
In a competitive market, your CV really needs to stand out from crowd. Even if the document has some good experience listed on it, it may well be overlooked if it doesn’t grab the attention of the reader. A good CV is a strong combination of relevant skills and experience with clear, concise presentation. Remember to tweak your CV with each new job application so it is tailored to that particular role.
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2. Your motivations weren’t clear
Remember, if an employer has received a large volume of applications, they’ll be actively looking for reasons to eliminate candidates and narrow down their selection. Sometimes an employer will be unsure of the reasons why a candidate is applying. For example, your CV may indicate that you’re a little overqualified for a role, but you might be particularly keen to work for the organisation or gain more experience in their particular sector. This is where a detailed cover letter can be useful. Don’t get rejected just because you didn’t explain why you wanted the role.
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3. You didn’t demonstrate your knowledge
A lack of interview preparation can sometimes result in candidates failing to show the true extent of their knowledge and experience. Make sure you have fully researched the company and are able to communicate how your skills are a good fit for their business. Also, have a number of strong examples at the forefront of your mind in case you’re asked to talk about specific scenarios in which you had a positive impact.
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4. Not a good team fit
Team fit refers to how well you match the company’s ethos and outlook. This has a lot to do with your personality and soft skills — which can be hard to measure. In some cases, you may not necessarily have done anything wrong but you might just not gel with your interviewer or might have a different approach towards the work. However, demonstrating strong communication skills and a confident yet friendly demeanour will always stand you in good stead.
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5. You didn’t seem to want the job
Some candidates simply do not show their enthusiasm for the role or for the company. Sometime this lack of energy can be down to nerves, but it’s important to show some genuine excitement about the position. If there are two very similar candidates vying for the same role, an employer may give the job to the individual who seems to be more enthusiastic about the role.
6. Someone with more experience came along
Sometimes, things are simply beyond your control. You may have a strong CV and have put in an excellent performance at interview — but the competition was too strong. This can often come down to sector experience, i.e. the other candidate has done an extremely similar role in a comparable organisation in the same sector.
In uncertain economic times, employers can often be risk averse and not want to hire outside of their sectors. This can be limiting for them and frustrating for you, but don’t let such rejections lower your confidence as they are often out of your control.
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7. Your experience didn’t meet the specific criteria
If you were rejected without an interview, it may be because your CV didn’t match the specific criteria for the role. Employers should make sure that any essential attributes are fully outlined in the job advert/job description. Always ensure that you have met any of these (such as specific experience or academic qualifications) before applying.