If You Didn't Get Hired, This Could be Why

John Krautzel
Posted by in Career Advice


As a job seeker, you recognize there could be many reasons why a hiring decision didn't work out in your favor. Perhaps someone was more qualified than you, had better soft skills, presented himself better in the job interview or clicked with the interviewers in a more substantial way. Liz Ryan, an HR expert writing for Forbes, has some thoughts as to why she wouldn't hire you.

Ryan points out that hiring decisions often come down to the judgment and perspective of those interviewing you. Even when you ask later for some feedback as to what you can improve, the answer may not be that simple. Your interviewers may not even have the time to return the feedback. However, there are some things to watch out for and avoid in your behavior while trying to wow the people in front of you.

1. Memorized Answers

Memorized answers are great, but if every answer you give to interviewers sounds rehearsed, the hiring decision may not go your way because your interviewers will recognize canned answers. It's fine to think about your responses and be spontaneous.

2. Lack of Emotions

You're not a robot, nor do your interviewers expect you to be. In fact, people love passionate hires who have an emotional connection to the position. That doesn't mean baring your soul during your face time, but a hiring decision might come down to your emotional intelligence.

3. Failure to Ask Questions

Interviews are conversations with your future employer, and they are not an interrogation room where you answer as many questions as possible. Interviewers expect you to ask questions because the questions you ask reveal aspects of your personality and how well you truly know the company and its culture. Don't expect a favorable hiring decision if you do not ask any questions or if you ask mundane questions.

4. No Problem-Solving Skills

Your job interview is a great time to showcase your problem-solving skills. If you can't solve a hypothetical problem presented to you, the future employer might not think too favorably because you'll need to solve problems on a daily basis while on the job. Put some thought behind your judgment before answering questions about how to solve unique problems.

5. Not Backing Up Your Credentials

Good references, awards, degrees and accolades are great. However, an employer wants to know what you can do in the present as opposed to what you've done in the past. An interview roots out your soft skills, while your resume shows your qualifications. Your resume and the information on it is what landed you the interview in the first place. Backing up your credentials with the right interpersonal skills, intelligence and soft skills is what the interview entails.

There are many reasons behind a company's hiring decision and why you may not land a job. Having sharp recall skills and witty answers is a good start. However, a company hires people for each position rather than biochemical robots who can memorize facts, responses and names.


Photo courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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  • ajay choubey
    ajay choubey

    sir god mod

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Emma A thanks for your comment. Sadly that is true and, typically, they are sorry for the hire later on down the road.

  • Emmanuelle  A.
    Emmanuelle A.

    I disagree with this article! I conducted interviews and saw incompetent candidates being chosen for the sake of employers " liking this candidate " instead of choosing the competent one.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Donna W. thanks for your comment. It truly is unfortunate when companies do this. They never ask if you will be bored - just assume. Were you able to go back and assure them that you wouldn't be bored and that you would very much like to be reconsidered for the position? Hold their feet to the fire so to speak.

  • Donna W.
    Donna W.

    Age discrimination is very alive and well. I had two prospective employers contact me in advance of the interview to "see if they could afford me" due to my wealth of experience. I felt I interviewed very well with one employer in particular and then I was not awarded the position. When it was reposted, I asked if they would consider me again unless there was an area in which I did not qualify. Their answer: "you were very qualified; we thought you would be bored". Second time I got that "excuse".

  • Edward B.
    Edward B.

    I have had a couple similar experiences like Mark D., though not quite so blatant. I'm 58 year old and have had 2 potential employers tell me during the interview that they were reluctant to even interview older candidates due to salary requirement concerns. Just how many other potential employers tossed my resume for that very reason. Hey, how about discussing that with us before just writing older candidates off. Yes, age discrimination is alive and well.

  • Valentina R.
    Valentina R.

    tkank you so much by yours comments

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Mark D thanks for your comment. I have to say that I am surprised that the hiring manager actually voiced that. Wow - could be a great lawsuit except that it's he said, he said. It's truly unfortunate when a company looks at a number (age) instead of at the individual.

  • Mark D.
    Mark D.

    Age discrimination is alive and well in this country. I was in an interview last week and the hiring manager had the balls to say he was only hiring 30-40 year olds because when he took over the average age in the group was 61 and he needed to drive that average age down. Oh my god how can those old geezers stay awake long enough to work all day BTW I am 61 and could run circles around most younger people. I forgot more than they will ever know. So exasperating

  • Dervis M.
    Dervis M.

    If you did not get hired most likely they did not like you on a personal level, or they liked more somebody else. That is the reason in most of the cases.

  • Mrs.Krina M.
    Mrs.Krina M.

    I will have some changes in my resume.

  • william c.
    william c.

    good I will take some of my personal stuff out

  • ingrid f.
    ingrid f.

    Helpful information.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Julie N thanks for your comment. There are many articles here on our sites that offer suggestions for interview questions. Log on to your account and then click on the icon Interests that you will find at the top of the page and then click Career Advice. There you can find many questions that you might ask. Honestly - ask what you want to know. Check out the company. See what is happening with them and then create your questions based upon that. Make sure, at the end, that you ask about next steps. Get a business card from the interviewer, if he has one. If not, jot down his contact information so that you can follow up. A nice touch after the interview is to send a handwritten thank you note - through the mail. Send it immediately after the interview so that everything is fresh. If questions arose after the interview, ask them in the thank you note. Keeps the lines of communication open and they will appreciate it.

  • Julie N.
    Julie N.

    Can you suggest some questions to ask the interviewer?

  • Julie N.
    Julie N.

    great article. thanks

  • David S.
    David S.

    Good information helpful

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Mindy P thanks for your comment. Sometimes it's best to just tell it like it is. No emotion, no finger-pointing - just the facts and then move on. Don't dwell on it and don't keep answering questions about it unless it's relevant to the position for which you are being interviewed. If he pushes, change the subject - quickly. He will get the hint and will move on, too. This is your interview. If you get bogged down in the why's, your interview is over. That's why it's best to just tell it and then maybe ask him a question such as I saw on the job posting that blah, blah, blah - and get his attention focused on that instead. Don't be rude, of course. And honestly, if he continues trying to ask questions, simply say this is what happened so can we talk about the position that I am here for. Let us know how it goes.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the great comments. Doesn't sound like getting an interview is tough for any of you. It's that ageism rearing its ugly head again. @Matthew Siegel not sure how these companies get away with asking graduation dates since it truly does give them a pretty good idea of your age. As an attorney, maybe you can take a run at this to get it stopped. Pretty much every application asks for graduation dates and doesn't let you proceed until you input a valid date. Now, on your resumes, don't put HS grad dates. And, if your college completion date was more than 10 years ago, don't put that date, either. Your resume should only include the past 10 years if you can get away with that. Sometimes we have to put more than that one in order to show that we have experience in a particular type of job but, if you don't have that issue, only show 10 years. Make sure that you are networking, too. Reach out to old contacts - former coworkers who maybe are working at a company of interest. Look around your area for job fairs and networking events. Check on your state unemployment site, too, for other helpful hints. Check out some of the local temp agencies in your area. May not get your dream job but will hopefully make enough to keep the roof over your head and food on the table. Search out a good recruiter who can present you to the company first so that the age issue does not come up. When you do get an interview, make sure that you stress your reliability, flexibility and so on. Let them know that you are done raising your kids and are committed to being the best employee for the position. Make sure that you are sending a hand-written thank you note (by snail mail) after the interview. Sounds silly but it can be enough to put you over the top. Sometimes you just have to be bold, too. For instance, at the end of an interview, we were shaking hands and talking about next steps and I looked him straight in the eye and said - are you really going to call me. Kind of took him aback for a second or two and then he said he would call me when the decision was made. He did call but I didn't get the job. He did thank me for my assertiveness. (LOL) Granted this won't always work but sometimes you have to step outside of yourself. Especially if you are looking at those unemployment checks ending. In addition, when they ask for your graduation date, you don't have to answer. This is your interview; your chance at a position. Don't be afraid to step out of the box and be an individual. Don't be afraid to ask the tough questions back. When the interview is over, don't be afraid to ask - are you really going to call me? All the best.

  • MATTHEW SIEGEL
    MATTHEW SIEGEL

    While I am a 61 year-old, former practicing attorney who has had no small degree of difficulty obtaining a position as a senior liability insurance claims professional in the Greater New York metropolitan area, suffice it to say that in addition to the fact that the lion's share of my most recent work experience has been as an independent contractor, I verily believe that my age based on the years of experience listed in my resume has also been a detracting factor That said, however, I never list graduation dates, and am of the understanding that it is illegal under Federal law for a prospective employer to inquire during the application or interview process regarding any information which directly or indirectly involuntarily reveals a candidate's age. Hence, any employer who asks is not only rude and boorish -- and likely not worth working for, but probably treading on thin ice legally. .

  • mindy p.
    mindy p.

    How do you answer the questions why you left your last job when you resigned in Lou of termination? It was the one and only mistake I made in 30 years with this company and they were going to fire me so I resigned! I had two associates sign off that they completed training when they did not! Is it best to tell the truth?

  • Rick P.
    Rick P.

    Allan Fett..Going through the same issues...Age... 63 years old but look 50...25 years of one job experience and interviews go great...asked graduation date, and and get that email that says that they decided to go with a candidate who had better qualifications. Very Frustrating!!

  • Cindy Koplowitz
    Cindy Koplowitz

    Same exact problem with the age thing and it is getting very frustrating! I have gone on several interviews that I know went very well and yet I still don't have a job. The fact is I probably have more energy than my 2 kids combined, want stability and have no intention of retiring or jumping around for a better offer like a lot of the kids do. I never had a problem getting a job when I was younger. My unemployment is running out and it is very scary. I don't know what to do anymore. The whole situation is so demoralizing!

  • Lynelle P.
    Lynelle P.

    My interviews have been great (lots of phone and face, and one web), asking the right questions, interacting with the interviewers (usually in IT it's a panel of 3), dressing and looking professional, solving the problems given to me. Yet I still don't have a job! Why? Because I'm an older white woman. I won't go into the age thing, but being a white woman with 25 years experience does NOT help! IT industry has a HUGE problem! It's hiring young foreign males with H1B's and certificates. Yeah, I can get certs (unemployment office is getting me the funds so I can afford it), but certs don't tell the whole story. Experience and degrees do NOT count for anything in this country anymore! I'm doomed, and will probably be on the streets homeless and hungry come May when the unemployment checks run out. Wish we Americans could just flood foreign countries and take their jobs away from them!!!

  • Rosemary B.
    Rosemary B.

    Great article I'm going through the same issues because of my age, but I'm not giving up older people have to pay bills and live too.

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