You just got the call (or email) – the company chose another candidate. Why didn’t you get the job? Here’s 10 reasons …
Before we get to the list, let’s discuss a few things. The obvious reason you didn’t get the job is because the company’s first choice (or second, or third) accepted. So the real question is … why weren’t you ranked first?
Also, you’ll notice that ageism isn’t on the list. When a candidate over 40 doesn’t get the job, the first thing they think is ageism. I’m not arguing about the existence of ageism – it exists, it stinks, and it’s a reality. However, ageism isn’t the reason you didn’t get the job.
You can’t change ageism – it’s a bias that’s hard wired into a hiring manager’s thought process. The best you can do is to get the hiring manager to overlook this bias. If you’re thinking it’s ageism, the real reason you didn’t get the job is because you didn’t do enough to convince your hiring manager to ignore ageism.
Reasons # 1 – # 10 You Didn’t Get The Job:
- Someone else showed they could solve the company’s problems better than you: Companies hire people to solve problems and make money for them. And the company looks for the person they believe will be able to solve their problems best – that’s not necessarily the person with the best skills or the best experience. Do you know what the company’s, department’s and hiring manager’s most pressing problems are? How does your resume, your interview answers, and your first impression demonstrate how you can best solve these problems? See “Would You Stop Looking for a Job Already?” at http://recareered.com/blog/2010/03/27/would-you-stop-looking-for-a-job-already-best-of-recareered/.
- The hiring manager liked someone else better: People hire employees they like. For many hiring managers, likability is the single most important criteria. Since likability in an interview is often determined by first impressions within the first few seconds, how can you influence how likable the hiring manager finds you? See “See How Easily You Can Master Non-Verbal Interviewing” at (http://recareered.com/blog/2010/06/18/see-how-easily-you-can-master-non-verbal-interviewing-best-of-recareered/.
- The 4th audience bounced you: The 4th audience is the hiring manager’s boss, peers and team. Many times, you may not meet all or any of the 4th audience, but that doesn’t decrease their influence over hiring decisions. In those cases, the only thing selling you is your resume. Does your resume speak to the 4th audience? See “How To Write Your Resume For The 4th Audience” at http://recareered.com/blog/2010/05/26/how-to-write-your-resume-for-the-4th-audience/.
- You weren’t a fit for the company/department: Fit is the all encompassing word that means you were qualified, but you still didn’t get the job. It’s frustrating for most candidates, because they really don’t know what fit looks like at a particular company. But there is a wealth of information available about fit for a specific company – you just need to know where to look and the right questions to ask. See “Why Good Career-Changers Are Anthropologists” at http://recareered.com/blog/2010/04/01/why-good-career-changers-are-anthropologists/).
- You were viewed as overqualified: This is a huge frustration today, especially among candidates 40+. Overqualified is a catch-phrase that can mean a number of specific things:
- Too expensive
- Uncoachable, inflexible, set in your ways
- ”Little brother/sister syndrome”
- Hiring manager fear of being overshadowed
- Not hungry enough
- Telling the manager how to do their job
- Greater risk of departure when job market improves
- You presented more risk than other candidates: Risk can perceived for many reasons, but have the same end result – hiring managers are less likely to hire candidates that present risk. The hiring manager doesn’t want to look bad, lose the employee in 6 months, affect team morale, generate poor work quality or quantity, or rely on someone undependable. In many companies, one of the biggest criteria for managers to be promoted is the quality of the teams they’ve built. How can you reduce the perception you give of risk? (Many of the same factors that give perception of risk can also translate into a lower salary – I discuss both in “What Salary Should You Expect For Your Next Job?” at http://recareered.com/blog/2010/06/10/what-salary-should-you-expect-for-your-next-job/).
- Your references told a different story than you expected: Your references can say nice things about you, yet still unknowingly damage your shot at the job. If you don’t know exactly what your references will say and you haven’t coached them, you leave yourself open for unexpected results. Your references do more than just make flowery statements – they help tell and confirm your story. If you haven’t told your references which part of your experiences you’d like them to highlight, how will they know how to best help you? See “Managing Your Job References” at http://recareered.com/blog/2010/06/29/managing-your-job-references/.
- Google/Facebook/Twitter searches disclosed unfavorable information: Most companies will perform an online search in their final due diligence process on candidates. Do you know what your target company will find? Have you prepared yourself through Online Reputation Management? See “Online Reputation Management – 4 steps to being your own PR department” at http://recareered.com/blog/2010/01/06/online-reputation-management-4-steps-to-being-your-own-pr-department/.
- You lied … and got caught: The statistics are amazing – how many candidates lie during the job search process. With so much information available online, so many places to corroborate information, it’s just reckless for a candidate to lie on their resume or in the interview process today.
- The company found a less expensive candidate: Especially in today’s environment of tight budgets, companies look for ways to do more with less. One way to effectively compete is by demonstrating what you offer in excess of the job requirements – often the winning candidate demonstrated “something extra” (See “Resume Ideas – Add A Skills Inventory To Get Noticed For More Jobs” at http://recareered.com/blog/2010/02/10/resume-ideas-add-a-skills-inventory-to-get-noticed-for-more-jobs/). Unless you have very hard-to-find skills, expect that you’ll have salary competition for your next job. Fortunately there are a number of places where you can get market value information for most positions (See “What Salary Should You Expect For Your Next Job?” at http://recareered.com/blog/2010/06/10/what-salary-should-you-expect-for-your-next-job/).
There are many parts of the hiring process that are out of your control.
However, there is a surprising amount of the process that is entirely within your control. You can best control what you can control through research, guerrilla job search tactics, and finding inside information to give yourself an edge …
… by giving you more that you can control yourself.
So – Why didn’t you get the job? Do you know now?-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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