Rejection, unfortunately, features in many job hunts. Even with a strong CV and great interview technique, you can still miss out on opportunities in a competitive market. While some employers might offer detailed feedback, others will give a minimal explanation as to why you weren’t their perfect choice – which can obviously be very frustrating for candidates.
Here are six general reasons why an employer might reject you – either at the application stage or after an interview
1. Your CV didn’t stand out
Your CV is your first opportunity to grab an employer’s attention. Even if you have some solid experience, if your CV is not well presented or is not tailored to the role, it could be overlooked. Make sure your CV is clear and concise with the most relevant experience at the top. Don’t forget to tweak your CV with every new application (remaining truthful of course) to ensure that your most relevant credentials are most prominent.
2. Your motivations weren’t clear
Before you reach an interview stage, a cover letter is your opportunity to explain a little about yourself and why you particularly want the role. Employers can often be baffled by an application and the motivations behind it and will be actively looking for reasons to narrow down their shortlist. For example, if you’re leaving a similar role at a good organization if you’ve only been in your current position a short time or you appear overqualified – an employer may question your motives. Make sure you fully explain your desire to join their company and make your motivations clear. Perhaps you are an avid supporter of the brand, or maybe you want to gain more experience in a specialist area.
3. Unprepared for interview
As the well-worn saying goes, ‘fail to prepare then prepare to fail’. Yes, preparation really is key for giving an excellent interview. Candidates can often let themselves down by not researching the company fully before going for an interview. Make sure you’re fully acquainted with the work of them, and you’ve thought carefully about how your skills and experience could impact positively on their business activities.
4. Not an ideal team fit
Alongside your skills and experience, employers are also looking for a strong team fit who is a good match for the ethos and outlook of their organization. Occasionally, employers might feel a technically strong candidate doesn’t have the right personality and approach for their particular organization. In general, strong communication skills and a confident, friendly personality are always coveted.
5. You didn’t seem like you wanted it
Let your enthusiasm be known! If you don’t appear keen and excited about the prospect of working at the company, the employer may assume you don’t really want the role. When employers are trying to decide between two strong candidates of similar ability, your obvious enthusiasm for the role could just be the deciding factor.
6. Someone with more experience came along
No matter how well you perform, there’s always the threat of the competition. You may have given an excellent interview, but if someone has a little more relevant experience than you-you could just lose out. With recent economic uncertainty, many employers are risk-averse when it comes to hiring, so may be looking for a candidate who has gained very specific skills at a very similar organization. So move on and gather some experience by doing an average job. Prove your competency over there.
How to Move on After Being Rejected
In order to learn from this difficult experience and refine your job search techniques, it’s important to reflect upon all aspects of your job search and interview process. By going through each step from phone screen to interview follow-up, you may be able to identify where your job search is getting bogged down.
If you’re having trouble figuring out why you aren’t getting hired, it can be helpful to enlist the input of a career counselor, a friend, or a professional connection in your industry of interest as you are conducting this assessment. They may be able to offer some perspective.