Your resume perfectly fits the job description, you’ve been hearing positive feedback from HR, and… what?! You weren’t hired? Don’t take it personally – there are a whole slew of reasons outside your control (and sometimes in your control) why you may have been passed up for the job you wanted. Often, the reason you weren’t hired is only distantly correlated to your strength and fit for the position. Here are 7 reasons why you may not have gotten the job:
1. You weren’t qualified
Recruiters say that over half of job applicants for a given job aren’t qualified – and sometimes even more. Don’t be surprised when you don’t hear back if you only met 50 percent of the qualifications. But on the other hand, myopically applying for only the jobs you are fully qualified you for can limit your options. Applying for a job that asks for 6 years of experience when you only have 4 isn’t overly idealistic. Go for It.
2. The company is going through a hiring freeze
Sometimes HR will post jobs online even though the company is going through internal turmoil, and actually hasn’t hired anyone in a year. A hiring freeze could also take effect when you’re in the interview process, in which case you could unceremoniously be dropped out of the running. This might also be something HR doesn’t want you to know, because they don’t want news to spread about why the freeze had to happen.
3. The position was filled internally
Internal candidates generally have first dibs on a role than a new hire coming into the company. In fact, sometimes an internal candidate was the only one being considered all along, but the company has a policy about publically posting jobs. The job could have only had the illusion of being open, but was actually reserved for someone else from the start. Again, don't get down on yourself.
4. They were hiring for fit
Even if your resume perfectly fit the qualifications and your cover letter was stellar, there’s no guarantee you’ll land the job. It depends on where you’re interviewing, but many workplaces are increasingly concerned with building a cohesive company culture. Research company culture on Glassdoor beforehand so you have a better idea of what they’re looking for.
5. You made a not-so-great impression on HR
When HR is looking at a talented pool of applicants, even one misstep can be reason enough to cost you the gig. No matter how talented you are, it’s always important to be courteous, professional and kind to the people who are hiring you.
6. You were over-qualified
If a hiring manager is looking for someone to do a specific job that you seem over-qualified for, they might take the less-qualified applicant for budget reasons or because the role was more junior than your qualifications. Hopefully, you will quickly be rewarded for your skills elsewhere!
7. The company went through a restructuring
Hiring can be put on hold during a major restructuring, during which HR will be reevaluating their priorities for what kind of job positions they need. If you’re still really excited about the company, don’t give up hope – let HR know that you’re interested in any future positions that might come up.
Whatever the reason, not landing a particular job shouldn't prevent you from continuing to search. There are plenty of ways to address each of the previously mentioned reasons why you may not have landed the job. Review your resume, tap your network, get a referral and get back out there. The job search may not be easy, but scoring a job you love is well worth the wait.
Editor's Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.
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