When it comes to job hunting, you will not always know why you didn’t secure the job you wanted. Sometimes, you may even get in for the interview and feel like you aced it and, in all fairness, that job should have been yours but it isn’t.

Aside from the common reasons for not being chosen by the hiring manager, there are other “easy to miss” reasons why you could sit for a job interview, come out confident but still not get hired. In this article, we pick out 4 that are common and also point out what you could do differently next time you set out to look for a job.

1. Your application needs work.

Your application letter or E-mail is the first impression a hiring manager has of you and is the first step to getting an interview. If your resume doesn’t highlight your abilities well, is missing a sense of uniqueness or lacking keywords, you will likely not be chosen from the pack. When writing your next application, keep in mind that the recruiter will look at thousands of other people like you so it is in your best interest to make the effort to stand out. For example, it is very common for applicants to copy and paste templates off the internet or try to manipulate recruiters with crammed statements. This rarely works especially on seasoned recruitment experts because they have seen it all before.

Enhance your resume with an interesting introduction to get the hiring manager’s attention. Focus your application on your previous successes and accomplishments, not duties and activities and tailor your resume to each job you apply for. Even if two jobs are very similar, you still want to read the job posts and pick out the desired keywords and skills.

2. You didn’t research the company.
In instances where the company invites you for a direct interview, employers will always ask questions to test a candidate’s knowledge of the company and the job. They want to know whether a potential employee has taken the time to learn about the organization and shows a true interest in working there. The decision to walk into an interview without sufficient knowledge about the company is one of the surest ways to signal to the recruiter that this job is not very important to you.

We have heard stories where the employer asks the candidate if they have any questions at the end of the interview and the candidate asks, “So, what do you do here?” meaning they just showed up without knowing what the company does or how they can contribute to the vision.
We live in times where it is very easy to find any information you want especially in regard to public information like company details. A simple Google search or a prowl through social media can get you a lot of data on most organizations that can help you not only tailor your application to them but also serve as an icebreaker to connect with the hiring manager.

Before you head out for your next interview, spend some time researching the company online and learning some basic information that could prove useful in your dialogue and negotiations.

3. Your expectations are too high.
We cannot stress enough how important it is to tailor your job-hunting approach to the specific job, organization or industry. Some companies go the extra mile of specifying the job levels and experience required to guide you on setting expectations but unfortunately many candidates overlook these small details.

Sometimes life will turn tables on you as was the case for most people in 2020 and when this happens, you may need to take a step back, become more flexible and rethink what is ideal for you even if that is just on temporary basis. For example, if you were a top-level manager in a multi-national telecom company that suddenly closed in the middle of the pandemic and you are thrown back in the job market, you cannot apply for a managerial job at a start up or growing tech company expecting the same seven zero salary, benefits or perks as your last job irrespective of how qualified, experienced or deserving you are. The easiest solution is to niche out who you apply to but going into an interview with a list of non-negotiable requirements may be a red flag for employers.

Do you research prior and always be ready to negotiate with a reasonable amount of flexibility.

4. There is an issue with your references.

References are useful for hiring managers because they attest to the skills and experiences a candidate has listed on their resume. Lacking appropriate references, or having no references, can affect your eligibility for a job.

For example, if you have listed 5 different places you worked before but none of them has a representative among your references, this could be interpreted as a warning sign to the recruiter. Could it be that you were always getting fired for inappropriate behavior and poor performance? Could you be lying about where you have worked before? A lot of unpleasant assumptions can run through the employers’ minds in such a scenario. Similarly, do not list references unless you are sure they would vouch for you. One way to solve this is by having a conversation with them prior to listing them so that they expect the call and say the right things.

Be sure to reach out to individuals that can confirm your abilities and would be willing to recommend you for a job. References are usually former bosses or co-workers, but can also be former professors, vendors or colleagues you worked closely with. Make sure your references are reliable and aware of the specific job you are applying to.

Do you think you fall somewhere in these 4 categories? It is possible to pivot for better! Now that you know the possible reasons that may be preventing you from succeeding in the hiring process, you can take action to become a better candidate impress hiring managers.

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