“Thank you for your interest in applying for the position of […] at [the company]. However, we regret to inform you that we have selected another candidate who is a better match for the position.”
This is the message that no applicants want to receive. Some employers don’t even bother to inform you. Rejection sucks in every way yet it’s an inevitable part of job hunting. So now you start wondering why you didn’t get the job. Sometimes it’s just bad luck, but often there is something you’re doing wrong in your job search or interviews.
Here are five reasons why you may not get a job offer
1. Were you late?
Being punctual is the most basic rule when it comes to job hunting—never show up late for a job interview. No matter what kind of undesirable situations you were in, whether it’s the traffic jam or you missed your alarm, being late is simply unacceptable. If you know that you’re going to be late, make sure you call and inform the interview organizer about it instead of just showing up late.
Put yourself in the employer’s shoes, what would you think of a candidate who can’t even show up for an interview on time? It’s not wrong to assume that he or she isn’t taking the opportunity seriously, or worse, the person is unreliable.
If you do happen to be late, your only chance of redemption is to own it. Acknowledge that you were late, apologize, and then thank them for their willingness to still see you. The worst thing you can do is to pretend they didn’t notice.
2. Did you follow the instructions?
Before the interview, most hiring managers will ask the applicants to prepare and bring along certain documents that they require such as birth certificate, IDs, portfolio, several copies of resume. And they expect you to dress appropriately for the interview.
If you failed to comply with the requirements, see it as a red flag already because if you cannot follow these instructions or if you are making up excuses for why you’re not prepared, expect that they view that as an indication of how you will respond to job duties. This was your first assignment and you failed.
3. Were you under or overqualified?
First of, being under-qualified doesn’t mean that you have zero chance of getting the job. You might not have all the skills required for the position but, you should at least have relevant transferable skills. Aim to apply for jobs where you realistically fit.
But, if you’re overqualified for the position, don’t be surprised that you might get rejected because of that. Having a long list of work experience and achievements may seem impressive but some hiring managers might think that an overqualified candidate is a flight risk especially if the role is not really challenging. He or she might get bored with the job easily and quit once they find a better opportunity.
If you’re are aware that you’re overqualified, make sure you explain clearly why you want to get this job even if you might get a pay cut. For example, you wish to make a career switch and learn something new from a different industry. Show your willingness to learn instead of focusing on your glorious past work experience that might not be relevant to the new role.
4. Did you lie?
If you think the employer won’t find out about it, think again. They have all the means to investigate and verify your background if they want to. So, before you lie about anything, no matter if it’s a white lie or not, don’t ever do it. You might think that lying about having more achievements might increase your chance of getting the job, but in fact it could cost you the job.
Be truthful about your work experience and answer every interview questions honestly. It’s better to show them what you can do instead of setting yourself up as an expert when you actually don’t know much about it.
5. Were your expectations too high?
Although money is not the sole reason why you are applying, it’s still one of the biggest motivators. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a higher salary as long as you can bring as much value to the company.
Most companies require you to write your expected salary on the job application, along with your salary history. When asked, give them an accurate amount that you think you deserve but be ready for negotiation. You can get a pretty good estimation of what your expected salary should be based on your last drawn salary and how long were you taking that amount for. If you have been stuck at the same pay for years but you’re confident that your skills are worth more what you’re getting, don’t be afraid to pay for a higher expected salary.
But, putting an overly high expected salary will cut you off immediately from the shortlist of possible candidates as it might exceed the company’s hiring budget for the role.
All of these mistakes can be avoided with the right practice and preparation. Give yourself some time to assess and analyze where you may be falling short and how you can strategize to make a stronger impression.
After all, no hiring manager is going to tell you exactly why you didn’t make the cut. But, if you’ve been to many interviews and not getting offers, it’s very likely that one of these mistakes is to blame.