You customized your resume and cover letter. Sailed through the screening interview. And when you interviewed with the hiring manager, you left feeling good about your chances.
Then the dreaded email arrives: “Thank you for applying, but this position has been filled.”
What went wrong?
It’s so frustrating. Sometimes, factors outside your control cause an employer to choose another candidate – particularly if they are better qualified or have more recent and relevant work experience. But other times, there are things that, had you done them differently, may have tipped the scales in your favor.
Here are 4 potential reasons you didn’t get the job, with tips you can try the next time around:
Reason #1: You made a rookie interviewing mistake.
Arriving late. Appearing disheveled. Checking your phone. Being overbearing or overconfident. Simple missteps like these can cost you the job. This post reviews fundamental interview mistakes and ways to keep from repeating them. If you’ve been passed over for a job, think back through your interview. Jot down a list of minor mistakes you may have made and vow not to do the same things twice.
Reason #2: You played the blame game.
Employers realize that everyone makes mistakes, but they want to hire responsible, accountable, and professional people – and take charge of fixing those errors. Pointing fingers, blaming a “toxic culture” for your shortcomings, and/or speaking negatively about a former employer never reflect positively on you. They’re huge interview red flags that will quickly knock you out of contention.
So, skip the blame game even if your boss was evil, even if bureaucracy prevented you from getting work done. Focus on the positive aspects of your work experiences, the contributions you made, and the ways you learned and grew by overcoming challenges.
Reason #3: You never followed up.
Once the interview is over, your job is done, right? Wrong. Hiring managers scrutinize the way you follow up, because it’s a good indicator of your professionalism, interest level, and how you’ll perform on the job. In this post, we share tips to make a positive, lasting impression on your interviewer by mastering the lost art of the follow-up. And this post shares tips for writing an unforgettable thank you note.
Reason #4: Your references fell short.
The references you provide to a potential employer can make or break your chances of landing an offer – and yet many job seekers overlook this part of the job search. In addition to verifying dates of employment and job responsibilities, employment references can speak about your strongest personal and/or professional qualities, explain why you’d be a great hire, and serve as a true advocate for your candidacy. This post shares guidelines for choosing the right employment references – and the five best types of people you should ask.
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