30 Reasons why you don’t get the job interview

Many job seekers approach me with the same dilemma. “I’m sending out lots of applications, why do I never get a response from the Hiring Manager/recruiter?” In this article I would like to dig deeper and provide a list of 30 possible reasons why you don’t get the  job interview.

Usually job seekers are supposed to submit at least two documents: a cover letter and a resume. Let’s find out what the reasons are for not getting invited to a job interview.

If after reading this, you feel stuck and wonder why you keep on going to job interviews but never get the job offered, then read this article in which you will find out another 30 reasons why that might be the case.


30 Reasons why you don’t get the job interview



reasons why you don't get the job interview



# 1 – Your cover letter is completely missing.

There are some people who are convinced that Hiring Managers don’t even read any cover letters. That might be the case for some, but surely not for all. A cover letter is an additional promotional tool that every client should use to increase their chances to get invited for the interview.


# 2 – Your cover letter is poor.

If your cover letter is poor and you are not able to highlight why YOU would make a great job candidate, a recruiter might just instantly lose interest in your application.


# 3 – You made mistakes (grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.)

Not proofreading or being aware of your mistakes in your cover letter as well as CV just shows that you don’t really care, that you don’t pay attention to detail, that you are superficial and don’t work professionally. Is this really the impression you want to leave? Use software, but ask also another person for their opinion. By looking at your application documents can they spot any mistakes?  Remember, every recruiter is looking for reasons to put your application on the rejection pile, don’t give them an additional reason to do so by making these kind of mistakes.


# 4 – Your cover letter is just a standard letter with no customisation.

If you want to land an interview, you should customize both documents (cover letter and resume) to  that particular company and job position. A recruiter can easily see whether this is just a general/standard document or whether it is directly related to their vacancy.


reasons why you don't get the job interview # 5 – Your cover letter is too long.

It should ideally be one page and highlight your achievements and the reasons why you would be the perfect match! Sell yourself as a problem-solver (for the company’s hiring problem) and not a job beggar!


# 6 – Your cover letter is too short.

If you just send a cover letter with 2-3 lines as a short formal letter saying you are attaching your CV for their review, it doesn’t make a great impression. You undersell yourself, you don’t use the opportunity to justify why you would be the perfect match!


# 7 – The design is awful.

If your letter is hard to read due to different fonts and sizes that you used, it would put people instantly off. Why taking that risk?


# 8 – You included a profile picture.

This tip depends on the country you live in. While in some countries (e.g. Germany), adding a profile pictures to an application is  standard practice (or even requested), this practice does not exist in other countries (e.g. the UK). They would reject you for discrimination reasons.


# 9 – You wrote the person’s name wrong.

I have often seen people misspelling my name, not just my surname but also my first name. This would be a reason for me as a recruiter to not consider a candidate. It shows lack of attention and carelessness. I did reject once a candidate who wrote a thank you note because of misspelling my name. And guess what? There were other 2 candidates who also wrote me a thank you message but they got my name right!! Think about it! How would you feel if you would think that those 3-4 seconds that you did not pay attention to type the person’s name correctly was the final cause of you not getting the job?


# 10 – You wrote your application by hand.

Well, we live in a highly technological world, don’t make the mistake to send your cover letter/resume in your handwriting, no matter how beautiful and neat it is – it would make you look out-dated. Unless, they explicitly ask you to submit one document in handwriting.




reasons why you don't get the job interview # 11 – You’ve chosen the wrong format.

If the employer wants your resume as a word file, don’t send it as a pdf file or any other format. Respect what they ask for. If a company uses a computer software program and screens applications using certain keywords, your application might not get noticed if you don’t include those crucial keywords (that usually you find in the job ad). Your resume would straight not make it to the selected candidates. Make sure you find out what the employer’s preference is in terms of how they want you to apply (online, per post, etc.). Furthermore, if you don’t listen to those instructions it also shows that you don’t follow their rules. You would instantly sabotage your own application. Do you really want to do that?


# 12 – Your lack of skills, qualifications, etc.

If you don’t meet the job requirements and person specification details outlined in the job ad, they will not consider you. Competition is too tough and time is scarce. Nobody wants to waste their time. Thus, apply only for positions where you really meet all the requirements that they are asking for.


# 13 – You seem to be overqualified.

If you are overqualified your chances are very little to be considered. An employer would be scared of hiring you, thinking that as soon as you come across a better opportunity, you would leave their company. That would mean the recruiter would have to invest again time and money in looking for someone else. Unless, it is a position where the company is really struggling to find a candidate, and you would be their only choice.


# 14 – You did not submit all the details that the company was looking for.

Forgetting or purposely not submitting what the company asks for, shows that you don’t take the job seriously, you don’t care, you are superficial, you are forgetful  and you don’t pay attention to detail.


# 15 – Your achievements are missing.

Many job seekers make the mistake that they just list their job responsibilities without thinking that an employer would want to know in a more detailed, concrete and quantifiable way what you achieved in your different jobs. Everyone would be impressed by a candidate who can show what impact s/he made on the company’s success. Listing your job responsibilities does not reveal anything about how well you performed in your tasks.


# 16 – You were a job hopper.

If a compdo any is looking for someone to stay long-term at their company, it could raise a red flag to someone who looks at your job history in which you gained too many diverse jobs for different time periods.


# 17 – You lack certain credentials.

If the company wants someone who is a registered member of a particular industry association, and you are not, they might always give the preference to those candidates who do have the required membership.


# 18 – The relevant experience is missing.

Employers are sometimes very specific when it comes to candidates who have a particular experience in a specific type of industry. They know that that candidate has the insider information, the required knowledge in order to get tasks done quicker, better and more efficiently. If you don’t have it, someone else will be chosen instead. Unfortunately recruiters have the tendency to hire people who have already worked in the same industry having done a similar job.


reasons why you don't get the job interview # 19 – You haven’t made it clear how this job would fit into your career plan.

If a company feels that you apply for a job that is completely different than your previous career history shows, then someone might get suspicious. Are you just applying for getting a pay check? Let’s say you were working in a small company and suddenly you want to be the Head of Security of a big airport, how are you going to convince them to hire you?


# 20 – Your interest did not shine through.

If in your cover letter and CV your interest for the position does not come through, you will lose out.


# 21 – You have employment gaps.

Recruiters are not happy to see employment gaps, particularly if there are no valid reasons for them. So, make sure you always have a good justification for it.


# 22 – Your online image is poor.

We all know it, recruiters check candidates’ background via social media sites. Often only shortly before considering of hiring them, but sometimes they also do it before deciding whether someone should be invited for an interview or not. Make sure there are no inappropriate pictures, comments, videos, messages etc. to be seen online. It can really make a difference on whether you get the job or not. Unfortunately not always people know the difference as to what is acceptable and what is unacceptable online.


# 23 – You live in the wrong area.

If an employer needs to hire local people, and you are not prepared to commute or relocate, guess what? They will find someone else, like it or not!


# 24 – You missed the deadline for submitting your application documents. 

If a deadline for the submission of your application is given and you miss it, what do you think is an employer going to think? “This person is not reliable. This person does not care. This person does not pay attention to detail. This person does not respect our rules. If the person does not respect these rules now, what else is the person going to disregard in the future?”


reasons why you don't get the job interview # 25 – You compete against an internal candidate.

In this case, it is difficult to do something about it if you are competing against an internal candidate. Your chances might be limited and you would just have to accept the fact that an insider got hired instead.


# 26 – Other candidates have strong references from other trusted people working there.

If you are lacking references or have poor references, there will be other candidates who have lists and references lined up to make them shine. Often a simple referral from a well-trusted person might have the last say in a hiring decision, you never know. Thus, if you would know someone who could refer you to the recruiter, YOU would have an edge too!


# 27 – The company’s priorities have changed and the job search has been put on hold.

Sometimes it also can occur that the company doesn’t require the person anymore that previously they thought they would need to hire. Due to a change of circumstances, the position might not be available anymore. No matter how badly you want the job, there is little you can do about it.


# 28 – Your resume is too long and goes back 20 years.

If you are a more senior professional with a really long work history, don’t write all the details of your last 20 years work history. Focus ideally on the last 10 years only and your achievements, especially in those areas that relate to the job you are applying to.


# 29 – Your salary expectations are unrealistic.

If in the job ad you are asked to specify your salary expectation and it is far too high or too low, it might give them a reason to see you either as an overqualified or under-qualified candidate. Do your research on salary-checking websites (e.g. www.Glassdoor.com) and get a realistic idea on what certain jobs salaries are.


# 30 – The corporate fit is not there.

If a young start-up company is looking for a marketing manager and the job candidate is in his 50s, other team members might think the person would have difficulty in fitting into a group of people in their 20s. Even though there are laws that would prohibit it to discriminate against candidates, real life often shows something else. Check out in advance the corporate culture (e.g. via social media, website, etc.) and see whether you can really see yourself working there.


What was your biggest takeaway today from this article “30 Reasons why you don’t get the job interview?” I would appreciate it if you could leave a comment and/or vote for the article. If you know anyone who could benefit from this article, it would be great if you could share it. You will be helping them out and me too! Thanks!


Author: Karin Schroeck-Singh

Karin Schroeck-Singh is a trilingual Career Optimizer at www.Careerheads.com. She has an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and gained 20 years of international work experience in various industries in Italy, the UK and India. Her passion lies in creating multilingual, high-quality content in career matters, giving highly engaging public speeches and helping job seekers to optimize their career by providing professional coaching. She is the author of several ebooks, among them “44 Tips for a successful Video Interview” (http://careerheads.com/product/ebook-44-tips-for-a-successful-video-interview/). She has written several career and business articles for international HR and Marketing companies. Her favourite motto is “Learn from anyone, anywhere, anytime!” Follow her on Twitter @CareerHeads.

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