30 Reasons why you don’t get the job

Are you one of those people who keep on getting invitations to job interviews but for some reason never get the job offered? This is a dilemma that many job seekers experience and recently a job seeker that I know faced the same situation. This article is dedicated to every job candidate who might be unaware of the reasons for being rejected. Find out more about the potential 30 (yes 30!) reasons why you don’t get the job!


30 Reasons why you don’t get the job


# 1 – You turned up too early to the interview.

No matter how excited you are about the job, make sure you don’t turn up too early (e.g. 15 minutes) for the interview. If you do so, the interviewer might perceive you as impolite, as someone who is desperate for the job and wants to put pressure of having to accommodate you as soon as you reach there.

reasons why you don't get the job # 2 – You turned up late to the interview.

Let’s be honest, turning up on time is equivalent to “You do not respect me! You do not really care about the job! You don’t take this job very seriously, isn’t it? You can’t be trusted. I can’t rely on you!” Imagine you would be a great candidate but your carelessness instantly puts you at a disadvantage by being unpunctual, wouldn’t that be a pity? Do you really want to be remembered as the candidate who turned up late or because of your skills, knowledge and experiences?

# 3 – You treated company staff rudely (e.g. the receptionist)

Believe it or not, but the final hiring decision is not always just taken by the Hiring Manager. Often, other staff’s opinion (people you might bump into at several stages in the hiring process) is often also considered, e.g. other interview panel members, the receptionist, etc. Remember to be friendly to every person you meet once you are on the company’s premises. The most insignificant employee might have a say in the final hiring decision, yes – even the janitor! Never underestimate this aspect! A boss wants to make sure that all team members get along well with each other, nobody would hire someone who does not fit in.

# 4 – You brought someone else along to the interview.

You are a grown-up, so make sure you don’t turn up to the interview with someone else, such as your mother, a friend or even your child (if you were not able to find someone for childcare). You might think it’s obvious, but I can tell you, it’s not! If someone accompanies you, then make sure they do it only until you reach the corporate premises and wait somewhere nearby until you are done.

# 5 – You got the recruiter’s name wrong or forgotten it completely.

If the recruiter has a difficult name to pronounce, then make sure you find out how to pronounce it correctly. But if you get it completely wrong or you don’t remember the name  of the person even though you had verbal or written communication with that person in the past, it will not reflect well on you.

reasons why you don't get the job # 6 – You were not dressed appropriately.

This could also be interpreted as “You didn’t do your research on how you should be dressed.” “You don’t care about the way you look.” “You don’t pay attention to detail.” “You are not polished enough for this job”. “You don’t respect others.” How would you feel about comments like these? Make sure your physical appearance and your attire are impeccable. Nobody is happy to see wrinkled and stained clothes, dusty shoes, dirty fingernails, greasy  and messy hair, etc.

# 7 – You didn’t follow instructions.

If you are expected to bring something along to the interview, let’s say your CV, your ID, driving licence, a list of references or a portfolio of your projects, and you don’t do it, it gives them instantly an idea about your reliability. If you can’t do this, what are they supposed to expect from you once you work there? Be reliable and bring along everything they ask you for. Your unreliability and your carelessness are further reasons why you don’t get the job.

# 8 – They will think you don’t stay there for a long time.

Imagine you are an IT guy, with a popular blog and vast experience in the IT industry. Suddenly you apply for a job which is in the food industry and not related at all to your IT skills. A recruiter would be highly sceptical whether you just apply for getting a pay check or whether you would really want to stay long term in that company. Every company wants to have loyal staff that stays in the company for many years. Having a low staff turnover is something every company would aim for. Let’s not forget the investment of time and money that it costs to hire new talent. So, if you planning to stay at a company only for a short time, it will also reflect bad on the company.

# 9 – Your body language was poor.

If your body language is not in sync with your words, what do you think people will believe, the words that come out from your mouth or the way you look and act? A weak handshake, slouching in your chair, lack of eye contact, looking constantly on your watch, fidgeting … these are all signs that will not convince a hiring manager to take you serious for the position.

reasons why you don't get the job

# 10 – You did not do your research properly.

One mistake that hiring managers are repeatedly mentioning when rejecting candidates is their lack of preparation with regard to the knowledge about the company and the job. If you think that being well informed about the company and the job does not really matter, you are mistaken. Competition is tough nowadays, if you don’t do your research – sooner or later – it will show up. You would be really naïve in thinking everyone else would also not do their research. There are smart people out there!

# 11 – You didn’t show any passion.

From your voice, your body language and your words it was clear that you were not excited enough about this job. Come on, you talk about being self-motivated, passionate and enthusiastic in your CV but when it comes to meeting you, the story is a completely different one. A recruiter wants to see, hear and feel that you are keen on working at their company. But if you have to force yourself to show your passion, you will be caught. Passion and enthusiasm have to come to you naturally, don’t fake it! How would you fake it in the long term? Reasons why you don’t get the job? Other candidates with the same skills, experiences and background as you, have something you don’t have – the so-called “PASSION Factor”.

# 12 – You were arrogant rather than self-confident.

Being confident is very important, it can be the one thing that makes you win or lose the job interview. But be cautious, if you are over-confident you might come across as arrogant. Nobody wants to hire arrogant people because they would have a negative impact on the rest of the team. Don’t be too casual, don’t keep your phone on the table while at the interview, etc. Don’t play the “I know it all” person who gets upset if any constructive feedback is given to you. For some job seekers, knowing the difference between arrogance and self-confidence is not always obvious.

reasons why you don't get the job # 13 – You smelt of garlic, smoke or had body odour.

Before you are going to the interview, make sure you take a shower, refrain from smoking and brush your teeth thoroughly (pack some mints in case you need them). Bear in mind that some people struggle with body odour issues even after taking a shower (which is caused due to other reasons, such as: their unhealthy diet, the side effect of taking certain medicines, a change of hormones, eating too much processed food or drinking excessively coffee, wearing synthetic clothes instead of cotton clothes etc.). In that case approach a GP and figure out how you can solve this embarrassing issue quickly and effectively.

# 14 – You didn’t listen carefully to the questions and didn’t answer them accordingly.

You didn’t prepare well for the basic questions and tried to give only general answers. You were not focused on what you were really asked. This shows that you don’t pay attention and are unable to promote yourself effectively. If the interviewer asks you the very popular question “Why should we hire you?” and you were only able to give a very vague response, nobody would be impressed. This is the first question you should always ask yourself before applying for any job! Think of 5-10 great reasons and you will dramatically increase your chances of being among the top candidates for the job!

# 15 – You just memorised your answers from a job interview book.

It’s not a secret, there are hundreds of resources available that teach you how to answer certain job interview questions; lots of books, internet resources, youtube videos etc. If your answers sound standard and memorized from a book, an experienced recruiter would be able to spot that. Rehearse your answers well but change your intonation when speaking, try to sound natural and spontaneous.

What are other reasons why you don’t get the job? 

# 16 – You were caught lying about your achievements.

If the interviewer starts testing your skills via test, is questioning your quantifiable achievements and you can’t back it up with some concrete proof, you will not be taken seriously. Nobody wants to hire a liar. Period. There are many liars out there, don’t be one of them!


reasons why you don't get the job # 17 – You criticised your boss/work colleagues.

No matter how tempted you feel to badmouth your former boss, company or work colleagues. Listening to negative comments about previous work relationships is not something that a prospective employer wants to hear, even though there are many candidates who do it and you might have your valid reasons. But think about it, what benefit would you get from it? None. It will simply make the hiring manager think that you would bad-mouth their company as well.


# 18 – You had NO questions for the interviewer.

If you don’t have any questions at all for the interviewer, you give the impression that you are not fully interested in the job. But make sure you don’t ask about salary and benefits first, or things that are already answered on their corporate website. Instead come up with really smart questions, e.g. by showing that you did your research also about their competitors. Reasons why you don’t get the job? Other smart candidates took the time to think about questions and even wrote them down, brought them to the interview and took notes about the details during the interview.


# 19 – You had too many questions for the interviewer.

Asking too many questions is also not a good strategy. Let me tell you why. Many years ago, I went to an interview and was very keen on that job, so I asked lots of questions. The problem was that the interviewer didn’t see my passion but asked me a counter-question at the end: “Did I pass the test?”. So, don’t make it look as if you would be interviewing the recruiter. Try to balance the number of questions based on how many questions you are being asked. Not every recruiter might react the same way as that recruiter did in my case. Some recruiters might think you are really interested in the job and company, while others might feel intimidated and insecure by this approach.

reasons why you don't get the job # 20 – You didn’t pass the “cultural fit” test. 

You came across as a great candidate in terms of your knowledge, experience etc. but it’s just your personality style that the recruiter would have an issue with. You were not able to connect with the hiring person in such a way that they could see you working there with other team members, solving problems, getting along, celebrating successes etc. Skills and experiences are important but so is also the cultural fit. If the chemistry is not right, you will lose out. Often the main reasons why you don’t get the job can really lie in the cultural fit  and your personality, even if you have all the qualifications, experiences and skills in the world.

# 21 – You were not memorable enough.

A recruiter will meet many candidates during the interview stage. To what extent did you stand out? Was there anything that made you really memorable to the recruiter? Maybe not, so you were easily forgettable. Think next time how you can stand out more by saying something unique and impressive. Some people try to stand out with their appearance or attire, e.g. an unusual (yet professional) tie, an eye-catching (yet professional) jacket etc. If your answers were just standard and your passion moderate, it’s easy to be forgotten in the process.

# 22 – You shared too much information.

If questions are being thrown at you, make sure you don’t provide too many details about it. Your statements might look unprofessional, unrelated or emotional. Keep it short and to the point. Don’t start discussing about your personal issues either, what negative experiences you had with your previous company etc. Your negative talk will just take away the focus of your positive qualities, believe me!

# 23 – You interrupted the interviewer.

If you interrupt others, you will be perceived as someone who is disrespectful and egoistic. Always let the interviewer complete their sentences, no matter how badly you want to jump into the discussion.

# 24 – You don’t remember what you wrote in your cover letter and resume.

If the hiring person gets a hint that you don’t remember what you mentioned in your own cover letter or/and CV you will looked at with suspicion. I would think “Did this person make up this stuff?” “Did the person hire someone else to write their application that they don’t remember what they mentioned?” “Does the person have blackouts?” So, make sure you know the content of your cover letter as well as CV inside out.

reasons why you don't get the job # 25 – You complained about everything.

Did you complain about the difficulty you had of finding the corporate premises, the long wait in the reception area, the tasteless coffee that they served you and other things? Then don’t be surprised if they reject you, nobody likes complainers!  Remain positive no matter how many negative experiences you are going to face.

# 26 – You didn’t’ emphasize at the end of the interview how much you really want the job.

You might have already let the interviewer know during the interview that you feel very keen on the job. There is no harm to emphasise one more (last) time that you would really love to work at that company. Do it not in a pushy way but softly. That last sentence might stick to the interviewer’s mind and give YOU that little extra to get you hired, you never know!

# 27 – After the interview you have forgotten to follow up.

Have you thought of writing a thank-you card after the interview? No? Then that could be a reason too for rejecting you compared to others. If you were a poor candidate, even a thank you note might not make a big difference. However, make the effort to write a handwritten thank you note on nice stationary or at least an email. This gesture shows the interviewer that you really care about the job and that you are courteous. Many job candidates don’t think of sending a thank you note, so don’t be like them. Use every opportunity you get to stand out in a positive way! If you really want to differentiate yourself, then make a thank you video! That’s the suggestion I give to candidates in my job interview coaching sessions.


reasons why you don't get the job # 28 – Your online presence is inappropriate.

Many highly qualified and experienced professionals don’t pay much attention to this, but it’s a fact: YOU will be googled (read this for more insights http://careerheads.com/you-will-be-googled/).

If a recruiter comes across negative comments, racists/sexist messages, vulgar pictures, inappropriate videos, and much more on several social media accounts, you just sabotaged unconsciously your own changes for the job. Polish your online presence, it does make a difference. Use it as an opportunity to shine and show your personality, skills, experiences, knowledge and networks, rather than being rejected for what you post online. These are real reasons why you don’t get the job. Companies want to feel proud of their employees, not embarrassed about them!


# 29 – Your references were poor.

When the interviewer approached those people who you mentioned on your list of references, they didn’t really recommend you as a great candidate. If they ask you for references, make absolutely sure that you ask those people first, and that they endorse you 100 % in a positive way.


# 30 – A well-connected person got the job.

Sometimes (unfortunately) it also happens that the hired candidate is already known, but that candidates have to go through an “official” hiring process in order to make it look like that the company followed proper recruitment practices. Sad but true. If you have connections that’s often all you need, even though you might by far not be the best candidate for that job. In that case, there is no reason to doubt yourself!

If you need any job interview coaching, please get in touch with me. I’m happy to help you. How to STAND OUT in a job interview, is something I’m particularly good at! karin@careerheads.com 

What was your biggest takeaway today from this article “30 Reasons why you don’t get the job?” 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.

0 thoughts on “30 Reasons why you don’t get the job

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *