Every job application, interview, rejection and success is unique. Several factors impact the hiring process which make it difficult to predict the outcome. Even if you’ve given a fantastic interview or have an exemplary CV, there may just be someone with a little nugget of additional experience who pips you to the post.

The difficulty is, you may never know. In many cases, employers will not provide feedback as to why you didn’t get the job. As a recruitment specialist, we always try to provide our candidates with interview feedback, but this isn’t always forthcoming from our clients.
If you’ve experienced a job rejection recently, here are a few possible explanations why:

1. Your CV didn’t sell you
In a competitive market, your CV really needs to stand out from crowd. Even if your CV has some good experience listed on it, it may well be overlooked if it doesn’t grab the attention of the reader. A good CV is a strong combination of relevant skills and experience with clear, concise presentation. Don’t waffle and remember to tweak your CV with each new job application so it’s tailored to that particular role.

2. Your motivations weren’t clear
Remember, if an employer has received a large volume of applications, they’ll be actively looking for reasons to eliminate candidates and narrow down their selection. Sometimes an employer will be unsure of the reasons why a candidate is applying. For example, your CV may indicate that you’re a little overqualified for a role, but you might be particularly keen to work for the organisation or gain more experience in that particular sector. This is where a detailed cover letter can be useful. Don’t get rejected just because you didn’t explain why you wanted the role.

3. You didn’t demonstrate your knowledge
A lack of interview preparation can sometimes result in candidates failing to show the true extent of their knowledge and experience. Make sure you have fully researched the company and are able to communicate how your skills are a good fit for their business. Also, have a number of strong examples at the forefront of your mind in case you’re asked to talk about specific scenarios in which you had a positive impact.

4. Not a good team fit
Team fit refers to how well you match the company’s ethos and outlook. This has a lot to do with your personality and soft skills – which can be hard to measure. In some cases, you may not necessarily have done anything wrong but you might just not gel with your interviewer or might have a different approach towards the work. However, demonstrating strong communication skills and a confident yet friendly demeanour will always stand you in good stead.

5. You didn’t seem like you wanted it
Sounds obvious enough, but some candidates simply don’t show their enthusiasm for the company or role they are applying to. Sometime this can be down to nerves, but it’s important to show some genuine excitement about the position. If there are two very similar candidates vying for the same role – an employer may base their decision on an individual’s eagerness to take the role if offered.

6. Someone with more experience came along
Yes, sometimes it’s simply beyond your control. You may have a strong CV and have put in an excellent performance at interview – but the competition was too strong. This can often come down to sector experience, i.e. someone came along who has done an extremely similar role in a similar organisation in the same sector.

In uncertain economic times, employers are often times risk averse and not want to risk hiring outside of their sectors. This can be limiting for them and frustrating for you, but don’t let it knock your confidence.

7. Your experience didn’t meet the specific criteria
If you were rejected without interview, it may be because your CV didn’t match the specific criteria for the role. Employers should make sure all essential attributes are fully outlined in the job advert/job description. Always ensure that you have met any essential criteria (such as specific experience or academic qualifications) before applying.


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