12 reasons you didn't get the job

Not getting the positions you think you should? Here are a few questions to ask yourself, and things to think about when looking for a new job.

1. Your CV didn't hit the mark.

It goes without saying that your CV should always be tailored to the employer you are sending it to, doesn't it? You don't mean you have been sending out the same generic CV to everyone? Well, that is almost certainly mistake number one. Always try to edit your CV to the specific job: make sure you show as clearly as possible the qualifications and skills necessary for the position, and do some research into the industry and the role (beyond just reading the job description), as this will give you a much more rounded idea of what is required than the often quite simplified job description. Remember, the more vague you are, the more uninterested you will appear to the company. Never ever lie on your CV. This is paramount. You will be found out and then, most likely you will be Alan Sugared.


2. You didn't include a covering email.

It doesn't take much time to put a covering letter in with your application. Keep it clear, concise and relatively short. Flesh out your suitability, your unique qualifications and experience. Simply put, answer 'Why should I interview you?'. Try to avoid the usual interview platitudes, and a small but important point: make sure it is addressed to the right person. Research shows that well over half of all CVs sent out are mailed to the wrong person. Linkedin is a powerful tool. Use it.

3. Too many people applied for the job.

This is a sad but true indication of the times we live in, and sometimes there is little you can do about it, although if you suspect you application is lying unopened under a pile of post, or in someone’s inbox, maybe a polite call to the employer to check if they have received it might help. In fact, I have said this before. 99% of the time this is the case. Pick up the phone.

4. The job wasn't real / has been withdrawn.

Sometimes it is employers’ policy to advertise for a job, even though they know the post will likely be filled internally, and sometimes jobs are withdrawn, occasionally when they realise they are getting on quite well with the position unfilled or budgets have been cut. Some agencies will post job adverts just to pull in candidates!

5. You didn't follow up on your CV

This kind of goes back to point three. Most employer are inundated with applications and a call to follow up checking on the receipt of your application show a diligent nature. Make sure you have a copy of your covering letter when you make the call, so if you do get a chance to talk further, you are fully prepared. Particularly if the position requires some sales! Show a little tenacity!

4. Lack of preparation for the interview.

I have covered this in some depth previously in this blog, so please read that for more details. But to reiterate: there is no such thing as being too prepared.

5. Getting there too early.

ALWAYS aim to be early for an interview, but don't overdo it sitting staring at a receptionist for an hour is equally likely to unnerve you and them! Getting there too early can make employers feel uncomfortable or guilty for keeping you hanging around, and that's not a good place to start an interview. Sitting about sweating and looking like a lemon as the previous interviewee is seen out is not a good look! Be 10 mins early, no more!

6. Appearance matters.

Again, I have mentioned this before, but impressions are important. Dress specifically to type of industry you are applying to, suits are standard, but more casual for media etc. The main thing is to make sure whatever the industry standard is, that what you are wearing is clean and ironed and fits you – an ill-fitting garment will make you uncomfortable and consequently affect your performance. And I hate to say it, but be aware of how you smell, overdoing the aftershave/deodorant/perfume can be equally as off-putting as under doing it – also clean shoes and fingernails often get mentioned in HR surveys.

7. Sometimes it is just how your personality fits.

Remember, the interviewer will be looking at how well you will fit into the team and the office culture, and sometimes these things will outweigh the fact that you have the ideal qualifications and experience. NEVER mention allegiance to any football team!

8. You didn't know enough about the company.

Research is paramount, and there is nothing worse than desperately trying to blag your way into a company that you had barely heard of before you walked through the doors. Check them out online at the very least and remember to prepare questions for them expanding on the knowledge you have gained. There is much more about this in earlier blogs.

9. Being unprofessional during the interview.

Behaviour at an interview is mostly about respect and getting the balance right. The chances are you have never met these people before and it will be almost impossible to judge their characters, so it is always best to keep the extremes of your personality in check. Always appear interested and engaged, always be polite and respectful. Passion is one thing but be careful it doesn't verge on aggression or coming across slightly unhinged. Try not to be over familiar with the interviewer or invade their personal space. Try to avoid talking at length about your personal life and problems and even if you have worked for the arch nemesis of the company that is interviewing you, slagging off your old employers is never a good move – it just makes you look bitter or difficult. No one wants to hire bitter, difficult people.

10. Not knowing what you could bring to the table.

'So, (fill in as applicable), what exactly do you think you can bring to Multiglobalcorp Industries?' This is fundamentally one of the core things an interviewer will want to know, and one interviewees are often unprepared to answer. Be acutely aware of the position you have applied for: try to explain how you would excel in the role, using your past experience to show what a positive impact you can have on a company's performance.

11. Try not to ramble.

Full and precise answer to the interviewers questions are one thing, going off on random tangents or padding out answers to seem like you know what you are saying is another thing entirely. Everybody is nervous in an interview situation, but try to not to let those nerves lead you into a bout of verbal diarrhoea. I am totally guilty of this. Stop, think, breath. It isn’t a race to see how many words you can get in!

12. Following up post interview.

Never assume that because the interview is over that that is the end of it. Thank you letters reiterating your interest in the position show an extra level of pro-activity, that might make all the difference in a close call situation. It could also give you an opportunity to push any points that may have been left out at the time or to follow up on anything that might have been brought up during the interview. Did you hand over up to date testimonials at the end of the interview? If not, why not!

People are often their own worst enemies.