You’re perfect for the job. Every qualification is a match. The position was practically made for your skillset. And yet…the offer never comes.
You can’t help but wonder what you did. Was it something you said? Something you didn’t say? Will this same “something” prevent you from getting other offers in the future?
As a career coach, I often talk people off the proverbial ledge when things like this happen.
Yes, a little self-reflection is important and indeed helpful. Look back at your resume, your interview, your various interactions with the decision-makers and ask yourself what you could have done differently. There’s always room for improvement.
But recognize that sometimes it’s not about you at all.
You know that saying, “It’s not personal; it’s business”? Well, sometimes it really is true.
But often it’s got nothing to do with you. You may not get that gig for business reasons that you have little to no influence over. And I suggest that you keep that in mind should you find yourself in this position.
Most hiring decisions are made based on a variety of factors, many of which have nothing to do with you.
3 Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job That Aren’t About You
- You never had a shot to begin with. Many organizations require an open requisition period for hiring, even when the hiring manager already knows he or she is promoting an internal employee to fill the role. So an advertised job posting is just there to “check the box” for HR.
- You didn’t have an “in”. Employee referrals were the number one source for new external hires in 2013 while current employees took 42% of job openings. As an outsider without a meaningful connection, you just couldn’t compete.
- It’s political. Hiring decisions are often a part of a complicated web of politics—favors, power struggles, bureaucracy… You have no way of knowing what happened behind the scenes that led to the final outcome.
You might be perfect for the position, but when these other factors are in play, there’s little if anything you can do differently to get the offer. You’re simply an unwitting pawn in the game.
So yes, perform an honest self-critique and look for opportunities to improve. But don’t beat yourself up. Leave room for the possibility that there’s no “fixable” reason behind the decision. Sometimes, it’s just the way the chips fall.