Rejected again? Here’s why I didn’t hire you.
As a recruiting firm, we’ve sent many letters like this one:
It’s not easy knowing the person on the receiving end is going to be very disappointed when it arrives- especially when we know the candidate walked out the door feeling confident she is, in her eyes, a “shoe-in” for the role. That’s not always the case from our perspective. A good resume will get you through the door, but it’s a strong interview that will determine whether or not you will be offered a chance to stay as a new employee, or send you back from whence you came.
6 Reasons your Interview didn’t land you the Job
1. You’re not prepared. Few people can actually “wing” an interview. No one should try. If you are serious about working for my company, do your research. Learn about who we are: our philosophy, industry ranking, successes, culture, products and services, and where there is room for growth that only YOU can provide.
2. You’re so busy trying to be “Everything to Everyone” you didn’t showcase how you’re different. Even if you are a rock star employee who religiously shows up on time, is willing to put in extra hours to get the job done, lead and collaborate, no one can do it all with equal skill – we all have our core strengths. Of course you want to show that you are a team player who is willing to step up and step in where needed – but I want to know where you really shine and how you are different from the other 10 people I interviewed for this job. Use the interview to showcase those strengths. Keep in mind, you are interviewing for a specific job in a specific department. What do you have to offer that will improve that department? How will you complement my existing team and add incremental value? I don’t expect you to do it all. I expect you to do the job I’m hiring you for- show me why you are the best candidate to do that.
3. It’s just not the right “fit”. You are looking to get in with a company that has a loosely structured culture- no walls, flexible work schedules, and a collaborative environment. Our company has long been established as a traditional corporate work environment with a structured hierarchy and a typical 8-5 workday. Clearly, we are not the right “fit” for you. It’s nothing personal, we just won’t get along.
4. Your resume doesn’t match the person who walked through the door. On paper you’re a super star sales professional. The impact you had at your previous employer increased sales by 17% in just six months! You’ve done inside sales, channel sales, B2B and B2C. You’ve obviously done it all. However, you are unable to give me specifics about any of it. In fact, upon further discussion it appears you did not lead the charge in most of the sales you are taking ownership of. I’m not looking for a sales super hero- be honest about your strengths and accomplishments. They speak for themselves.
5. You didn’t ask any questions. WE might be interviewing YOU, but you should be interviewing US as well. You must have some questions- I hope you have some questions. Not only does this show that you’ve done your research about who we are, but it demonstrates your inquisitiveness and desire to be an active member of our team.
6. You didn’t follow up. This is one tradition that is NOT going out of style. Acknowledging an interview with a hand-written (ideally) note shows me you are taking your job search seriously. It is an example of your desire to be remembered beyond the interview, keeping you fresh in my mind. You have no idea if you are the 1st or the 50th candidate I’ve spoken to. So why not go the extra mile to show your interest in becoming a part of our team and possibly placing yourself ahead of the crowd by going the extra mile to be courteous.
“It’s not you, it’s me” isn’t always the case when it comes to interviewing. Oftentimes, it is you. Your interview is your time to shine, your opportunity to demonstrate your value proposition and why you are not only a good fit, but the best fit for our company. Put your best foot forward by doing your research, arriving on time and looking your best, being inquisitive and actively engaging in the conversation, highlighting your skills and what you can add to our company by coming on board.
About the Authors
Ken Schmitt is the President and Founder of TurningPoint Executive Search and the Sales Leadership Alliance. Specializing in placing sales, marketing and operations professionals across the country, Ken’s 16 years of recruiting experience have equipped him with the knowledge to serve as a thought partner to his clients for all recruiting, hiring and human capital-related initiatives. Ken sits on the board of Junior Achievement, the American Marketing Association, the San Diego HR Roundtable and is an Advisory Board Member for San Diego Sports Innovators (SDSI).
Vicky Willenberg has served as the Social Media Manager for TurningPoint since 2011. In 2014, she was elevated to Digital Marketing Manager, broadening her participation across all things digital for the firm. A former teacher with a Masters in Education, Vicky is an active and published blogger at The Pursuit of Normal and a marketing professional. She has her finger on the pulse of the latest trends in the recruiting, hiring and leadership sectors.