If you're like most of us, you've been on many job interviews in your life and haven't been offered a job after each one. You might have thought you did really well during the interview and that the person you spoke with really liked you. A few weeks later you get a standardized “Dear John” letter in the mail, or perhaps you never hear from the company again. You might be a bit confused as to why you didn't get the job. If you have the nerve, you might contact the interviewer and ask him/her why you weren't hired, but chances are good you wouldn't get the real reason why you weren't offered the job.
So what are some of the reasons why you might not get a job? The first reason (and probably the biggest reason why someone doesn't get a job) is the chemistry between you and the interviewer. Your resume is just a piece of paper, a tool to get you in the door to the interview. A person won't get a good or bad feeling about you personally from the resume. It's once you meet in person that the chemistry factor starts to kick in.
What do I mean when I say chemistry? It's that feeling a person gets about another person, whether good or bad. Sometimes a person will have a strong first impression about someone without taking the time to get to know them. This has probably happened to you. You meet someone and there's just something about them that you didn't like. You can't put your finger on it, but you know that you don't want to associate with this person. It has nothing to do with their background, job, skills or even themselves. You just get a bad feeling. Chemistry isn't just the initial impression. Maybe after talking with you the interviewer determines you aren't a good fit for the company or the department. For example, you might come across as shy in the interview but the person who does this job needs to be outgoing.
A bad attitude can also be a reason for rejection. Someone who is cocky or arrogant in an interview can make a poor impression with an interviewer. Confidence in your skills and abilities is good in an interview – just don't go overboard. A bad attitude about former employers or co-workers can also be a reason you are rejected. If you're bad mouthing your current employer there's nothing to stop you from bad mouthing this company if you get the job.
Your salary can also be a reason for rejection. Chances are good that you'll be asked what salary you want to make. If you throw out a number you can price yourself out of the job. Many companies have established salary ranges that can't be adjusted no matter the person or position. You might say a number that is only a few hundred dollars over the salary range but makes you ineligible for consideration. It's safer to state what your current salary is and that you would need to consider the costs of benefits before you could give your required salary. Would you want to miss out on the career opportunity of a lifetime for $250?
Making a poor personal appearance is also a reason a candidate is rejected for a job. Take the time and get a nice outfit ready for the interview. You don't need to go out and buy a new outfit. Make sure the clothes you wear are clean, neat and appropriate for an interview. Whether you like it or not, a professional appearance goes a long way to making a positive impression on an interviewer. Don't let your appearance be the reason you hear “no” after an interview.
Not being prepared for the interview is also a mistake. Make the effort to learn about the company and develop a few questions to ask the interviewer. There are some standard interview questions that you're bound to be asked like “Tell me about yourself” or “What are your greatest accomplishments”. Get some answers prepared to let the interviewer know you cared enough about this opportunity to prepare for the interview.
Finally, lying on an application or your resume is also a reason for rejection. Don't lie about your skills or previous employers. These type of things are easy enough to verify. Be truthful on the application and on your resume.
There are some steps you can take that will prevent you from being rejected from a job, while some times the reason you don't get a job has nothing to do with you. There's nothing you can do if a company hires a candidate that is more qualified or that has a cheaper salary requirement. Do what you can to prepare for each and every interview and you will have a better chance of success in your next job interview.