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Lately, I've been looking for a part-time job and let me tell you, the market was not nice to me. At all. In fact, out of all the applications that I put in, I had maybe two reach out to me. Of those, I got rejected for both gigs.
So, what gives?
I like to think I'm capable at my job. My main job believes I am, too. Still, the amount of rejections had me wondering why I didn't get the job. My job search shouldn't be this hard! Was something wrong with me?
It's really understandable to ask yourself why you didn't get the job. Most of us job hunters will wonder that at least once or twice in their lives. Here's what recruiters have to say about it.
You could be interviewing poorly.
Interviews are tough, brutal, and no one really wants to be there. They are awkward for both interviewers and interviewees. One of the most common reasons why you didn't get the job deals with your interview skills. After all, there are some interview blunders to avoid, else they'll cost you the job.
Awkward social skills make it difficult to land a good job, but with some training, you can make it happen. Do what you can to be as personable, fun, and interesting as possible, and you will most likely fare better next time around.
The qualifications you have don’t actually match what they want.
Here’s a sad truth that may explain why you didn’t get the job you applied for. A lot of HR reps don’t actually put the full span of qualifications they desire from applicants on the job ads. Whether this is because they feel they can’t afford it, or because they can’t admit they need more than they have, doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that they rejected you—and that technically, this is way more on them than it is on you. You can’t please everyone, especially when they don’t really tell you the rules.
Being overqualified is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, people can respect a person who’s capable and has proven their worth. On the other hand, your qualifications might signal that you probably can get a better job elsewhere.
Even if it's a low blow, try to take the label of overqualification as a compliment. You might be lowballing yourself in the job market, and this might be the wakeup call you need in order to realize your full potential.
The amount of money you'd need to be paid is too high for them to afford.
Companies, just like people, have budgets. Good talent typically requires a high budget—at least, when it comes to keeping the talent that you hire. In many cases, companies get a vibe about a potential employee's salary and make decisions based on it.
If a company feels like they can't afford you, they won't hire you. It's just that simple. Plus, they might decide to take a chance on someone who is a little less experienced who would accept a lower salary.
The work you already did didn't impress them.
Are you worried that your work wasn't received well? Did you promise yourself you'd give the company a trial sample, only to dash through it? Or worse, is your portfolio slipshod and messy?
Haste makes waste, and companies don't want to hire a person who's demonstrated that they don't necessarily work well. People care about quality and consistency. It could be why you didn't get the job. As your job search continues, make sure your application materials or portfolio are perfect.
You clashed with the culture.
You are a conservative, it was a liberal company. You went in with sweats, everyone was wearing suits. You went in a three-piece suit, they were all wearing jeans. Your last job was at Planned Parenthood, and you tried to apply for Hobby Lobby. You get the picture, right?
Culture clashes are, sadly, irreconcilable differences in most cases. They won't hire a person who will stick out like a sore thumb or fly in the face of the company's ethical code. If you didn't really jive with anyone there, that's why you didn't get the job. It's hard for companies to keep balance in the team.
Your application sucked.
Take a look back at your job hunt and be honest with yourself. Did you add a cover letter to every job you applied for? Were your answers to them perfunctory, or sometimes even brash?
Believe it or not, employers look at this stuff pretty seriously. If you didn't take a lot of care with your application, they may have decided to toss it in the bin—even if you had the right qualifications.
Your resume doesn't actually show you in the best light.
Real talk, some of the most talented writers I know are some of the worst resume writers out there. Sadly, this often means that they are under-hired and overlooked by employers who would otherwise be thrilled to have them onboard.
If you're worried that your resume isn't the best it could be, hire a professional resume writer. It could be the best investment you could make in your career. These are just some of all the reasons HR didn't hire you.
Someone gave you a bad reference.
Once in a blue moon, you'll hear about someone who was ready to get a job, but then had a reference who badmouthed them to an employer. These things happen more often than you'd think.
When applying for jobs, choose your references very carefully. A bad reference can do far more damage than you'd think—and at times, can make finding a job nigh impossible. The job market is already tight, no employer will take someone with a bad reference.
The company went under.
True story. Recently, I applied to a job for a part-time gig, tried out a paid test, then got rejected without explanation. When I looked at the reviews other writers had, I noticed that multiple groups mentioned that the company had major layoffs weeks ago.
I then realized that the company in question might not actually have the funds to hire me. It can happen and has actually happened to me before, with an insider telling me the truth about it.
If this is why you didn't get the job, you dodged a bullet. Consider yourself lucky. You wouldn't want to be hired only to be fired soon after. It doesn't mean that you were interviewing poorly, if you found yourself in this scenario.