It’s always a bit of a let-down when you apply for a job and go through the interview process, only to find out that you weren’t successful in securing the role. No matter how long you have been searching for a role, knockbacks can always be a little unnerving and can easily play on your confidence in finding another job. For those who are left wondering why this may have happened to them, below are some reasons that could have contributed and ways to avoid this happening again in future:
1. You sent a generic resume: Especially when you’re applying for many jobs at once, it can be tempting to submit a generic resume and cover letter. Avoid doing this at all costs – it is quite noticeable and not appreciated by prospective employers. It’s crucial to ‘sell yourself’ to this organisation, and show why you think you would make a good contribution to the company. Where possible try to customise your application so that the skills you have which are most relevant for the role are easy to find and fit with the requirements outlined on the job description.
2. You turned up late for the interview: Turning up late to any meeting, especially an interview where you are trying to sell yourself as a model employee, is bad etiquette and simply should not happen. Ensure you leave plenty of travel time so that you arrive to your interview a little early – better to get there prematurely and wait, as opposed to keeping the interviewer waiting.
3. You didn’t have quite enough experience: Unfortunately sometimes regardless of your enthusiasm for the role, another person with a little more experience may be chosen over you. It’s important not to feel disheartened – turn this into a positive by ensuring you ask in your follow-up email exactly why you didn’t get the job, and then seek extra training or volunteer work to gain the necessary experience for next time.
4. You had too much experience: It may sound ridiculous, but sometimes employers might not offer you the job despite your golden application as they might think you are too good to be true, or assume that due to your salary expectations would be out of their league. To offset this, always be upfront with the pay packet you are happy with, and provide clear reasons for why you are seeking this particular role – perhaps you’re happy to take a sidestep into the right industry or gain new skills to take a different career path than the trajectory you are currently on.
5. You badmouthed your current/previous employer in the interview: While it may be true that your old boss was the world’s worst manager, bringing this up during an interview with a new employer will only do more harm than good. Potential employers will only see these complaints as petty, and it will also make them wonder what you might say about them should you leave the company. Ensure you never burn your bridges – more often than not people network within industries, and you just never know who knows who. Keep it professional and focused on the job at hand.
6. You weren’t the right cultural fit for the role: Sadly, this one might be outside your control and is often a contributing factor as to why you may have been passed up for someone else. Businesses need to ensure that the people they hire are not only competent for the role, but that they will also fit into the existing work culture and larger organisation. For example, you might be a natural born leader, which organisations love, however they already have sufficient people in the company with that same trait, and they need other personality types to complement this. See this as a positive, as you didn’t miss out on the role because of any flaws or errors on your part.
7. You did not interview well: As soon as you leave the interview, it is usually easy to tell whether you have aced it or fallen flat. Maybe it was due to confidence or because you didn’t ‘gel’ with the interview that you did not perform as expected. To lessen the chances of it going awry next time around, ensure you take the time to research the organisation and practice potential questions you may be asked. Make sure you present yourself and your skills and experience positively to the interviewer. In particular, when answering questions regarding your weaknesses, try to describe what you learnt from that situation, and what you would do to improve next time around.
8. Your potential employer looked at your social media networks and saw something they didn’t like: Recent research from the latest Randstad World of Work report shows that 23% of Australian employers admit to using social media networks to screen job applicants. Social media is becoming increasingly popular as a way to find jobs and similarly for employers to check up on applicants. It is therefore important to know which networks to use for personal and professional purposes. For example, LinkedIn acts as an online representation of your resume and work ethos, while Facebook and Instagram are primarily personal. For sites such as these always be careful of the content you share, and utilise privacy settings where you can.
9. The job was filled internally: Many large Australian businesses actually have KPI’s based around the number of roles filled by internal staff. The reason for this is so they can enhance their employer brand by providing a strong career progression path. Try not to take it personally, if this is why you were not selected then the plus side is that it’s not necessarily a reflection of your lack of suitability or experience for the role.
10. You didn’t follow up after the interview: have you ever applied for a role, totally rocked the interview, and then been completely thrown when a few weeks later you learn that the role went to someone else? It could be that this candidate had similar experience and interview technique to you, however what set them apart was they followed up when you didn’t. Sending a thank you note or calling your interviewer post-meeting can offer you a powerful advantage over other applicants so this is not the time to be lazy!
Kellie Rigg is General Manager of HR solutions Randstad. Randstad is a Global Fortune 500 Company and one of the world’s largest recruitment & HR services providers. The Randstad Group employs over 570,000 people every day with the aim of ‘shaping the world of work’. Randstad is passionate about matching people with organisations that will develop their potential and matching organisations with people that will take their business to the next level. Visit www.randstad.com.au for further information.
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