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Why You Didn't Get the Job

By Kinexus on 16 August 2016

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Telling people they’ve been successful in their dream role, hearing the excitement, the relief, and the overall sense of achievement in their voices is the NICE part of our job. One of the not so nice parts is telling someone they’ve been unsuccessful.

There are different ways in which people deal with this news. Some people’s disappointment is palpable, others will be quiet, others will question the decision and others will shrug it off and move on. As a candidate, how you handle the response will say a lot about how you will handle setbacks, rejection or disappointment in your next role.

So let’s have a look at some reasons why you may not have scored that job so you can stop beating yourself up and start preparing for the next opportunity.

Your Interview
It can suck that your future employment can come down to a 30 minute nerve-racking interview, but sometimes you blow it.

There’s a lot of ways interviews can go downhill, from not giving sound answers to giving off bad body language signals. Do you feel confident in how you addressed your interview questions, how you presented yourself and how you connected with the interviewee?

Your skill set
A really excellent candidate that I worked with recently was in a Senior Sales role and was looking to move up into a Regional role. One of the key things missing was his exposure and understanding of profit and loss, unfortunately leading to an unsuccessful outcome.

Do you actually have all the necessary skills for the role?  Do you possess the right level of industry knowledge or technical knowledge? Do you have the right technical skills? Although lots of things can be learnt on the job there are often non-negotiable skills (tangible or intangible) that an employee is looking for.

You may need to bridge the skill set gap by undertaking an external course in conjunction with internal training.

Cultural Fit
In a world where you’ll often not be the only candidate with particular skills, cultural fit is a key consideration for employers making hiring decisions. Your ability to adapt to the current team and contribute in a positive way to the culture will be what makes the difference. It’s an emotive decision.

Did you engage with the interviewer/panel? Did you build rapport with EACH of the decision makers? Did YOU walk away thinking you would love to work with THEM?

If you are honest with yourself and realize the answer is no to the above, then that’s probably what they were thinking too.  As much as companies want the right person for their team, you also want to ensure that it’s the right cultural fit for you.

Your References
So often, people will nominate references who a) don’t know them in any real detail, or b) can’t give specifics on their key achievements, role, responsibilities, personality, and people interaction skills. This is the scope and depth of information future employers want when speaking to your references.

Referees can help quash any concerns that might remain after the interview process.

For example, a psychometric test may have indicated you are someone that struggles with handling multiple tasks simultaneously (yes, these tests highlight stuff like this!). However, a detailed reference check may identify that you are a great multitasker, with fabulous organizational skills. Reference wins out! Make sure anyone that you nominate can answer questions properly and thoroughly. Call them in advance so they are expecting the reference call and let them know WHO will contact them.

Although you didn’t get the job, all is not lost. Moving forward, your attitude after a setback can have a huge effect on your next opportunity. Take ownership of your performance in the interview and the outcome, and then use that to fuel your next interview process.

One of the best candidates I’ve worked with was originally unsuccessful for a role. They decided to go with a candidate from a direct competitor. Some months later the original candidate was promoted, leaving their role once again vacant. The company re-approached us, explained the situation and expressed interest in the candidate who was a close 2nd. Why?

Because the candidate understood the decision at the time, took the positive feedback for what it was and even sent a follow-up email thanking the HR Manager and Line Manager for their time. He has now been happily employed there for over a year.

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time, more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

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