There can be many reasons why you didn’t get the job. Could it be your resume, your social media presence or your reputation? See what recruiters say are the biggest turn-offs and what you can do to fix your job search.
Do you know what others think about you? Do you really know? We often live inside our own heads so much, we forget to check in with the people who interact with us and know us. What important feedback are you missing by not asking?
I shared this article last week and it got a great response, so I’m referencing it again here!
You’re Probably Wrong About How People See You, by Dorie Clark on HBR
Continuing along the lines of perception, what about how others are perceiving you during the job search process? You want to understand where or why you are being eliminated, so take a gander below.
41 Reasons Why You Didn’t Get the Job
Application Turn Offs
These are the top 5 reasons recruiters rejected candidates according to a Bullhorn survey
- applying for jobs for which they are obviously not qualified
- exaggerating qualifications
- focusing on salary as the most important aspect of a job
- responding to a job posting requiring far more experience than the applicant has acquired
- contacting more than once per week for job status updates
Assuming you make it through the initial screening process, you now have to survive the pressure of interviewing.
Social Media Turn Offs
Here were the top reasons listed for dismissing candidates based on what they posted on social media according to CareerBuilder’s survey:
- Candidate posted provocative/inappropriate photos/info
- There was info about candidate drinking or using drugs
- Candidate bad mouthed previous employer
- Candidate had poor communication skills
- Candidate made discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion, etc.
- Candidate lied about qualifications
Interview Turn Offs
Here are many of the top turn offs during interviews from various sources:
- Lack of knowledge about the company
- Tardiness, not showing up for interview on-time
- Arrogant, “know-it-all” attitude
- Personality problems, irrational behavior
- Lack of professional appearance, inappropriate attire
- Poor eye contact, poor handshake, unfriendly body language
- Extreme nervousness and/or shyness
- Overly aggressive, manipulative behavior
- Poor hygiene, bad breath, gum chewing, smoking, and strong perfume
- Evasive, vague responses to specific questions
- Distracted, not listening, not paying attention
- Evidence of weak teamwork skills
- Negative comments about supervisors and coworkers
- Inability to communicate qualifications clearly
- Early discussion or questions about salary/benefits
- Shallow, inappropriate questions
- Lack of energy, enthusiasm, and direction
- Unrealistic goals, career, and job expectations
- Racist, prejudiced, sexist remarks
- Didn’t show interest in the job
First Impressions Matter
There’s a great article by Perry Newman on CareerRocketeer, “Why Qualified Candidates Don’t Get Hired” which implies likability and candidate rejection happen within the first 10 seconds of an interview:
William Knegendorf a consultant, speaker and author on hiring strategies for individuals and organizations shared this statistic with me. While surveying 327 Hiring Mangers on how long it takes (on average) for them to decide NO to hiring an applicant after the beginning of an interview, his data showed an average time to rejection of 4 to less than 10 seconds. And what did the hiring managers he surveyed say was the cause of their rush to judgment? “I didn’t like them.”
The reality is, you may never hear what the true reason for your rejection.
Top 10 Things a Recruiter Won’t Tell You (Work It Daily)
- Your interview attire is outdated/messy/too tight/too revealing/too flashy.
- Your physical appearance is disheveled/outdated/sloppy/smelly/overpowering (i.e. too much perfume).
- Your eye contact is weak/shifty/intense.
- Your handshake is limp/too forceful/clammy.
- You say ah/um/like too much.
- You talk too much/use poor grammar/say inappropriate things (i.e. swearing) when you answer interview questions.
- You appear overconfident/pushy/self-centered/insecure/aloof/ditzy/scatter-brained/desperate.
- You talk too fast/too slow/too loud/too soft.
- You giggle/fidget/act awkward/have facial tics/lack expression.
- You lack sincerity/self-confidence/clarity/conviction.
The answer lies in getting feedback from multiple, trusted resources. In order to get the best feedback, show the job posting, your cover letter and resume (or answers to your application questions). For interview feedback, you’ll need to do a mock interview. As you can see, you won’t often get the genuine feedback from the actual recruiter, nor should you expect that.
Ask past co-workers, managers and customers for their feedback! And you can’t just ask, “what did you think of my work?” You will need to ask questions to elicit both measurable answers as a well as answers that are less quantifiable. This is informal 360° feedback you’ll need to conduct to really hear the right data.
- What are my strengths?
- What are my fatal flaws?
- Which of my strengths were/are most important to the company?
- Which of my strengths were/are important to you?
You can take a deeper look at how to get the right types of answers by watching this HBR video by Scott Edinger.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.