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Five Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job

John Mann, Associate Director

So often we recruiters (and employers, too) liken the recruiting process to courtship and marriage: the client (company) and candidate go on dates (interviews), commit to walking down the aisle and negotiate the offer (engagement) and acceptance (marriage). However, sometimes the candidate is all too eager to get hitched without the feeling being mutual. While love is blind, it is a good thing when at least one partner is concerned about a lasting relationship. It is therefore to everyone’s benefit when the betrothed call off the courtship before an unhappy union occurs. Here are five common reasons why a prospective employer rejects a candidate:

1. Chemistry
Not having good chemistry is a deal breaker. I have “turned off”( as we recruiters call it) many candidates who just didn’t click with the hiring manager. The reasons vary. Sometimes it is communication style—the candidate is expressive and verbose and the prospective manager is as concise and to-the-point as a drill sergeant. Other times it is disagreeable personality types—if you wouldn’t want to be around this person out of the office, why in the world would you want to spend most of your day with him or her?

2. Experience counts
The quality of experience, in addition to the years, is important. Many candidates are unaware that good recruiters simultaneously present a small but very impressive group of highly qualified candidates. When all other factors are equal, and the hiring manager is in the difficult position of having to make a decision among multiple qualified candidates, the quality of the experience can be the deciding factor.

3. It has nothing to do with you
Oftentimes circumstances arise that are out of the control of the recruiter or candidate. Sometimes a former colleague of the hiring executive decides to throw his or her name in the hat. Other times an internal candidate surfaces. And occasionally, the search is cancelled because the company decides to reorganize its management team and eliminate the position.

4. Timing is everything
You can come into a search too late or too early. Sometimes a search may take several months to complete and the candidate interviewing process may include a significant portion of that time due to global logistics. If a candidate has had multiple interviews and has been positively received with strong feedback, than chances are that he or she will be given the offer. If another candidate surfaces late in the process, timing may have been the biggest factor with the later candidate’s rejection.

5. Cultural fit
No matter your credentials or experience, if you lack “cultural fit” in the eyes of the hiring manager, you will not get the position. In this Fortune article, employers emphasize that “the question hiring managers should be looking to answer is, does this candidate’s values align with those of the company, be they work-life balance, corporate mission or how to handle a customer phone call.” Or, as this article, cites, the approximately 40 percent of CEOs who are ousted within the first 18 months are fired because they did not fit in with the company’s culture.

 So, when you are informed that you are no longer being considered or that the company is moving in a different direction, consider it a gift. Thank the recruiter for his or her time and ask for constructive feedback. It never makes sense to argue with the recruiter. Be gracious. While you may disagree and be disappointed, the hiring manager has made his or her decision. Hard as the disappointment is to stomach, you do not want to assume a position where the hiring executives have doubts about your overall fit.

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