Why Didn’t I Get Hired?

So you didn’t get the job or the second interview or maybe you didn’t even receive any feedback after submitting your resume. Sound familiar? While there are a myriad of possible reasons why you didn’t get the job, here are some of the most common reasons.

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Your first introduction to a company is your resume. Studies have shown that hiring managers spend an average of 6 seconds reviewing a resume, so it could be that you didn’t have the right keywords or easy to read formatting to allow the hiring manager to clearly understand your experience and how it relates to the role they are looking to fill at their company. Some companies also put a strong emphasis on pedigree, so if you haven’t worked at a large, institutional company for example, you may automatically be out of the running for certain opportunities where that experience is preferred (and vice versa). Companies also might be looking for specific certifications/licenses that are an automatic deal breaker if you don’t have them, for example CFA, CPM, CPA, etc

Personality and Culture Fit

In this day and age, personality match and culture fit are the second most sought after job must-haves for candidates (after career growth opportunities). Companies know this too and approach the hunt to fill a position with a large emphasis on scenarios like, are someone they could sit next to on a cross country plane flight? Nearly half of the companies that we work with have gone so far as to ask candidates to complete personality assessments and based on historical data/experience and other personality types in the office, decide whether or not you will be a fit within the company and/or specific team you’ll be working with. Other personality fit deciding factors include succinctness of communication, the way you carry yourself, the questions you ask, how you interact in interviews, and how you relay your excitement for the role.

Skill Set

Some roles require more soft skills, while others required a very specific skill set. For example, a company looking for an experienced commercial real estate analyst will be looking for someone with real-world experience in the software program Argus. More and more companies are starting to test for these hard skill sets as part of the interview process.


In the current economy, everyone is busy and hiring managers have a lot on their plate. “We need someone that can hit the ground running” is a phrase we hear a lot as many companies cannot dedicate the time and resources it takes to train someone into a role. Years of experience relative to the job and your reputation in the industry are two common deciding factors on whether or not you get the job.


As solid as your resume, personality, and skill set may be, you are also still compared to the other candidates interviewing for the job.


You may have priced yourself out of a role. Perhaps you are more expensive relative to your competition. While this does factor into a hiring decision, we don’t see this as much because most companies are willing to meet compensation requirements for the right fit of all of the above.

External Factors

There could be a variety of external reasons that you didn’t get the job. A company reorganization, budget issues, an earthquake – you name it. Perhaps the company promoted someone internally or received a referral from a trusted source. Or maybe the company decided they don’t need anyone in that role after all and closed the position. Maybe they decided to outsource the role to a 3rd party.

Realistically, you will may never know specifically why you didn’t get hired. Whatever the reasons are, either internal or external, know that the right job for you is out there. Continue to focus on your job search, trying to improve each time and doing your best to not take negative outcomes personally.

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