OK, we have all been there and suffered disappointment when we didn't get the job that we wanted or needed. Some brave souls might have asked for some feedback and were most likely told that there was someone more qualified, who was a better match. Sometimes, however, things are out of your hands...
1. The vacancy has disappeared!
This may be quite unusual, but it has happened before and will probably happen again. Things have moved on since the ad was placed. Budgets have been withdrawn, the Head of Department has called a review of the structure that could result in less staff, not more. There are all sorts of possibilities here. Why didn't the organisation call it off? Well, they might think that they will lose credibility (not exactly effective management is it?), and if things are that fluid, they may even change back again. The managers would like to keep their options open. But would you have taken the day off for the interview if you had known?
2. Equal opportunities/The dreaded internal candidate
A contradiction here. Some organisations have policies that demand all vacancies be advertised. But what you don't know is that there is someone who has been seconded to the post for the past 18 months. They want the job, the manager wants them to have the job, but policy demands the post is advertised. A similar state of affairs applies when there is a strong internal candidate. Your chances of success are somewhat diminished here.
3. Your face didn't fit
You were assertive, outgoing, and confident, in fact just like everyone else on the team. These attributes usually go in your favour BUT the manager needed some balance, someone to bring calm and stability. But if you are naturally quiet and reserved - their target might have been an extrovert who would bring those shy wallflowers into the sun. But of course you can't change who you are, and why should you want to try?
4. You remind them of someone they once worked with
Someone they would rather forget. Also known as the halos and horns effect. The last person they appointed with short jet black hair and small features was unreliable, didn't want to answer the phone and guess what - someone else's characteristics are superimposed onto yours. (Of course it can work in reverse, when you are seemingly endowed with personality traits that they like - 'Reminds me of Jane when she was our trainee').
5. The job is not what you thought it was
They know your skills will be under-utilised. The copywriter has done what they think is a good job with the wording of the ad. The recruiters know you will be bored rigid inside a month. (But they have been pleased with the quality of the response!)
6. The manager feels threatened by your abilities
This where some manager's insecurities shine out. They feel that you are over qualified, wouldn't fit in with the rest of the team, or anything else they can think of. Of course in reality they can feel you snapping at their heels!
7. Your skills are not good enough
Painful though this may be, candidates do sometimes apply for jobs that are just out of their reach. Unless you are offered a job by a firm that are prepared to train, mould and invest in your future, it is in your own interests that you don't get this one.
8. Most of the candidates could do the job
This does happen - when there is nothing to choose between the majority of the short-listed candidates. It can be the luck of the draw - literally. A TV program once showed two equally qualified candidates names being place in a bin and the person whose name was drawn out got the job!
9. You were not available to start Monday.
Someone else could. Being available immediately can be a real bonus for the harassed manager.
10. There was someone else who had the edge.
You were beaten fair and square. We all like to think that we are good at what we do, and sometimes can be hard to accept that on the day there was someone else who was a better fit. It does happen, and some days it's not you.
Sorry if all this is a bit depressing there is one thing to hang onto. Sometimes it is just not your fault, and it didn't really matter how well you did, the odds were just stacked against you. Knowing this should help you keep things in perspective. You need to concentrate on the things that you can control - the things that you meant to say but didn't, the opportunities didn't grasp. Remember you want (and need) to work in an organisation that wants YOU, where your skills are valued and where you can personally flourish. Review every interview that you have, learn from the experience and move on. Persistence is the key to success.
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