Grow your career on

Advanced Search



25 Reasons Why You Didn’t Get Picked for an Interview

By Alison Doyle, Career Expert


Are you wondering why you haven’t been contacted for a job interview? Waiting for an email or a call from an employer to schedule an interview and wondering why you haven't been selected can be the most vexing part of the job search process.


It’s especially tough when you have applied for a job where it appears that you’re a perfect match for the position. Why weren't you picked?


When Your Qualifications Don’t Measure Up


There can be a myriad of reasons why you haven't been called.


Sometimes there are limitations in your qualifications or flaws in how you have presented your candidacy. In other cases, you might be up against strong competition or an internal candidate.  


When Your Qualifications Have Nothing to Do With It


On the other hand, it might have nothing to do with you or the other applicants. An unforeseen change in circumstances impacting the readiness for an employer to hire could be the reason that no candidates are being called in for an interview at the given point in time.  


It is hard to know the precise reasons why you aren't getting called in for a particular interview. However, it can be helpful to reflect on some of the most common reasons why candidates aren't selected as you hone your job search skills.


25 Reasons Why You Didn't Get Picked for an Interview


Review the top 25 reasons why you may not have been contacted for an interview, plus tips for how to address issues that may have precluded you from consideration.


If it seems like any of these apply to your situation, be sure to tweak your application materials next time around.


1. You were screened out by an automated system because the language in your resume didn't match the stated job requirements.


2. Your knowledge and skills don't match the capabilities required to excel in the job, or you have not clearly indicated how you have applied the desired skills.


3. There is a perception by the employer that you are overqualified.


4. You didn't supply all the information requested or follow directions for the application.


5. Your resume and cover letter don't reveal your accomplishments and how you have impacted the bottom line with prior employers.


6. There were grammatical and/or spelling errors in your documents.


7. Your cover letter was generic and not tailored to the job.


8. Your cover letter was too brief, and the employer assumed that you weren't highly motivated to pursue the position.


9. Concerns about a pattern of job hopping in your background.


10. You don't possess a required educational credential.


11. Your salary expectations or perceived salary requirements exceed the available resources.


12. You lack relevant experience within that role and/or industry.


13. You haven't made a strong enough case for your interest in the job.


14. You haven't made it clear how the job fits into your career plan.


15. You were unable to enlist the assistance of any contacts at the employer to advocate your candidacy.


16. There are unexplained gaps in your employment.


17. Your online image damaged your candidacy.


18. You live outside of the area, and the employer prefers local candidates.


19. Your credentials are a good match, but there are stronger candidates.


20. You applied for the job later than other well-qualified candidates.


21. The employer has a preferred internal candidate with a proven track record at that organization.


22. Other external candidates have been endorsed by individuals trusted by the decision makers.


23. Uncertainty about funding has delayed the hiring process.


24. Hiring staff are preoccupied with other immediate concerns and not focused on the search yet.


25. Business has slowed, and the employer is no longer committed to hiring for that position.


You May Still Have a Chance


Many employers don't take the time to notify applicants that they were rejected. If you haven't heard back, you may still have a shot at securing an interview. It's worth a try if this is a job you really want. Even if it's a long shot, if you can get your application noticed you may be able to get an interview.


If you can find a contact person, you'll be able to call or email to make the case for getting a chance to be considered. Here are tips for following up after submitting a resume, and here's how to reapply for a job after you have been rejected.