Grow your career on

Advanced Search

Why Didn’t I Get the Job Offer?

By Louise Garver

The resume did its job and you are called for an interview. After the interview you don’t hear back from the employer or recruiter. You are left wondering what happened.

1. Show up late for the interview. There are no excuses! You can imagine a recruiter or employer has heard them all, and they have. Allow more time than you think you will need and if you have to sit in the lobby for 30 minutes, count that as a bonus. You can take that opportunity to observe the employees’ interactions with each other, the “feel” of the company culture, even listen to how the phone is answered.

2. Cell phone etiquette. It shouts lack of consideration and being prepared when an executive “forgets”to turn off their mobile phone before the interview. That’s bad enough, but then answering the phone could truly end your chances for consideration. 

3. Clueless to details about the company. Really? In today’s world of abundant digital information, you should be able to find out just about everything you need to know about a company before the interview through their website, Google, LinkedIn, and tapping into your network to find out what they know.

4. Basic qualification questions. Failing to answer basic questions about your qualifications (skills & strengths) can be fatal. Responding with “I’m a workaholic and get things done” is not a good answer. What companies want to know is if you are a good fit or not. They want details of what you can do. Succinct statements such as “I have met and exceeded project goals and expectations every quarter,” is a start and then be prepared to tell how you did that. You want to paint a picture in the mind of the interviewer that you are the solution to the issues they are trying to solve. 

5. Ego gets in the way. Don’t go on and on about yourself, even if you are asked the question “tell me about yourself.” What interviewers want to know from this question and others like it is how you can help the company, and have you solved problems similar to those the company is struggling with. When responding, shift the focus:“From what I understand about this position, you are looking for XYS skills, and here’s how I can help.” A keen understanding of the job is essential.

6. Desperation vs. reality. Red flags show up for an interviewer if you are too anxious, or overly-eager. No one is a master at everything. Keep in mind that each interview is typically short and rambling on and on cuts the time that substantive responses can be given. Practice short answers to common questions with a challenge/action/result formula weaved into your response. The interviewer will get a better picture of results you can achieve, the action you took to get there, and what challenges you were faced with. 

There can be any number of reasons why candidates don’t get called back after the first or second interview, such as chemistry, salary, etc. Don’t derail your chances of getting called back by ignoring these common interview mistakes.