Potential reasons why you didn’t get the job

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published On: 30 Sep 2020

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It can take a lot of work to get invited to an interview and if it doesn’t go exactly as planned, it may leave you feeling a little disheartened. However, like anything else, it’s all about the practice. Interviews differ with employer and the success of one doesn’t solely depend on you. If you have left an interview and found out that you have not been successful it can be frustrating, especially if you don’t think you did anything wrong. Work on this and for future interviews, we have some advice on things you can improve on to make sure that the next interview ends in success.

Work on your timing

We all know that running late to an interview is a big red flag for employers, but what about the negative effects of turning up too early? Your interviewer probably has a lot of things going on in their day, maybe even conducting interviews that are before yours.

Arriving around 10 minutes early is good. You can have time to sit, take some time to try and calm down if you’re feeling nervous and get a good feel for the building and the people that pass you. Sometimes you can tell a lot about a place by their waiting area. Turning up to an interview too early can leave you waiting for a long time. This can cause you to feel more nervous as time passes and can frustrate the interviewer as well. Some may feel obligated to not keep you waiting and you might be interrupting their other tasks. So, if you do find yourself eager and way to early, take a walk around the surrounding area. This might help those nerves as well!

Make sure you follow instructions

When you are invited to an interview, whether you have been invited over the phone or via email, the employer will always let you know what they expect you to bring. Make sure you make a note of what they ask for. Whether it be a paper copy of your CV, your portfolio or any personal documents like ID or passport for identity validation.

Not every interview will require you to bring these things, but it’s important to remember if they have specifically mentioned it! Nothing can be more frustrating to an employer if you simply do not follow instructions. It’s similar to when you fill out an application in blue pen, only to read back over it and notice you were asked to use a black pen. They want to know that you are organised and are reliable. Forgetting simple things like this might be the reason you didn’t end up getting the job. A simple mistake but can really make a difference to the outcome.

Are you forgettable?

Some interviewers would have seen a few candidates before you and will probably interview more after you have left, so you want to make sure that you are giving them a reason to remember you. In the first stages of an interview, it’s likely that the interviewer asks everyone similar questions. The last thing you want to be doing is giving generic answers or not being very prepared for the questions they ask you.

You want to make answers personal to you. If you have experience, tell them about it and make sure you are backing up your answers with examples of work you have done in the past. Give them something to remember you by. Prepare answers and be ready to impress them.

Maybe you didn’t sound believable

The opposite problem some job seekers face in interviews is not being forgettable, but not being believable. If you are answering the questions in detail and giving the interview some great stories, make sure you back it up with evidence! They want to hear about experience, how you dealt with situations, what were you working on at the time when this happened? Give detailed stories rather than just statements. This is where your portfolio could come in as well. If you have physical evidence that you executed a task well, even better!


Don’t ever talk badly about an employer

In some cases, the interview is going very well and then they ask, “Why do you want to leave your current employer?”. The worst possible thing you can do is talk badly about the company and/or your colleagues. It is always good to be truthful in an interview, but there are some things that can be sugar coated.

You might not like your employer or line manager for a number of reasons, but the interviewer doesn’t need to know that. This can be a big red flag for employers and can lead them to think that you’ll bad mouth them to other companies as well. It can really come back and bite you. So, stick to something like “I’ve been at this company for a while and I am proud of all of the progress I have made as a professional. However, I would like to work in a new company where I can face new challenges and work on bigger projects.” For more information on how to deal with questions like this, click here.

Do you ask the interviewer questions when prompted at the end?

In an ideal world, you would be asking the interviewer questions throughout. An interview should be a two-way conversation, not just you sat down and answering their questions. However, if you find yourself stuck for chances to ask questions, make sure you take the opportunity when they offer it to you! Even if they have answered all of the questions you had thought of beforehand, try and ask at least one. It shows your interest in a company and that you are still interested in the job. Not asking questions and just ending the conversation can be a good way to end your chances of being offered the role so always try!

The follow up

Interviewers won’t ask for a follow up but, in my opinion, it’s just good manners. You want to make sure they know you are still interested in the job and available for the next round of interviews. Thank them, let them know your thoughts and wish them a good day. Simple enough. For some employers it can be real deal-breaker if you miss this step. Click here to read more about writing the perfect follow up message.

Unfortunately, there can be many reasons as to why you don’t get the job after an interview. Some you can fix and work on, like the examples above and some are just out of your control. It can be easy to lose a bit of faith after rejection, but you’ll feel much better about yourself if you carry on trying. Try and work on these things for your next interview and you might see a different outcome.