Based on feedback we have collected from employers in the last 12 months or so, here are our top 10 reasons why people got rejected after an interview.
1. Not answering the question
This is a common reason for rejection and it’s easily done – waffling on about something that fails to answer the question that’s been asked. Bear in mind that the interviewer has carefully selected a range of questions designed to explore your relevancy for that job. Ensure you give a relevant and brief answer to the question that has been asked and back up your answer with a success story where you can. There’s a bunch of interview questions that are commonly asked such as – Can you tell me a bit about yourself?, What are your weaknesses?, What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?, What are you looking to leave your current job?.. Prepare before the interview by having good answers ready.
2. Lack of homework
It’s not always asked, but make no mistake, the interviewer expects you to have done some background research on the company. If you’re asked and you know nothing, chances are you’ll be rejected. The more you know, the more you’ll impress, but as a minimum, you need to know a few key points, which you can pick up from the internet in a few minutes – What services/products does the company provide?, Who is the CEO?, How long have they been trading?, Do they have other offices?, Who is their competition?, What is their turnover? …
One of our candidates was rejected last week for this reason. It’s important to demonstrate desire, energy, enthusiasm and positivity – you’re interested in this job right? Show interest - be upbeat, smile, sit up straight, nod your head in agreement occasionally, ask relevant questions to explore items of conversation in more depth. You get the idea.
4. Not selling yourself
This is the most common mistake we see on CV’s and the problem is amplified at interview (if you get that far). People list / discuss ‘responsibilities’, without quantifying their successes in those tasks. This tells the interviewer nothing about how good you might be at performing those tasks. To prepare, make a list of your duties, then against each, make a note of your successes, quantified by facts and figures where possible. For example, if you’re a sales person, how did you perform last year – perhaps you exceeded your target by 140%? This simple prep will enhance your confidence and improve your eligibility.
5. Not asking questions
Everyone will ask you if you have any more questions at the end of the interview and you need to have some questions to ask at the close of the interview, else you won't leave the best lasting impression. Have a few questions ready to ask at the end of the meeting and make sure these aren’t generic questions that the interviewer is likely to answer in the course of the interview. For example – How do you measure success in this job?, Can I take a look at where I might be working?, Is training support available if I want to enhance my skills and knowledge?, What would you say are some key benefits about working for this company?, When can I expect to hear back from you?”. But, don’t ask about salary, holidays and so on as this might create the wrong impression.
6. Arriving late
Whatever you do, don’t turn up late! Leave yourself plenty of time, take into account delays, rehearse the journey beforehand, ensure you know where they are, have a travel contingency if your train isn’t running. Aim to check in at reception 10 minutes before the interview is due to start (bear in mind that you might need to sign in with security, take the elevator to another floor, then check in again). Don’t fall down on this point. If you absolutely can't help being late due to circumstances out of your control, phone the recruiter before the interview is due to start and briefly explain why you're running late.
7. Not having a job change 'audit trail'
Often one of the first questions that’s often asked is - “Why are you looking to leave your current job?”. The interview will be exploring potential 'staying power', performance, team fit and so on, based on previous track record. Questions that the interview might be asking themselves are – “Is this person a job-hopper?”, “Did they leave of they own accord or were they pushed?”, “Did they work well with the people around them?”. Never speak negatively about your previous / current employer at any time and clearly frame the real reason in a credible and positive light.
8. 'Scruffy urchin'
First impressions count, big time. Bad personal grooming, creased clothing, unpolished shoes, mini-skirts, too much cologne and so on creates totally the wrong impression and is likely to result in rejection, particularly for professional/customer facing roles.
Never talk-down about your current previous company, boss, people or environment as this will reflect badly on you and no one else (even if they were a complete nightmare to work with!). Talk about the positives, what you enjoyed and what you learnt, which could benefit performance in the job you’re being assessed for.
10. It’s out of your control!
Sometimes, it’s simply out of your control, no matter how well you performed at interview, it’s not going to happen. There are many potential factors that are out of your control – maybe an internal applicant has come through at the 11th hour, they might have decided not to recruit after all, you might not be the right personality fit, there might be skills requirements you’ve not been told about. Learn from the process and move on!
What reasons for rejection after interview have you given or experienced?