As you enter a new chapter in your life, applying for jobs is essential to earn money and have a sense of fulfillment. But how frustrating it must feel to exert all your resources and energy to apply for the ideal job position and not even hear back from your hiring manager.
You sent the company a thought-provoking application letter and felt confident during your interview, then found out that you didn’t get your dream job.
It’s challenging to assess if the interviewer is interested in you, especially if you’re new to the hiring process. The procedure is overwhelming and stressful as it is. So be kind to yourself because you may criticize yourself more harshly than the hiring manager. If this job vacancy isn’t for you, learn from it instead of dwelling on your incapabilities. Use it as leverage for career development.
Learn to recognize the signs you didn’t get the job after an interview to save time and sanity. So you can move on to other opportunities that are well suited to your qualifications.
1. They said you were overqualified
When an interviewer states that you’re overqualified during a job interview, it’s clear that they aren’t pursuing you for the job vacancy. In some cases, it’s because of the applicant’s negative character during the job interview.
For example, if a recruiter senses that you’re an arrogant person, your attitude may pose a problem for the company. Hiring managers won’t tell you that you’re arrogant because they have everything to lose. Instead, they’ll let you know that you’re overqualified for the position.
However, suppose you did your best and showed appropriate conduct during your job interview. Yet won’t pursue your application because you’re too educated or experienced for the position. It might also be because you may get bored of your job and leave the company on short notice.
Companies have specific compensation policies calculated based on your years of experience. So when they say you’re too skilled for the job, it means that they can’t meet your expected salary. Or they have a certain level of the company culture that they think you might not conform to because some companies have a strict sense of hierarchy.
2. They didn’t give you a specific timeline
Hiring managers usually send updates when you pass the job interview. But in cases where they didn’t give you a specific timeline, or they gave you a starting date but never followed up, they might have found a different person for the job. Although it could mean they had other priorities, they often inform their candidates about the updated schedule.
Here are a few reasons your interviewer didn’t give you a timeline regarding your job application.
- The interviewer is still collecting background information about you
- The employer is still interviewing other candidates
- The interviewer hasn’t made any final decisions
On the other hand, not receiving any response after an interview is confusing because it seems like you didn’t get the job. Wait at least two weeks to follow up on your application.
So here’s what you can do. First, take proactive steps to have closure. Don’t hesitate to send HR an email to follow up with your application. It reaffirms the interviewer that you’re passionate about working with the company. But be sure that your email sounds polite, respectful, and considerate. However, if you don’t get a response after the follow-up, inevitably, you didn’t get the job.
Next, continue on your job search and accept that you didn’t make the final cut.
3. They pointed out that they were still open for other candidates
When an interviewer mentions that they’re still open for other candidates during your job interview, it’s a subtle sign that you didn’t get the job position. Or they’re being honest with you that they want to finish interviewing all the candidates before making a final decision.
Corporations usually get dozens or even hundreds of applicants. So they would want to interview as many of them as possible and weed out those who don’t meet their standards. They usually conduct at least 2 to 3 interviews per applicant before performing a skill and knowledge examination.
So don’t get disappointed when they mention that they’re still accepting other candidates. You’ll never know if you’re part of their waiting list for the following hiring procedure.
4. The interviewer didn’t seem interested in you
When the interviewer seems like they’re not interested in you, don’t take it to heart. Sometimes hiring managers to have endless things on their schedule, and they may be tired. Or it’s just their personality.
Job interviews sometimes have two sides and may ask candid and structured interview questions, allowing the discussion to flow naturally.
However, when the interviewer initially has a cheerful demeanor, then it slowly fades away upon meeting you. It can signify that you’re not getting the job. They may have noticed that your resume doesn’t match what you offer them during the interview.
Some interviewer’s nonverbal queues to look out for:
- The hiring manager doesn’t keep eye contact
- The hiring manager stops the interview
- The interviewer isn’t listening to what you have to say
- The interviewer mentions other qualified candidates
- The interviewer is preoccupied-looking at the clock or checking their emails
Company employers get elated when they find their chosen candidate complements the resume and portfolio they offered. So, what can you do to leave a striking impression on your employer?
Allow yourself to sit quietly and clear your thoughts. Job interviews are already overwhelming, so take time to breathe. Next, ask your employer what they find most attractive in your resume. This strategy gives you an idea of what made them select you as their potential candidate for the job. Then, focus your attention on their answer and highlight your best experiences.
For example, if they answer that you have extensive knowledge in a particular skill. Explain what you know about it and how it can benefit the company. If you took courses and gained certificates for that specific skill, it would be the best time to mention or show it to them.
5. They still advertise the job after the interview
If you still see the job listing after your interview doesn’t mean that you failed. Sometimes it could mean that the company needs more than one person for the position, or it could also mean that they’re too busy and forgot to delete the job listing.
Reposting the job doesn’t mean that you didn’t pass the interview. It could be that employers are still thinking about your application positively. Alternatively, it could mean that they only got a few candidates applied for the job, so they want to see if there will be more applicants who wish to apply.
Here are more reasons hiring managers repost the job vacancy.
- They need a higher reach for the job listing
- They realized that the original job post was expiring
- They need candidates with advanced experience and skills
- They’re undecided on the set of candidates they recently interviewed
So no matter what you think, stay patient and professional. Keep looking for other job options to have a sense of security. Give your hiring manager some time to email you about your application. You may send them a follow-up message or give them a call as it shows that you’re still interested in the role. Ask if there are any documents you can provide for additional details about you.
6. The interview was short
Short interviews aren’t always a clear sign that you didn’t impress the hiring manager. They might have other important matters to tend to, but consider other factors like their body language.
For example, did they seem uninterested or distracted? In that case, it’s a simple sign that the interview didn’t go according to your expectations.
There is no standard duration for job interviews. Suppose you have a scheduled 1-hour interview, and the hiring manager cuts the meeting to 15-20 minutes. Although there’s nothing wrong if your interview ended early, the manager might have gotten adequate information to have you as one of the candidates for the following interview process.
7. Your conduct was inappropriate for the interview
Hiring managers criticize applicants from the moment they send the company an application letter until they come for an interview and even in the first month of being their employee.
Although this seems superficial, it’s a part of the hiring process because it’s the only way to gauge if the candidate meets the company’s standards for the job position.
First impressions matter when you’re job searching. It takes less than a minute for your interviewer to form an opinion based on your appearance, attitude, and body language. So it’s important to show professionalism through how you look and what you offer your interviewers.
Here is a list of what not to do during a job interview.
- Never come in late
- Treat all level staff equally
- Don’t exaggerate your abilities
- Lacking eye contact
- Never dress casual
- Contradicting your interviewer
- Not researching the company
- Discussing personal information
- Neglecting to check clothes stains, button your shirt
- Don’t say anything negative about your former company and their employees
It’s important to look and act professionally at all times during your job interview.
8. They didn’t try to sell their company to you
Suppose an interviewer doesn’t sell you their company. In that case, it’s an obvious sign that you’re not their ideal person for the job position. Some companies require their hiring manager to interview all candidates even if they find the right one.
In other cases, if employers don’t sell you the company but instead ask you what you know about their company. They want to see if you did some research about the company before applying as it shows signs of interest and a good work ethic.
To prepare yourself for these follow-up interview questions, here is what you should research about the company.
- The type of organization they have
- Their organizational culture
- Their values and mission
- Their products and services
- Their reason for the job vacancy-you may find information on the job listing and highlight how your skills are an asset to the company.
It helps to know some background information about the company to ease stress and boost confidence during the interview.
9. They didn’t discuss the role and salary
Discussing your role and salary are the most crucial parts of your job interview. Once the interviewer decides that they want to work with you, they’ll talk about your responsibilities and expected salary because they see your potential. So it would be best to prepare yourself. But if this matter doesn’t come up, it could indicate that they don’t want you to be a part of their team.
Salary is the elephant in the room. It’s challenging for fresh graduates or rookie professionals to know when to talk about this subject and how to bring it up during an interview.
For some people, salary is not their main objective for applying to a particular company. Instead, it’s the experience, skills, and values that they’ll gain from working with them.
Understandably income is a major driving force that motivates people to work better as long as their output reflects their compensation. To prepare yourself for this interview question, here is how you can approach the topic.
- Stay informed about the latest going salary for your industry
- Know your base salary
- Be honest with your employer
- Know how to negotiate
Knowing your value is always essential because tiptoeing around the topic will not help you land your dream job either. But if you forgot to ask about your salary, you can always follow up through email.
10. The interviewer asked questions that have nothing to do with the job you applied for
Irrelevant interview questions may seem like the interviewer isn’t interested in hiring you. But it’s a part of the interview process when they sense that the applicant is nervous. Hence they ask about their hobbies, most significant achievements and failures, and opinions about a trendy topic.
It’s another tactic for the hiring manager to know the applicant’s personality. It also gives them a sneak peek of their values and character before deciding.
Some candidates practice their interview questions before they set out for an interview, making their answers sound scripted. Sometimes the hiring process includes unrelated interview questions. It allows the interviewer to determine if your character is an excellent cultural fit for the job position. So don’t be afraid to be yourself.
How long after an interview should you hear back?
The hiring process is different among companies and may vary depending on the role you’re applying for and the urgency of the position. Whether the interview is for a freelance position, it could take days, weeks, or even months for you to hear back from your employer. Keep in mind that they also have a lot of obligations on their plate aside from recruiting people.
However, the typical waiting period is two weeks to a month after a job interview. Yet it’ll depend on the number of applicants they’re interviewing. Take note that a hiring company usually receives an average of 250 job applications per job position, wherein HR may only select 4-6 candidates for interview.
So don’t scramble when you don’t hear back from the company immediately. It could be that it is having a hard time selecting because some HR seek advice from the entire team. Or they’re just busy with company emergencies.
If the interview seemed like it was in your favor, but you’re still waiting for a response, just continue your job search. You’ll never know if there might be a better option for you.
Can I ask why I didn’t get the job?
Once you find out that you didn’t get the job, you can ask why you didn’t get it. It shows that you’re eager to develop your character as a professional.
But be cautious when asking why you didn’t get the job. Deliver the question in a way that won’t offend and disrespect your interviewer. You may ask this question during an interview, as some employers prefer to give constructive criticism verbally. Or you may send them a follow-up email when you find out that you didn’t get the job.
When you’re requesting constructive feedback, deliver it professionally. First, show your appreciation and gratitude for giving you a chance to speak about your experiences. Second, politely ask if they have the time to respond to your request. Finally, be specific about what you want to know. For example, was it about a particular skillset, did the company need more character references, your performance during the interview, or your cover letter and resume?
Don’t dwell too much when the hiring manager disagrees or ignores your appeal. There are other ways to improve yourself professionally.