Ask a Recruiter: Why Didn’t They Hire Me?

Ask a Recruiter, For Candidates

The Evolution of Remote Work and Virtual Interviews in Executive Search

The job search process can be a long and tiring one. Candidates are on a quest for the perfect new job that utilizes their specific skill set, accommodates their individual personality traits, and provides an environment in which they can excel. Employers, on the other hand, are hunting for an ideal new hire who has the right qualifications, someone they see being a “good fit” within the company, and whom they feel will also bring their organization to the next level.

But even if these two sides of a search appear to align on paper, a candidate still may not get the job. Why is that?


Here are top reasons why you may not get the job:

1. You didn’t have the specific skills or experience needed for the role.

We often encounter executive candidates who have the right skills for a position but are trying to step foot into a new industry. While employers have been more open to hiring people with transferable skills since the pandemic happened, most of the client companies we work with still prefer executives who already have existing industry experience and relevant knowledge in the market.

If you have the appropriate industry experience but still weren’t hired, it’s possible that there was something missing elsewhere, like not having enough experience leading a company of a similar size or utilizing their programs. There was a candidate we had who seemed like a great fit and did well on most elements of the process but fell short when presented with machinery the client needed them to know. Because they weren’t familiar with that exact equipment, the client decided they needed to keep looking for candidates with that specific skill set.

2. Company decides to hire internally.

While most companies should first consider if there are current employees who can be promoted before publicizing a job to outside candidates, there are times when they initially decide to explore externally. Or they are required to post the job publicly, even if they intend to hire from within from the get-go. And sometimes, they realize an internal candidate would be the best option, for a variety of reasons, even after entertaining other non-employee candidates. Unfortunately, this decision is beyond your control, but it happens quite often.

3. There could be a culture mismatch.

If you had a couple of interviews and didn’t get hired, then the reason could be the cultural fit. A candidate could have an incredible background, but if their personality clashes with the interviewers’ or the hiring managers foresee them not being a good fit with the existing team, it could be the ultimate breaking point. Candidates may have also unintentionally said something that was off-putting or unethical in their interview, which could also have left a negative impression or been the deal-breaker.

4. Your compensation rate is too high for the employer. 

This is another reason that is out of your control. While some of the clients we work with are flexible with their compensation packages, other companies are more limited in their resources, and unfortunately, cannot afford a candidate even if they’re the best person for the job.

5. You failed to research the company and sell yourself for the position.

Did you research, in detail, not only the specific company but also what the prospective position may entail? Did you sell yourself by tying in your relevant experience with your work achievements? Your interview should incorporate what you learned, implemented, or advocated at your previous companies outside of what is listed on your resume. This gives insights into your personality, your confidence level, and your desire to innovate and execute.

Even though researching the company beforehand should be common sense for executives, we still encounter candidates who ask questions about the company and the role during the interview that were on the website or in the job description. No preparation equates to a lack of interest in the opportunity, which severely hurts your chances of being considered for any next steps of the hiring process.

6. The employer doesn’t see a long-term commitment.

You may have the qualifications needed to do the job. But will the position be challenging enough to keep you around for at least a couple of years? Did you show a strong desire to work and grow at this company, or are you treating this opportunity as a “stepping stone” to get into a particular industry or higher-level roles? Employers are frequently concerned about a candidate’s potential tenure, and it does factor into their decisions. 

Even if you have the right qualifications, there could be something else that sways the employer to look in another direction. However, don’t be discouraged. There are other opportunities out there that could be a better fit for you.

In order to be a top candidate, there are several dos and don’ts to consider. Make sure you research the company fully, understand its mission and history, and sell yourself during the interview to increase your chances of landing the job.

Remember: always put your best foot forward! 

Bristol Associates, Inc. is an executive search firm with over 55 years of excellence in recruiting nationwide. Bristol specializes in recruiting for the Casino Gaming; CBD; Facility and Concession; Food and Beverage Manufacturing; Healthcare; Hotel and Resort; Nonprofit; Restaurant and Foodservice; and Travel, Tourism, and Attraction industries.

If you’re interested in working with Bristol Associates, click here if you’re an employer or here if you’re a candidate.

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