I thought I was the perfect candidate! Why Didn’t I get the job?

I Thought I Was the Perfect Candidate! Why Didn’t I Get the Job?

By David Lammert I Pinnacle Placements

We have all been there at some stage in our career.

Identified a role that you felt was a perfect fit for your background, and still, you didn’t get the job. In your mind, you replayed the process and interviews over and over. Everything seemed like a match, great rapport with everyone and the feedback you got at each step was positive. They said they would get back to you soon and then, radio silence.


After some period, you got the news that you weren’t selected.


I’ve long been a believer that most things in life happen for a reason. Even if, we can’t figure out why at that time. When it comes to job search, something will likely come along that is a better opportunity. Over the course of my recruiting career, many people have shared stories about interviews they were certain they excelled in and were sure they’d get an offer. But didn’t.


Today, I want to share, the most common of many reasons’ companies may choose a different route:


  • They decided to hire internally. As unfair as it sounds, they may have already had a front runner in mind but listed the position online anyway to see if there is someone better. Certain companies are required to post positions because of contract constraints or affirmative action plans. Federal contractors or government agencies may have to post publicly also.


  • They view you as overqualified. They believe you won’t do tasks you deem “beneath you”. While it’s unfair for them to assume what you will or won’t do, it is a common concern among hiring managers. The other concern about those perceived as overqualified is that you will be bored by the job—especially if you’ve been on an impressive career track. Using the position as a steppingstone and that after a while, you will leave, and they’ll be back to square one. This is a perception that is extremely hard for a candidate to overcome.


  • You were underqualified. Thinking you’d be great in a role and actually having the experience to master the role are two different things. Read the job description thoroughly and make sure you have the experience to apply for the role. Yes, sometimes a job description reads like the employer is reaching for the Sun, Moon, and the Stars. While they may be willing to compromise some, most of what you read in the posting is what they are seeking. If you don’t fit those criteria, you are wasting your time to apply.


  • They already had another candidate in mind. It’s possible they already found their candidate of choice, but they had to have a certain number of candidates to interview to fill their candidate roster. It might be company policy that a specific number of people need to be interviewed before a choice can be made and an official offer extended.


  • Your online presence wasn’t professional or up to date. Hiring managers check your social media profiles to learn more about you. Make certain you are maintaining a professional image online. Also, if you haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile in a while (or years!), now is the time to do it. Lack of LinkedIn presence can hurt you as well. Get it up to date.


  • You overshared too much. That is polite for you talk too much. Despite preparing the candidate to do otherwise, I’ve had hiring managers who said the candidate dominated the conversation and, in the process, turned off the employer. Self-awareness is a soft skill – emotional intelligence. It is a key part of the evaluation process today. Keep the conversation on the company, their pain points, how you can help them, and that’s it. Don’t talk about your jerk boss, toxic coworkers, or personal problems. Be personable, professional, and engaged.


  • You didn’t do your homework. Be very prepared when you go to the interview. Research the company, its mission, what they do, what they sell, or what they are about. Research the role, figure out their pain points. Have questions ready to interview the interviewer, questions like, “What keeps you awake at night when you think about this position? What is the first thing you would like me to address in my first 30 days on the job?” Be both knowledgeable and inquisitive. Never tell an employer that you think “they have covered it all” when they ask if you have any questions.


  • Not a Culture Fit. Today’s employers are putting a high premium on how key executives-all employees for that matter-fit the organization’s culture. They realize the damage one bad hire can do to set back the entire synergy and mission. In our business environment today, security is collaborating at many levels throughout the organization and even if you have the proper skills and experience a bad culture match will be a disaster for all sides and employers would prefer to keep searching for the right culture fit than to make that hiring mistake.


Whatever the case, you may likely never know why the employer made the candidate selection they did. You might have done everything right and still did not get the job. It might have been narrowed down to you and someone else, but they went with the other person because they had more strategy experience.


Either way, you gave it you’re all.


About two months ago, a security management exec said to me, “You know, when I first got into security management, I interviewed for a position and after three rounds of interviews, they finally told me I wasn’t chosen. So, I reached out to a few colleagues that resulted in a round of interviews with a company I was not even familiar with. But they liked me and saw how my vision for security could provide them a competitive advantage–and they hired me. It was the best job I’ve ever had.”


If you are struggling with your job search, hang tight. The right job will come along. In the meantime, reach out to us. At Pinnacle Placements we work with employers and candidates to identify strong matches at every level within the security industry.


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