Why Didn’t I Get That Job?


By Phil Gerard

Some people have no problem getting an interview but they often don’t land the job! They may look incredible on paper but that’s not enough. In an interview we need to convince with our soft skills. Here are some reasons why job seekers may have a difficult time getting hired. Much of what I am about to discuss is avoidable and additional interview tips are included in my blog post Seven Tips for a Successful Job Hunt.

Late Arrival

One would think that this is really basic stuff but it happens all the time in searches and it’s such a sure way of eliminating oneself from the competition. Not being on time is simply unacceptable and as legitimate the reason may be it just never leaves a good impression. If someone cannot be punctual for such an important appointment as an interview how will he or she keep deadlines?

Poor Presentation

Don’t judge a book by its cover, I know. Unfortunately, a hiring committee has very little time to get to know you and therefore the first impression is crucial.

While some organizations are very casual and might appreciate that in candidates, an interview is still a very formal first meeting and being overdressed for the occasion is safer than the other way around.

Arrogance and Narcissism

Of course we want to showcase what we have to offer. Confidence is good, arrogance isn’t. Name-dropping, throwing big numbers around and talking about our own accomplishments only (not in a team context) may turn a selection committee off. Sentences such as “You really need me here” or “I’m incredibly smart!” are things you should never say. What used to really annoy me as an in-house recruiter for UBC was when candidates told me all the things we don’t do well and should do differently.

Lack of Confidence

Being nervous in an interview is normal. Some people do really well in interviews and other, really qualified and successful fundraisers don’t. If you feel that you are not interviewing well or if every interview is an ordeal for you, try to find someone to practice with, get a coach, or request informational interviews to get more practice.

Often we do everything right in an interview and still don’t get the job. Someone else’s skills and background were just a better fit with the requirements of the position. Or someone else was a better fit with the organizational culture and the team. And that’s ok! An interview is a get-to-know you process for both candidate and the organization’s representatives. One of the things I find really important is to be yourself in a job interview and not pretend to be someone you’re not because you legitimately want to be a fit and not get hired and then realize the organization and its culture is not your cup of tea.

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