Reasons You Didn’t Get The Job That Have Nothing To Do With You

2024 has been a tough year for job seekers, and it’s taking longer to find a job than ever before. Even in a sea of openings, it can still be hard to land a good job. Constant rejection can take its toll on your mental health, but don’t be discouraged. In many cases of rejection, you not landing the job has nothing to do with you as a candidate.

There are a plethora of reasons completely outside of your control that can lead to you being passed over for a job. Sometimes, it will be obvious why you didn’t get the job. But in many other cases, these outside reasons are the culprit.

The position no longer exists

Sometimes, the position you’re applying to might not be as real as it might look. A company may have a vision for what they seek for a role, but other departments have different views on the position or whether it even exists.

Consuleris CEO Brian Browning lists budget approval as a common reason a position won’t actually exist. “Sometimes jobs are posted with confidence that the budget will go through in time to make a hire, but for one reason or another, internal forces change the winds and cancel the requisition.” Other times, a position’s salary might be approved before the decision is reversed.

Alternatively, a simple restructuring could render the position null. The role could be absorbed into an existing position, the duties given among other existing roles, or the role itself could be split into different positions that will be posted later.

A referral or insider was hired

When you’re applying for jobs, your biggest competition won’t be other people applying online. It will be from referrals and insider hires, who have a massive edge over you. Utilizing your network is one of the best ways to find a job, which means the inverse of other people using their network as leverage makes things harder for you.

Career coach Edi Hayes points out that internal candidates are cheaper to hire, already fit into the company culture, and are a lower risk thanks to having internal connections. This means that if two candidates are roughly equal, the edge is given to the internal one. Referrals are only one further step removed. If someone in the company can vouch for you, and that person is credible, it further minimizes risk.

Your application came in at the wrong time

Timing can be a blessing or a curse during your job search. It takes a bit of luck to be seen by the right person at the right time, and something as simple as when your application comes in can be the difference in getting the job or not.

The Muse’s Molly Triffin writes that if you interview too early in the process, you might not be as well remembered after a few rounds of candidates. Someone fresh in the mind of a hiring manager has an advantage, and someone who interviews early might be the litmus test of comparison.

But the inverse is also true, according to Edi Hayes. If your application comes in too late, you’ll be weighed against favorite candidates, or you may not get a fair shot because the team already has multiple candidates they like.

“Market demands can fluctuate, and sometimes opportunities arise purely because you applied at a moment when a company urgently needed someone with your skill set.” –Amanda Blankenship, MSN

Hiring managers are overwhelmed

With so many factors at play, you might find the job search process exhausting. And you’re not wrong! But it’s also tiring for the recruiters and hiring managers on the other side. Being able to easily apply online means a job seeker can quickly apply to many different roles, which means each role gets a lot of applicants. Sometimes, a hiring manager just gets overloaded and needs to pick a candidate before reviewing every possible option.

Recruiter Kourtlynn Faith discusses the sheer amount of applications a recruiter must go through, especially with bigger companies. She says that if you have 300 openings and each gets over 2,000 applicants, and only half of the applicants meet the minimum qualifications, it can be exhausting to sift through all of them. That makes the process slower and more challenging, meaning your application may slip through the cracks.

Wrap up

Even if you’re perfectly qualified for a job and meet all of a company’s expectations, factors outside of you can lead to someone else being hired. A hiring process is often complicated with lots of factors going on behind the scenes. Hopefully, knowing what some of these factors are and understanding that they have nothing to do with you as a person can make the journey a little more bearable.

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