Sometimes – no matter how badly you want it – you don't
get the job. While it may be tempting to pin the blame on the judgment
of the hiring manager, it can often be more productive to look within when figuring out what went wrong.
If you don't receive the job offer you'd been hoping for, here are five questions to ask yourself to determine whether you
would hire you for the opportunity. If one or more of these apply to
you, you may need to re-evaluate how you're going about applying for
- Were your resume and cover letter customized?
When you don't receive an invitation for an interview and you know that
the employer reviewed your resume, then your job-search materials may
be to blame. The job market is too competitive – particularly online –
to send out the same generic resume
and cover letter to each company you're targeting. Your materials need
to be clearly tailored to each company and position to which you're
- Did you clean up your social media?
Another reason why candidates might not make it past the early rounds
in a job search is that they neglect to prepare their social media sites
for prospective employers' eyes. Before you start sending out resumes,
be sure to conduct a thorough review of all of your social media
profiles, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest
and others, to ensure professionalism. One careless tweet or post can be enough for an employer to decide not to call you back.
- Did you blow the phone screen? Many
candidates underestimate the importance of the initial phone screen in
getting a job. Some assume that a phone interview with a human resources
manager or recruiter isn't the "real" interview and doesn't need to be
treated as such. That's a mistake, since approaching a phone interview
too casually can ensure that you never get to talk to the hiring
manager. If you answered the call in an unprofessional tone or were
for the interview (for example, asking "Which job is this for?") then
you may have blown the phone screen – and a chance at that job.
- Did you ask for too much at the wrong time? If
you made it through the initial rounds but didn't get the job, then you
may have made a misstep at the pre-negotiation stage. Though recruiters
and managers may try to pin you down on your desired salary early in
the process, it's smart to keep your cards close to the vest for as long
as possible. Your goal in sharing salary information
prior to being offered a job is to avoid stating specific numbers
first. Otherwise, you might price yourself too high or too low and miss
- Did you make an interview gaffe?
It's just as easy to make a critical mistake at the interview stage as
earlier in your job search. If you went in for an interview but didn't
get asked back, you might have said something that was a red flag, or
maybe you asked a wrong question
of your interviewer. For example, if you jumped the gun in raising
issues about salary, benefits, working from home or how quickly you
might be promoted, it could have signaled to the hiring manager that you
were more interested in the perks than the position.
Shining a light on yourself to determine what went wrong
with your job application or interview isn't easy, but it can be time
well spent. By understanding how you got off course, you'll be in a
better position to do things differently the next time around.