shutterstock_171781154You worked diligently on your résumé and cover letter, polishing them to perfection. Then you submitted them both for a position you sought. Soon thereafter you received a screening call from the hiring company’s Human Resources Department. You evidently passed that test with flying colors because soon thereafter the hiring manager contacted you to set up a “face-to-face” interview onsite.

Wow! It seemed as though you might be well on your way to landing the job, right?! Well, maybe. But then again, maybe not.

You honestly believe that you did quite well in the face-to-face interview. Actually, you felt as though you were so thoroughly and completely prepared that you literally ACED the interview! But guess what? Within a week here comes the dreaded “Thank you for applying . . .” letter. Much to your surprise (and chagrin) you’re now completely out of the running! What happened?!

No matter how well prepared you are, or how well you believe you did during the initial face-to-face interview with a hiring manager, you still could be summarily excluded from further consideration after just one interview. Hey, it happens, and oftentimes you may never learn the true reason(s) for your fate.

Be that as it may, here are the TOP FIVE reasons candidates, even TOP candidates, find themselves out of the running after just one face-to-face interview:

  1. Despite what your résumé indicates, the hiring manager simply didn’t think/believe you had the experience, technical skills and/or background to perform the job as he or she expects.
  2. You may have had the requisite experience, technical skills and/or background to do the job, but the hiring manager felt other candidates were more qualified than you.
  3. The hiring manager may simply not have liked you or how you presented yourself—for whatever reason(s), valid or not.
  4. The hiring manager may have concluded that you would not be a good “cultural fit” for the unit and/or the company, e.g., you may have been “too loud,” “too quiet,” or “too-something.”
  5. No matter how well you prepared and practiced before the interview, you still ended up “blowing it” for any number of reasons, none of which you may ever be able to understand.

Now, an exception to reasons listed above is if you happen to be pursuing career opportunities through a “headhunter.” (No, I am NOT soliciting new job candidates to present through this post!) Almost always he or she will conduct an “after-action” report with the hiring manager, in order to determine, specifically, why the candidate he or she presented for the opportunity was excluded from further consideration. Beyond that, though, if you are pursuing career opportunities on your own, you may never learn the true reason(s) for being eliminated from the running.

Now What?!

So, where do you go from there?

Well, for one thing, regardless of how many interviews it may take for you either to win a position or to be eliminated from further contention, always, always, always be sure to send a Thank You card or email immediately following the interview. Remember, you’re a professional, so always act like one. Always take the high ground. You know you have a lot to offer professionally. Don’t let the fact that you just received a “rejection letter” from a hiring company knock you off your game or unnecessarily dampen your spirits. Treat this latest rejection as just one of the many “bumps” along the road of life that everyone encounters!

Get back in the game, immediately! Ideally, during your new job search you will have been exploring numerous career opportunities, and not have been relying solely upon the single opportunity for which you have just been eliminated. That way, when various career opportunities go south—as you should expect some will!—you will still have other, equally promising opportunities in the works and in various stages of development.

To put it in yet another perspective and context, as any good, successful general knows, it’s unrealistic, self defeating and counterproductive to expect to win every single battle. Instead the object is to ultimately win the war. “Winning the war” for you is landing the job you seek, the job you deserve—Your DREAM Job!

Just keep on keepin’ on, don’t be dissuaded by minor setbacks and rejection, and constantly ensure that your job hunting skills, tactics and strategies remain sound and flexible, where necessary. If you’ve positioned yourself, professionally, as a TOP candidate with a LOT to offer a hiring company, not every company to which you apply of course will automatically perceive you in that light, but you know what? Quite a few of them will indeed perceive you in precisely that way and you will end up ultimately being successful in your quest for a new, very promising career!


This post is an excerpt from Career Stalled? How to Get YOUR Career Back in HIGH Gear and Land the Job You Deserve—Your DREAM Job!, the latest book in the “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets Series of Career Development/Management Publications.

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