Interviewing for a new job is an exercise in humiliation and uncertainty.  Whether you’re interviewing for a job at a new company or just changing roles at your present employer, the process is difficult.

You do everything you can to look your best, act your best and be the best you can be. You meet with several people who act like they’d love to have you as a co-worker.  At the end of the process, you’re super excited to get that offer. Then the call comes:


You hear the “reason” you didn’t get the job (e.g., “You were a perfect fit but we had a hard choice between two great candidates.” “You’re overqualified for the job.”)

Do you want to know real reason you didn’t get it?  Here are some possibilities, from an article by Mike Figliuolo of thought Leaders LLC:

You rubbed someone the wrong way. Your personality clashed with one of your interviewers and they blackballed you.  It happens.  Nothing you can do about your personality.  And candidly, if you clashed with a couple of people, you wouldn’t have been happy working there anyway.

You said something stupid.  You may not have done enough homework on the company or the industry.  You may have inadvertently insulted someone culturally, racially, religiously, or some other way. Replay all the conversations and facial expressions in your head.  Remember any furrowed brows?

You have unreasonable expectations. You asked for too much money, too much vacation, or too much accommodation of personal needs. If you come across as high maintenance or overly entitled, they don’t want to deal with your diva-dom on a daily basis.  In the future, adjust your expectations.  Make no requests or demands until they’ve fallen in love with you and are falling all over themselves to hire you.

Another candidate kicked your butt.  You were good.  The other candidate was a 55- gallon drum of Awesomesauce.  Not much you can do about this.  There are some very talented people out there.  You’re going to lose sometimes.  More often than not, you’ll hear “it was a tough choice.”  Sometimes it was.  Sometimes it wasn’t.  If you have good relationships at the company, try to find out who got the job and try to understand what they have that you don’t.  That can be your development plan for the coming year

The job was already taken but they had to interview other candidates.  Sometimes hiring managers write a job description such that their pet person is the only person who could ever get the job.  By default they’ve given the role to that person, but HR and Talent Acquisition departments are pretty adamant about all requisitions going through the proper process.  You’ve just got to accept that sometimes the deck is stacked against you.

The best advice for job candidates, Figliuolo says, is to rigorously research the company and the job, be low maintenance, put your best foot forward, and move on with your life when you don’t land the job.  Usually it’s for the best if you didn’t because the next role that pops up might be the dream job you’ve always wished for.