• Creative Fix NZ

The Reason You're Missing Out On Jobs (Part Two)

We won’t write a wordy introduction for this blog, as it follows straight on from last months ‘The Reason You’re Missing Out On Jobs - Part One’. (It was a long one so we felt it was best to split it into two parts!)

Part two is designed for those of you whose CV and cover letter is successfully securing interviews. But alas, soon after this all-important phone, internet or face to face meeting is complete, you hear back that they have chosen someone else for the position. They don’t give you much of a reason, so you’d really like to know what is going wrong! 

We are here to shed some light on this frustrating situation, so without further faffing about, here is our list of potential reasons you may have missed out on the job after you attended the interview. 

NOTE: As per the quasi-disclaimer we made Part One of this blog, we hope you came here for honesty because we're not holding back! As we are not your potential employers, we certainly won't be giving you weak, polite excuses like "There were other applicants whose experience aligned more closely with this opportunity" *Eye roll* Don't get us wrong; sometimes this reason is 100% truthful, and some employers and recruiters ARE brutally honest, which, as hard as it might be to hear, at least gives you something tangible to work on. We're guessing if you're here reading this, that you DON'T know why you're being rejected after an interview though, so let's push on! 


  • May not have done your research on the company before your interview (i.e., They asked you things like why you wanted to work for them, how your ethos aligns with their mission statement, or what you know about the history of their business, and you didn't know what to say... Oh no! Always do your research before your interview! Extra points if you ask some great questions about their business at the end of the interview!)

  • Potentially didn't understand the full scope of the position before your interview (i.e., Social media management is a massive part of the role, and you have never done it before and/or were not aware this was an integral part of the position. This one might not be SO bad if you did not receive the job description before your interview (despite asking for it) or if this wasn't mentioned in the job description. That's more on them! It can still be a reason you miss out on a job though - even if the communication was bad on their part.)

  • Didn't use the job description to prepare answers to the questions you were likely to be asked (i.e. If the job is focused on strategic leadership, you should expect to be asked strategic leadership questions. If the job is about boosting sales, you will need to be able to confidently give examples of how you have excelled in this area, etc.)

  • Showed up late and/or flustered and/or sloppy/unprepared (No additional explanation needed! Always arrive on time (aka 5 mins early) and remember to breathe and remain cool, calm, and collected.)

  • You were not familiar with every single item mentioned in your CV. (It might have been a while since you last read through your CV, so be sure you've read it end-to-end multiple times before your interview. You must be familiar with the document they will be referencing during your interview.)

  • Something was amiss with your personal grooming...(Your personal grooming must be up to par for your first face-to-face interaction. That means clean and tidy hair, nails, clothes, and shoes. We suggest you shower the morning of, ensure you brush your teeth and use mouth wash if need be (do NOT smoke before your interview or chew gum during it), Ensure you use deodorant of some description as interviews can induce stress sweating, so you probably don't want to be filling the interview room with your... err... natural scent, and developing huge sweat patches on your shirt). It's best to keep intense perfumes, and colognes light and not too overpowering, and don't wear too much noisy jewellery that will be jangling and causing a distraction throughout the interview.)

  • Your standard of dress was way off  (This one is a bit of a grey area depending on the job you're interviewing for. Obviously a CEO attending an interview in an office vs a farmer interviewing on the farm might wear different outfits to their interviews - but the general goal should still be clean, tidy, and professional. If you need to keep adjusting your clothing because a button is popping open or your skirt is riding up, you're probably not in the right outfit.)

  • Your attitude... for want of a better word, sucked! (i.e. You were negative and/or rude (interrupting/making derogatory statements/joking around in poor taste) in the interview, or you were predominantly focused on why you wanted the job for yourself and your own career growth. Yeah... Surely you don't need us to tell you that you're probably not going to get anywhere acting like that! Always be polite and friendly, make eye contact, shake their hand/s, smile, be aware of your body language and tone of voice, and let them lead the conversation.)

  • You struggled to answer their questions/stay focused and kept trailing off on a tangent with your answers (Make sure to listen closely to each question. It is okay to take a short pause to think of your answer before delivering a concise, yet insightful response.)

  • The majority of words coming out of your mouth were 'umm' 'ahh' 'like' 'you know' and other space-filling bits and pieces (A certain amount of this is to be expected as you might be a little nervous, but we urge you to avoid language fillers and ‘weak words’ which start with things like “I think I am” or “I hope to” as it can signal to an employer that you are unsure of your abilities or don't know what to say.)

  • You spoke negatively about a past employer (This looks bad. No matter how awful your current or previous job/boss/colleagues are, it would be best if you focused on genuine reasons for leaving, i.e., “I have achieved a lot in my time at XYZ company, including etc.... and am now looking to use this experience to help you achieve...

  • The interview was a farce... Sadly, this does happen! Employers have been known to interview external candidates, even though they had every intention of filling the position internally. It's a shame because it is a waste of your time and energy. All you can do is chalk it up to experience!

We did warn you we would be honest! It's okay if you've read this and realised you've most definitely made some mistakes in the past. We are all human, and we've all failed at something! As we said above, it is entirely possible that you did everything right and you simply missed out on the job because they chose someone else whose expertise and experience aligned better with the position (or the job was never going to be given to an external candidate for a number of either internal politics/legal reasons - i.e., they still had to go through a formal interview process with external candidates.)

If you have an interview coming up and you'd like some assistance preparing for it; we do have two interview guides we sell (these are also given out free to every CV client), as well as offering tailored interview support that includes how to prepare for answering complex behavioural interview questions. We would be happy to help you ace your next interview!