Why Didn’t They Hire Me? A Dozen Reasons Students, Graduates and Professionals Don’t Get Hired After the Interview!

May 31, 2020

Have you ever left an interview feeling like you hit it out of the park only to get that email saying, “…we’ve gone with another candidate.”  Don’t be discouraged, because not all is lost if you do an honest assessment of your candidacy.

Here are a DOZEN reasons interviews didn’t go as well as we thought:

1.  Not clearly communicating your value
Companies don’t pay people for time, but for the value they bring.  Spend some time thinking about what makes you different from everyone else and why you would be a valuable member of the team.  Be able to answer this question:  Why Should We Hire You?

2.  Not being yourself in the interview

From the awkward hand shake to the sweaty forehead – You sat down and your personality fled the room!  Personality and likability play a huge role in hiring decisions.  Relax, Compose and BE YOURSELF!

3.  Shying away from and minimizing your achievements
An Interview is one of the unique times when it is perfectly acceptable and expected to highlight your accomplishments.  You have to sell yourself!  The candidates interviewing before and after you are not going to convey what a great job you did on that big project.  That’s YOUR job!

4.  Overconfidence
No one wants to work with a know-it-all.  You can’t teach them anything.  Talk about your achievements and value with humility.

5.  Unprepared
Preparation determines interest.  Make sure you’ve done your homework on the company and can articulate why you want to work for them.  Bad answers:  I need a job, the pay, the benefits!  Good answers:  Shared vision, mission, integrity!

6.  Failure to address that ONE thing
Did you ask if there were any concerns about your candidacy?  Most don’t.  It is perfectly OKAY to inquire about any hesitancy the company may have about hiring you or if there is anything during the interview they need more clarification on.  Once you are out the door, it is too late.  Talk about it while you have their attention.

7.  Rambling
WONK, WONK, WONK!  Don’t go on and on and on and on.  When you eat up too much time on one question, it doesn’t leave time for the rest of the interview.  Keep your answers concise.  If you think you may have cut the answer short you can always ask, “Does this answer your question?”

8.  Poor follow through
Be sure to send a hand written note thanking everyone for their time and consideration.  An email gets tossed into the “Sea of Sameness” with everyone else.

9.  It was over before it started
The company had a pre-determined candidate they planned to hire before you ever walked in and there is nothing you could have said or done to change their mind.  Don’t take it personal.  Always give your best interview and make them wish they had hired you!  The Portland Trail Blazers wish they had hired Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant.

10.  Not asking for the job
In order to G-E-T you have to A-S-K.  Be sure to let them know you want the position.  Ask what the next step in the process is and for the opportunity to move forward in that process.

11.  It didn’t go as well as you thought
Reality Check – When I work one-on-one with clients we VIDEO!  The playback is often painful, but extremely beneficial.  You can learn a ton and make drastic improvements by learning from watching yourself perform.

12.  It wasn’t meant for you
Just because you can get the job and would be great at it, doesn’t mean it’s meant for you.  There is something bigger and better right around the corner.  Be ready!

Marinate on these.  Make adjustments.  Go get HIRED!  Learn more at www.brooksharper.com

Brooks Harper is an Author, Speaker and Career Expert.  He has successfully led clients to rewarding careers in higher education, pharmaceuticals, bio-medical, defense contracting, fashion and host of other industries.  He has spoken on hundreds of K-12, College and Corporate campuses to more than 750,000 students and professionals. He aspires to the belief that every day is an interview and an opportunity to turn learning into earning.


See All Posts

free newsletter

Subscribe to the mailing list and receive Brook's latest updates delivered right to your inbox!

join today!

Subscribe to our mailing list

what they're saying

  • Brooks Harper energized the crowd at the South Carolina Career and Technology Education Conference with his Keynote message of Why Should We Hire Your Students? Brooks kept approximately 1400 conference participants on the edge of their seats during his entire presentation. His humor along with his straight-forward and common sense Read more...

    Rodney K. Miller – SC CTE Conference Coordinator
  • Brooks spoke at our annual state conference for School Counselors. He was a fantastic speaker and had the whole room laughing throughout his presentation. He was relevant, energetic and inspirational.

    Leah Heckles – Board Member – Delaware School Counselor Association
  • You were everything Family and Consumer Science Teachers enjoy in a keynote and session presenter!

    Cathy Jo Reynolds – Ohio Association of Family and Consumer Science Teachers Conference
  • As Vice President and Chair of the SC TRiO State conference committee, I want to thank you for the amazing job you did as our opening speaker at this past year's conference in March down in Charleston. Please keep up the great work!

    Antonio Robinson – TRiO Programs – Trident Technical College
  • If you get the opportunity to see this guy speak or bring him to your school for your students, you better take advantage of it. He was awesome!

    Teresa Hawker – Upward Bound Director – Indian River State College West Palm Beach, FL
  • Brooks Harper was an amazing, dynamic and engaging presenter. I hope to have him back here again and again.

    Mark Spergel – Director of Student Orientation -Baruch College New York, NY
  • Brooks Harper is an excellent speaker for educators, students and adults. His real life stories, tips and techniques are right on target with what today's hiring professionals are looking for. I encourage anyone wanting to promote career readiness, job seeking and interview skills to work with him. You will not Read more...

    Lisa Call – Chief Operating Officer – Midlands Education and Business Alliance Columbia, SC
  • Brooks' presentation to the Freshman Academy students at LDHS was totally awesome! I am so grateful to him for reiterating important values and skills our students need to be successful citizens. The students and staff thoroughly enjoyed his one on one follow up sessions in the classrooms after the assembly; Read more...

    Lacresha Byrd – Assistant Principal – Freshman Academy at Laurens District High School
  • Brooks Harper is fantastic! He is caring, genuine and our students responded to him. If our students take just half of this information to heart, they will be successful."

    Brant Freeman – Director of Guidance – Camden High School Camden, SC
  • Brooks Harper captures the room from the minute he hits the podium … his enthusiasm, energy and words of wisdom registered equally with not only the students but also their parents and other adult guests.

    Ed Garrison – Education Economic Development Coordinator – Kershaw County School District
  • One of the best Keynotes I have ever attended!

    John Grant – Counselor – Delaware School Counselor Association Conference
  • I wanted to say thanks for such an excellent presentation yesterday. We had 175 college and high school teachers in attendance. I received nothing but positive comments about your message. They thoroughly enjoyed your entertaining approach to soft skills.

    Lisa Robins – Coordinator – Catawba Regional Education Center
  • Brooks Harper is dynamic, engaging and his suggestions were right on target.

    Phylis Gill – Director of Guidance – Providence Day School Charlotte, NC
  • Brooks Harper is entertaining, down-to-earth and a very insightful speaker to listen to!

    Paula Marschner – North Dakota ACTE Conference Coordinator
  • What a phenomenal job Brooks did at the 2016 NC FBLA State Leadership Conference! His keynote was on the Mark!

    Mary Jane Thomas – North Carolina FBLA State Adviser
  • Our Staff loved you! Thank you so much for helping us kick off the school year.

    Dr. Ann Dargon, Superintendent – Westport Community Schools – Westport, Massachusetts
  • After hearing Brooks one time I was hooked on what he delivers to our teachers and our students across the state of North Carolina. I highly recommend what he does!

    Linda Lay – North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
  • Brooks shared such a powerful message with our 8th grade students. He was able to engage, excite, and motivate in a way that I have never seen before. I had students begging for his book.

    James LaPier – Principal, North Myrtle Beach Middle School
  • I felt the spark. I'm ready to go back to my class and start a wildfire!

    Lesha Smith – Associate Professor
  • After 20 years of conferences, this was the most relevant!

    John Augustine, CTE Director
  • Awesome presentation - I would love to hear it all over again.

    Jennifer Hain, CTE Director
  • This is one of the most energetic, passionate, engaging and relevant keynote presentations I've ever heard!

brooks' clients