I wish the company would tell me why I’m not the right fit for the job! Despite my efforts to find out the details of my apparent mismatch, all I’m hearing on my end are crickets…Bueller?
As frustrating as being rejected from your dream employer can be, it can be even more maddening to not know the reasons for the company’s decision not to move you forward in the job interview process, or ultimately to hire you. After all, how can you improve your approach if you don’t receive any constructive criticism or feedback? Well, consider some of the reasons organizations fail to enlighten applicants about their reasons for non-selection. While some of them may be legitimate, others might just leave you wringing your hands. Nevertheless, perhaps having a better understanding of each can help you recognize areas for your own improvement and/or better equip you to seek out companies that make thoughtful applicant correspondence a high priority.
Will You Bite the Messenger’s Head Off?
This may seem surprising to you (depending on how even-keeled you are), but some company recruiting representatives may avoid getting back to you about your job prospect because they’d rather not expose themselves to the possibility that you will react in an unsavory manner. Speaking from personal experience, I can recall a specific instance where I told an individual that we wouldn’t be moving him forward in the process at the end of my phone interview with him. He didn’t hold back on his opinion, and promptly told me that I could, well…I better not say it here as it was quite colorful to say the least. This isn’t an excuse for companies shirking feedback inquiries; however, the frequency of this type of situation may depend on the “classiness” of the average applicant to the organization.
HR or the Hiring Manager is Non-Confrontational
Some people cringe and cower at the thought of telling someone “no.” Even if its only via email…maybe they don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings. Others may avoid delivering a “no thank you” to the candidate due to the reasons for the decision, some of which may include:
- By coincidence, the hiring manager learned some negative feedback about you from a mutual acquaintance (i.e. maybe someone at the company knows you or knows of you).
- He/she doesn’t want to spend the time to respond because it is evident from your interview that you spent zero time preparing/researching for the interview. For example, did you know what the company sold? (Hope so!)
- Your professionalism left something to be desired. Whether your manners were lackluster, your natural musk was putrid, or your gum smacking was highly irritating…the human resources person didn’t want to be the one to break it (though arguably this should be obvious) to you.
- You answered a call or text during the interview. Please note that even if you ask the interviewer if its okay to take it, its not! You’re in a formal interview…turn it off. If you haven’t heard back about why you didn’t make the cut…sit tight…maybe they’ll text you…maybe.
- Your late arrival to the interview…especially without providing advanced warning. If you don’t make time to respect their schedules, then maybe they’ve decided not to take time out to respond to you.
- By comparison to other candidates, the answers you provided during the interview didn’t shed you in the best light. Other individuals are just more qualified than you.
The Dog Ate Your Contact Information
This one would be categorized under the inexcusable category in my book, especially in light of all the hiring software solutions today that allow organizations to easily keep track of applicant progress through the selection process. However, maybe you are waiting patiently by the phone because the HR manager really lost your contact info. The likelihood of this being the reason is slim; however, it may be more common at really small (and slightly disheveled) organizations.
Just Following Policy, Ma’am
In the interest of protecting themselves from potential employment-related lawsuits, it’s not uncommon to encounter businesses that refuse to give details about why an applicant was not extended an offer. This is arguably the most legitimate of reasons for refusing to provide feedback to interviewees. Especially in larger companies, managers want to minimize the potential for the many different people involved in the hiring process to accidentally disclose a piece of information that could somehow be used against the business by a disgruntled (and sometimes rightfully so) applicant.
Employment Brand is Not Top of Mind
While organizations are generally more easily concerned with the brand image of their products or services, sometimes employment brand (aka the feelings and expectations others experience when thinking about applying and/or working at your company) is left on the back burner. This is all too true for companies who fail to offer feedback for the following types of reasons:
- The hiring manager in charge of correspondence is just bad at follow up and follow through…either from being disorganized or just apathetic.
- Their recruiting professionals are busy and just don’t make time to offer suggestions to candidates for improvement.
- The company has a super lengthy selection process. Read: It’s been so long that you think they have failed to respond, but really…maybe they will in another two months?
Don’t fret! Even if you can’t always get a post mortem from companies at which you interview, look for organizations that offer content on their website or jobs portal about how to prepare for the interview process, what to expect in terms of length of the recruiting cycle and their tendency to be (or not to be) transparent regarding the reasons for various hiring decisions. Then, at least you’ll have a better idea of what to expect going into the interview…and that helps everyone involved.
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