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14 Jul 2019 Nissar Ahamed

10 Reasons You’re Not Getting Called Back After An Interview

You left the interview with utmost confidence.

In your mind, you nailed it! You wowed everyone in the room including your potential future supervisor. You believe you shined throughout the hiring process, and you are confident that you have the job. You even sent a “Thank You” letter to each one of the interviewers.

You did everything right!…Right?

It’s only a matter of hours or couple of days they call you to extend the offer.

This is your ideal scenario.

However, it’s been a few days – no calls and no emails.

Days then become a week or two, but still no response from the company.

I know this can extremely nerve-wracking, and you are surprised why they haven’t called you back. You start to lose hope and get dis-heartened, and you are not sure why they haven’t called you.

Trust me, you’re not alone.

This has happened to most people (if not everyone) – who have ever gone through the job interview process. Everyone has experienced this at least once in a lifetime.

The dreaded silence after your final interview.

Perhaps you are wondering WHY?

In this post, I will cover all the various reasons or possible scenarios why you haven’t received a callback after your job interview.

(You may be surprised to read that not all of this is your fault).

People discussing changes at their company

#1 – Changes At The Company

When it comes to business, things can change pretty quickly. The company falls short on earnings, a round of funding falls through, etc. This can cause the company to implement major policy changes or restructuring. This isn’t common everyday, but it does happen.

Back in 2008, I was working at one of the largest financial institutions in North America.

Our performance as a team and company was solid. We had a few stellar quarters and our Inside Sales team was ready to expand.

My manager at that time was in the midst of her hiring process. She was constantly interviewing candidates and bringing them through the process. Some candidates even reached the final stages of receiving an offer.

Then…the unexpected happened! The Great Recession of 2008 hit.

All financial institutions in North America were under scrutiny. My company made a major policy change overnight.

No more hiring for the foreseeable future. No discretionary spending in terms of travel, entertainment, training,etc.

There was a hiring freeze across every office.

When things like this happen, it does not affect an individual candidate, but also every candidate in the pool.

#2 – Budgetary Restrictions

You had an amazing interview with your potential hiring manager. Both of you can see that this opportunity is the perfect fit for each other. This is your dream job, and you are her dream candidate.

Then she brings up the question “What are your salary expectations?”.

This is a question that gives most candidates the chills, one of the most nerve-wracking questions.

You’ve come well-prepared having you done all of your research on salaries and compensation.

You check out PayScale, Glassdoor, Salary.com, and you feel like you know exactly what you are worth and what you should be paid.

So you answer “Based on my experience and market research, I am being considered for roles in the range of $XXX,XXX”.

You have done everything right. You were calm and answered the question professionally.

However, you do not get any type of response from your hiring manager.
She is hard to read, just like an amazing poker player.

Both of you then wrap up the interview and you leave the office confident you aced the interview, and she goes her way back to her work for the day.

You wait and wait, and when you finally get the call the answers is, “thanks but we decided to move forward with someone else.”

Here’ what happened:

She went back to her boss / HR team and asked what was in the budget. She was provided a strict number and they have limited budget for this role. They are not able to get an approval beyond that amount.

Personally, I have been in this situation as a hiring manager.

I worked for a startup and we had limited budget. I could not proceed with the interview process for few candidates. In some cases, I could not even invite stellar candidates to my next round because we could not afford them.

It is hard to fathom this possibility but this happens.

You asked for what you are worth, and they could not afford you. If you take a step back, this is probably good news for you though. You deserve to find a company and a role who can pay you what you’re worth.

#3 – The Needs For The Role Have Changed

In the midst of your hiring process, your company finds out that the business requires a change in strategy. Now they require a totally different skill-set from the original job posting.

Maybe the company has pivoted to a different market, maybe budget was reallocated to another project, or maybe they receive a directive from their head office that they are centralizing some of the functions and the role you were going to be hired for has moved to a location somewhere in another city or another country.

There is no need to hire someone for this position in your market right away.

Your position or the role is no longer relevant so the company decided to put things on hold and not hire anyone.

Man holding a globe thinking about vacation

#4 – Everyone Needs A Vacation, Right? Even Your Hiring Manager

The hiring manager might be on vacation, simple as that!

Now of course, they don’t have to disclose this because they have only met you once.

The timing could be really bad – the HR specialist might be on vacation this week, the hiring manager is on vacation the following week, and her boss (the final decision maker) is on vacation the week after.

Until all of them sit down together, they cannot proceed so it could be a matter of weeks before you know their final decision.

March, August, and December are usually the months that this scenario can happen (especially in North America).

I know because this exact scenario happened to me.

I once had to wait 6 weeks to get a call back and a job offer (and at that time it was my dream job).

Due to my financial situation I needed to find a job and I really loved this role, but they didn’t call me for weeks.

I accepted another offer and was ready to start another job – I wrote off my dream job. Perhaps it was not meant to be. But they called me back after what felt like an eternity.

Of course, I ended up taking the offer from the dream job (even though it was 6 weeks late), and I worked there for 5 years, and it was one of the best jobs I ever had.

Your future boss is also human and she needs a break. This is why it’s important to follow up every 5 business days to ensure that you’re up to date on the status of your application.

#5 – Personnel Changes at the Company

Turns out the hiring manager you met and interviewed with no longer works at the company. They have left the company for another job, or their position was terminated.

Your prospective boss might also have been interviewing at the same time, and has found a better position. The last thing she would be thinking about is the candidate that’s waiting for an answer.

#6 – They Haven’t Met All Of The Candidates

Hiring managers spend most of their time on their core business activities not hiring.

For example, a Sales Manager spends most of her time selling and coaching.
A Marketing Director spends her time running marketing campaigns and managing her team.

Hiring is a key part of their duties as a Manager of the team, but other projects and life can get in the way.

As someone who has worked in a Senior Marketing Leadership role, clocking in 60+ hours a week – I can attest to this fact.

Because of that, they are not able to squeeze in time to meet every single candidate in a single week (or even two). Many of their interviews are spread out over the course of several weeks or even months.

Once they have met all the shortlisted candidates they can make the decision around who they want to move forward with. If they haven’t met everyone yet, that’s likely why you haven’t heard back.

A friend of mine works for one of the largest names in Software, and has a thriving career there. However, his interview and hiring process lasted 6 months (that’s insane). But, he would be the first to say that it was totally worth it.

In this scenario – you have 2 options (I’d recommend both!):

Option 1 – Be patient, send them a professional follow-up note, and wait to hear back on the current status.

Option 2 – Continue looking elsewhere, worst case scenario you end up with the offer and a few extra hours of work. Best case scenario, you have multiple job offers sitting in your lap!

Candidates waiting to hear back after a job interview

#7 – They Haven’t Found Their “Ideal” Candidate

In my past role, as a hiring manager – I did have a pool of candidates for a role I was interviewing. Unfortunately,all the candidates in that pool were similar.

No one really stood out.

So, I had to continue the hiring and screening process. I couldn’t afford to hire someone that wasn’t going to perform up to the expectations we had. It was a critical role not only for my team but also had a direct bearing on the success of our company.

I did what any rational hiring manager would do, I kept looking!

I am sure other hiring managers have also felt this in from time-to-time when they had to grow their teams. It happens a lot.

He might have found the best technical fit, but not necessarily the best culture fit.
Or he might have found the best culture fit, but the candidate does not have all the required skills.

It could be a number of reasons, but he doesn’t have the confidence in making a decision. He has to continue meeting other candidates, so he can make a decision from a larger pool.

Here is what’s important to note – it would cost them a lot of effort, time, resources and money if they hire the wrong candidate.

They need to ensure that they are making the right decision.

If this scenario happens to you as a candidate – then you haven’t done a good enough job of convincing your prospective employer that you are the best fit for the role.

#8 – They Found Someone Better

Yikes – I know it might hurt but this is a legitimate reason (and one of the most common) for not landing the job.

Perhaps the next candidate they met immediately after you was even more qualified. Maybe that individual swept them off their feet. It’s even possible that particular candidate requires a shorter ramp up and training time or they promoted someone from within the company.

You did your best. You gave it everything you had, but there’s always a chance that someone else deserved that job more.

I remember a situation in my early 20s — I had a phone interview for a position, and I had one of my best interviews at that time. I could tell that the hiring manager was impressed and there was strong likelihood I would be invited to the next round.

But I did not get a call back.

So, I followed up and called them. I got to speak with the hiring manager.
He was kind enough to be honest. He mentioned they met lots of other candidates who had 5+ years of experience and would be much more qualified than me.

I was good but not good enough among the pool of candidates. It made sense and I would have done the same if I was in his shoes.

#9 – You Don’t Have The Right Skills

It is possible that you didn’t have all the skills required to perform well in that job and meet the hiring manager’s expectations. Trust me, this happens a lot.

As mentioned earlier, hiring managers are busy. They have a full-time jobs in addition to their hiring responsibilities. The last thing they want to do is hire an under-qualified candidate and spend more time training and coaching them.

Or maybe you do have all the required skills and would have been great at that role but you did not do a great job of conveying your skills to the hiring manager.

Most of the time, the hiring manager doesn’t want to deliver the bad news.

Even though, they have decided not to proceed with you – they would rather give you the silent treatment rather than breaking your heart with bad news. (In my opinion – this is totally unprofessional – I believe HR and Hiring Managers should always keep candidates in the loop).

But most people are nice and they don’t want to offend others.

Job seeker trying to empress an employer

#10 – You Didn’t Impress Them

Maybe you are the most qualified candidate. Maybe you have the most experience amongst every other person who has applied for that job. You would kill it if given the opportunity.

But, we all know that we only get one chance to make a lasting impression with our potential boss (during the interview process).

In many technical roles – the candidates are really really strong with their hard skills. They are masters of their skill-set. However, they falter or fail in their soft skills (communication skills, punctuality, ability to gel well with a team,etc.). This often becomes their Achilles Heel.

No matter how good you are – there is no substitute for preparing well for your interview. There is no substitute for putting your best foot forward and wowing them during that one chance you have.

If you are facing a panel interview (or a group of managers) – then it is important to impress all of them.

Job Search and Interviewing is a skill-set that most of us aren’t natural at. It is something we need to practice no matter how sharp you are technically.

So, the hiring manager decided to pass on you..

Key Takeaways

There you have it – 10 possible reasons or scenarios why you are not getting a call back after your job interview.

In your case, it could be one or more of any of these situations.

I encourage any candidate or job seeker to always be proactive.

Here are a few things you can do to be more proactive.

After your interview, send a thank you note and follow up with an email or call (however don’t be overly incessant).

  • Always be interviewing at other opportunities. Unless and until you have received a written job offer it is not final. So don’t rest on your perceived performance in an interview.
  • Remember that interviewing is a skill-set. Practice and preparation can do wonders for your job search. The most prepared & qualified candidate will always beat the candidate who is only qualified.
  • Read career blogs, watch videos, listen to career podcasts or even hire a career coach to help you with this.

I wish the best in your job search.

Nissar Ahamed

Founder & CEO of CareerMetis.com, a publication dedicated to helping job seekers and freelancers with actionable advice and resources. He is also the host of The Career Insider Podcast and the co-host of The C.A.R.E. Podcast

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