Understanding Rejection in the Job Market

Any time interviews are involved, there’s always a chance of rejection.  Interviews are two-way streets – while the company is interviewing candidates, the candidate should also be interviewing the company.  There are many grounds for why a candidate or a company may be rejected.  Let’s explore some of them.

Personality / Team Chemistry

As a hiring manager, this is one of the factors that I look at in my candidates.  I know my team and their personalities – personally and business-wise.  I know what personalities work well together, and I know which ones will cause turbulence for my team.  As a manager, I need to make sure my team’s chemistry is in balance so that they work together to meet the common end goal of delivering a project that satisfies our client.

Not the Right Time

Sometimes, it isn’t the right time to go for a position.  Especially in the world of consulting, we need to make sure that work is there so that our consultants are working and not getting paid to sit around on the bench.  If the business pipeline isn’t strong enough for another employee, then it’s wise to hold off on hiring employees.

Not the Right Skill Level

Sometimes, it’s easy to team up a junior with a senior to fill a mid-level position temporarily.  But sometimes, your resources are tied up and you really need a mid-level.  This happens.

More often than not, job descriptions are tailored specifically for a range of skills with clear intentions.  This means that, as candidates, you are guessing how much of that job description is solid and how much has wiggle room.  While it doesn’t necessarily hurt to go for a position that may be 6 months – 1 year out, it’s definitely a gamble as to where there may be wiggle room in the job description.

Not the Right Environment

A job interview onsite makes it easy to identify if a company’s culture is the right fit for a candidate.  Face it – a website and words can tell one story, but the company’s culture needs to be experienced in person to be truly understood.  This rejection reason is more of why a candidate may reject a company.  Sometimes, while a job description sounds appealing, the company atmosphere itself is unpleasant and not the right place.

The Better Candidate

With as many openings as there are out there, there are also many job seekers.  Some people are better than others on selling their skills and their employability.  Sometimes, there’s one candidate that’s better qualified.  Sometimes, there’s one that’s a better fit for a team.  It’s up to the hiring manager and the company to make that decision of who is the better candidate for their position.  If you get this rejection, make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward.  You need to make a great impression on all that you meet – from the receptionist to HR to hiring managers to everyone in between.  You never know who is commiserating with whom.  As long as you are putting the best you out there, then there’s nothing else you can really do (unless you know the other candidate and know how to sell yourself positively to stand out better than them).

Where do we go from here?

Try not to take the rejection too personally.  More often than not, the rejection boils down to the point in time.  It typically isn’t a “You can never work here” type of rejection – unless you’ve done something extremely wrong, this is rare.  If you really want to work somewhere and get rejected, try again later, when your skills are sharper or when the right opportunity appears.



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