4 More Reasons You Didn't Get The Job

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We’re back this week with Betty Boss, our fictional hiring manager who discussed with us last week why the boss didn’t hire you for reasons that are in your control. This week, Betty is going to address the things you can’t control. And then next week, I’ll tell you what you can do about them.

So let’s hear from Betty again…Me: Thanks for visiting with us again, Betty!

Betty Boss: You’re very welcome.

Me: OK, Betty, this week we’re talking about the reasons you didn’t hire the candidate that are out of the candidate’s control, so, please, tell us: why didn’t you hire this candidate?

Betty: I didn’t hire this candidate, because I’m looking to build out the team with a variety of perspectives. Perhaps the group is full of big-picture extroverts and I’m looking to put somebody on the team who is more detail-oriented and data-driven. Or I’ve got a number of process mavens on the team, and for this hire I’d like to have somebody who breaks the rules to generate great results.

There can be any number of combinations. Paying attention to the composition of a team is important to me, and despite how wonderful a particular candidate is, if they don’t match up with the personality or management style I’m looking to select for a position, they won’t get the nod.

Me: Thanks, Betty. What’s another reason you didn’t hire the candidate?

Betty: Well, I didn’t hire this candidate because I’m looking for somebody with a different industry background. For a particular role, it might be important for me to have somebody with a deep knowledge of our industry, the players and the customers, and the history of how we got here. Or, conversely, I might be looking to bring in somebody with an outside perspective from a different industry to help the team think more creatively about solutions to the challenges we face.

Me: Ah, that’s interesting. Do you know about these background requirements in advance? Don’t you select people to interview based on these requirements?

Betty: Frequently, I do have an idea about these requirements in advance, and I’m able to express those preferences to the recruiter or HR person working on the role. But other times, the interviewing process itself helps me determine what I’m looking for, so it’s a mixed bag.

Me: Thanks, Betty. What’s another reason you might not hire the candidate?

Betty: I might not hire a candidate because we haven’t had success with that profile in our organisation.

Perhaps they come from a company with a star system and we’re more team-oriented, or they’re from a start-up environment that’s “loosey goosey” with the rules and that won’t work in our more staid environment.

There has to be good match — a cultural fit — for us to bring somebody on board. I suppose that when everybody with whom the candidate interviews is quite a different type from the candidate, there ought to be a recognition that there just isn’t a good match.

Me: And how about one more, Betty?

Betty: I didn’t hire this candidate because I’m looking for somebody with more experience. Of course we’ve all heard candidates who’ve said, “I’m a quick study” or, “I can learn the role fast,” but sometimes there’s just not the appetite or the interest to fund somebody’s on-the-job training when we need solutions yesterday.

Or, on the other hand, I could be looking for somebody earlier in their career who doesn’t have as much experience as the candidate. There can be for all sorts of reasons, with the size of the pay package being one of the most obvious.

Me: Hey, Betty, c’mon: Isn’t that just a polite way to say age discrimination?

Betty: I’ve certainly noticed that older candidates are not appreciated for their wisdom as much as one would like. And there are definitely cases I’ve seen in the industry where “new blood” or “energy” have been code words for “don’t let the older folks through the door.” That’s unfair, and illegal, and should be acknowledged as such.

At the same time, there are older candidates who have been hired because they temper their hard-won years of experience with zeal, enthusiasm, and an appreciation for new ways of doing things, so these negative stereotypes can be surmounted in some cases.

Me: Well, Betty, thanks for the insight.

Betty: You’re quite welcome.

OK, folks, that’s our “interview” with a hypothetical hiring manager sharing the reasons candidates don’t get hired. Over the next two weeks, I’ll let you know what you can do about it.

Have a great week!

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