The Most Surprising Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job

How frustrating is it to get to the final round of an interview process, only to find out that you were the runner-up? While it might make a lot of people say that you should be thrilled you made it that far, the reality is that you didn’t get the job!

When I was a recruiter, I had to let a few candidates I really like know that we were “going in another direction”—and I hated it because there were confidential things I wanted to tell them, but didn’t feel like I could.

For example:

1. The Hiring Manager Decided Not to Hire Anyone

I’ve been in countless meetings that went something like this: We’d narrow our list down to our top two or three candidates and feel good about the possibility of hiring one of them.

Then, a few days later, we’d reconvene and the hiring manager suddenly decided that her budget was too restrictive, and that she’d be better off pausing the search. This was frustrating for me as a recruiter, but was even harder for the candidates to understand.

But there wasn’t much I could do, even though we were down to a handful of people we really liked. And because the search got put on pause, there wasn’t anything that the top candidates could’ve done differently.

2. You Were Qualified—But Someone Else Had a Little Something Extra

In another search I lead, I advocated really passionately for someone I thought would be excellent. And the hiring manager agreed, except there was one major problem—the other finalist had a bit of experience that we didn’t call for in the job description, but was clearly something we knew would be incredible for this position.

Of course, that was great news for our company. But for that person I was originally pounding the table for, it was the end of the road—and I had to make the unfortunate job rejection call to someone that to this day, I’m sure would’ve been amazing in the role.