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Why You Aren’t Getting Hired (Do’s and Don’ts)

Finding the right job can be difficult.  Identifying a role that has the best of everything you are looking for is a challenge- even if your skill set is in high demand.  So, it can be heart-wrenching once you find that “perfect” opportunity and they reject you.  And to pour salt in the wound, you may not get a direct answer on “why.”

It genuinely may be your skills and experience.   Being over qualified or under-qualified can be a valid reason.  However, what if it’s not?  You had a great phone interview and then met with the company, but now you are being told “no thank you.”  Here is a list of some top Do’s and Don’ts to consider in preparing for your next interview.


  • Research on the company and review your interviewers on LinkedIn.  In addition to getting more details, this demonstrates your interest and follow up.  Be prepared to share your understanding of the job responsibilities.
  • Ask how you should dress for the interview if you are unsure.
  • Keep it professional with the appropriate amount of personality and warmth- smile!  Show them you are taking the meeting seriously; don’t be overly “jokey.”
  • Bring at least two copies of your resume.  Ensure they look neat and clean.
  • Make eye contact and nod your head in agreement at the appropriate times.
  • Discuss your personal accomplishments and contributions to a team or project.  Interviewers want to know why they should hire you, not your previous colleagues.
  • Take notes.  In addition to helping you stay organized, this reflects the appropriate professionalism.  Write down any topics/ideas you may want to revisit in the conversation.
  • Ask questions.  Ask questions of them, not you.  For example, ask questions about their expectations for the person they hire, what they need done most immediately, how they will measure your impact, etc.  Wait to ask questions about you: compensation, benefits or the vacation policy until it’s more appropriate.
  • Let them know you are interested.  If the position truly appears to be a match- tell them why and confirm you understand the opportunity and the next steps in the process.
  • Follow up after the interview. Read this for tips on thank you notes:


  • Arrive too early or late.  Know exactly where you are going and get there early, but don’t walk in more than 15 minutes early.
  • Be overly talkative.  Your answers should be between 30 seconds – 2 minutes.  If you feel the need to keep talking, ask if they would like for you to expand.
  • Speak negatively of past bosses, companies, jobs, etc.  Be honest and direct, but discuss the positives and what you learned– and how it prepared you for the position you are interviewing.
  • Brag.  Yes, this is the time to sell yourself.  But, ensure your answers surround the topic that’s being discussed and show the appropriate humility.  Have a “quiet confidence.”  You’ll be remembered for it.
  • Lie/exaggerate/inflate.  If you are caught off guard- pause, think about your answer and then be candid.  If you need more time, ask for it.
  • Leave your phone on or look at it when you get a new notification.  It’s distracting and considered rude.
  • Discuss inappropriate interview subjects (religion, politics, etc.).

If you are working with a Recruiter, ask them to let you decide if you are “over qualified” (when possible) and not to reject the opportunity on your behalf.  The total package and impact may be of more interest to you and you should have the opportunity to consider it.

What is the top Do or Don’t YOU would add to these lists?

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