Ask a Hiring Manager: Reasons for Rejection

Here at LiveCareer , we often receive questions from readers about the hows and whys behind the rejection process. This week, we turned those questions around and presented them to the hiring managers in our network. We asked our hiring managers to explain the most common reasons why they typically reject candidates, especially after showing initial interest and even inviting a candidate in for a few rounds of promising interviews. Here’s how they responded.

Internet Issues

“Sometimes we love a candidate, we really do…until we conduct an online search. That’s when things go south. But we don’t reject the candidate because we saw a Facebook photo of him cavorting and drinking with his friends. We reject him because this picture suggests that he doesn’t understand how or when to use his privacy settings. It’s his internet illiteracy that bothers us, not the fact that the candidate drinks, cavorts, or has a life outside of work. I hope your readers understand the difference.” 

“When we find something troubling online, we sometimes contact the candidate and ask for her side of the story. An immature blog post, signs of comment trolling, an article that raises concerns, or a relevant criminal record are all serious problems. But who knows? This person we’re reading about might be someone else with a very similar name and face. So we ask the candidate to confirm or deny. But we don’t do this all the time. We only have the time and motivation to dig deeper if the candidate is one of our final contenders.”

Resume Reviews

“It’s remarkable to me that so many young candidates don’t expect us to investigate and confirm the claims they make on their resumes. If your previous employment dates, degree status, or accomplishments don’t align with what we find in our background and reference check, that’s the end of the road.” 

“Resumes sometimes look great on the surface, but if the candidate claims expertise in a certain area and then can’t pass a proficiency test or hold up his end of a technical conversation during the interview, that’s a concern.” 

Cultural Mismatches

“Sometimes highly qualified candidates just don’t make the grade as cultural matches. Cultural fit is a very subjective thing, and it’s hard to explain exactly what we’re looking for. But we know it when we see it.”

“As we get to know candidates better and better through multiple rounds of interviews, we learn more about who they are as people, what they want from their jobs, and how committed they’ll probably be to the company. And unfortunately what we learn sometimes just doesn’t align with what we want.” 

Unfavorable Odds

“By far, the most common reason we reject a candidate after multiple interviews is simple: we liked them, but we liked someone else just a little bit better. But just to be clear, by the time a candidate has gotten that far in the selection process, she’s probably only competing with one other person, or two at the most. As far as I’m concerned, it’s irresponsible to call 10 candidates in for round after round of interviews when you only have one available position. When that happens, nine candidates end up wasting time and money, and the company puts its reputation at risk. We don’t do things that way.” 

Shake It Off & Keep Moving

If your interviewers decide to pass you over during the final round, that can hurt. But it isn’t the end of the world. Get back on your feet and get back in the game without losing your stride. Turn to LiveCareer for resume resources that can help. 

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