With the unemployment rate still at 9.5% in the United States, you may find yourself in the position of applying, interviewing and still remaining jobless. You may have thought it was a sure thing; you may have left the office laughing and joking with the interviewer. So why was someone else hired and you weren't? These five reasons may shed some light on the situation. (Read Taking The Lead In The Interview Dance to learn the steps that will help you glide effortlessly through your next big job interview.)
IN PICTURES: 6 Millionaire Traits That You Can Adopt

  1. You're Overqualified
    It's not just a cliché – you really can be overqualified for a position. It's especially true in a tight economy. A candidate that is more qualified would require a higher salary and benefits package for a competitive offer, and to retain said candidate long term. If someone else interviewed who fit the qualifications but didn't overly exceed them, it might be in the company's best interest to hire him and save the cash.

  2. You Don't Know the Right People
    You may be great on paper, and you may interview really well – but if another candidate is the employer's tennis instructor's daughter, you might be out of luck. This is often unavoidable. Your best bet is to make sure you follow up with a genuinely appreciative phone call or note. Leaving a positive impression will keep you in that employer's mind if other opportunities arise. (It is not advisable that you go into your finance interview expecting to land a job where you would be making multi-million dollar decisions. Read more, in Trying On Potential Employers.)

  3. You Hit it Off, just Not Professionally
    Having a good rapport with your interviewer is great – however, if you bonded over your love of tequila shooters, you may have made a friend and not an employer. In a less extreme example, you may be very easy to interview, but still not right for the position. While being friendly and personable are two very important traits, they won't guarantee you the job.

  4. You Came with Conditions
    Even if you are a good fit for the job, if you come with strings attached, you may not get hired. If you can't see yourself sticking to the position long term, or if prior commitments mean you'll have to work odd hours, it could take you out of the running. If possible, come in condition-free or at least willing to compromise. However, if you have a restriction that is non-negotiable, it's only fair to both of you to bring it up in the interview – there's no sense in wasting time if the situation won't work out.

  5. An Unpredictable Reason
    More often than not, the reason is one you may never know. You may get an unrelated job simply for having a shared interest with the interviewer, or perhaps because you have a skill the employer hopes to learn from you. It may be as simple as two or more candidates being equally qualified, and you lost the coin toss.

    It may also be a simple reason like an off-the-cuff comment you probably shouldn't have made, or a more blatant reason like answering your cell phone during an interview (never a good move, no matter how friendly you are with the interviewer!). Be honest with yourself about the interview process – if you can think of a slip up, learn from your mistakes and keep it in mind for your next interview. (Learn what not to do, in Top Job-Search Mistakes For Finance Grads.)

The Bottom Line
Whatever the reason, do your best to learn from it and apply it to your next interview. Don't be afraid to politely follow up and inquire about why you weren't right for the position – just make sure you don't come off as sulking. Be professional, and thank the interviewer for helping you to understand what you did wrong, or where you can improve. After all, if you made it to the interview stage once, you're likely to do it again.

Catch up on your financial news; read Water Cooler Finance: Goldman Fined, Financial Fixes And Apple's "Apology".

Related Articles
  1. Professionals

    Small RIAs: How to Level the Playing Field

    In order to compete with larger firms, small RIAs have to get a little creative. Here are a few ways to kickstart growth.
  2. Taxes

    Top Tips for Minimizing Taxes on Severance Pay

    A look at the top ways to lessen the tax burden on severance pay.
  3. Retirement

    These Are the Top Jobs for Retirees

    Learn some of the best jobs available for retirees who want to stay busy. These include retail, driving, call center work and tutoring.
  4. Personal Finance

    8 Profitable Majors For The College-Bound In 2015

    Choose your college major wisely to justify the rising cost of higher education. Here are 8 majors that lead to good jobs and high salaries.
  5. Professionals

    Scholar vs. Entrepreneur: What's Your Calling?

    You don't need a bachelor's degree to launch your own company. But which path — school or entrepreneurship — offers a better start to your work life?
  6. Personal Finance

    8 Reasons Why Valued Employees Quit

    Salaries are important, but retaining top employees requires more than just providing competitive pay.
  7. Professionals

    How Advisors Can Minimize Their Own Risks

    Risk management is important in any enterprise. But when it comes to the financial advisory business, the stakes are higher.
  8. Personal Finance

    Top 5 Ways to Retain Your Best Employees

    You need to think beyond salary to make the most talented people want to stay on for the long term.
  9. Professionals

    The Financial Advisory Business: More Women Wanted

    It's no secret that women are underrepresented in the financial advisory business. Here are some reasons why and what's being done about it.
  10. Professionals

    Why Women Choose Women for Financial Advice

    Women often prefer female financial advisors because client and advisor can relate to each other on a variety of levels.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

    A federal law designed to ensure equal pay for all workers, regardless ...
  2. Age Discrimination In Employment ...

    A federal statute protecting "certain applicants and employees" ...
  3. Society of Actuaries (SOA)

    The SOA is a professional organization for actuaries in the U.S., ...
  4. Networking

    A process that fosters the exchange of information and ideas ...
  5. Credit Business Associate - CBA

    A designation awarded to those who show mastery in financial ...
  6. Always Be Closing - ABC

    Retail jargon used to describe a sales strategy in which a salesperson ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. How can an investment banker switch to a career in corporate finance?

    It's pretty easy for an investment banker to switch to a career in corporate finance. The career skills are easily transferable, ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How do I get started with a career in asset management?

    The asset management industry has a variety of different career paths. Depending on what asset management area you would ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. For which kind of jobs is having Magnum Cum Laude most important?

    Having a magna cum laude degree is most important for jobs in the fields of finance, management consulting and engineering. ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Other than accounting, what does a corporate finance job involve?

    While a corporate finance job almost always involves accounting in some capacity, there are many additional job duties and ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are some common questions an interviewer may ask during an interview for a position ...

    When interviewing for a job at an investment bank, a candidate is likely to answer questions about his career and education ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What qualities are necessary to be an effective member of the c-suite in a publicly-traded ...

    Several qualities are needed to be a member of the c-suite of a publicly traded company. The c-suite is business jargon term ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!