Why someone else got your dream job

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You tailored your CV perfectly to the role you were going for. Your references were glowing. You reckon you nailed your interview and were able to put across why you were perfect for the job. 

You think you did everything right. Yet why did another candidate end up getting that job offer?

Aside to them boasting a CV packed with more relevant experience and more impressive skills, why were they chosen over you? 

Yes, rejection is disappointing and frustrating. But it’s not necessarily what you did wrong - it’s often what someone else did a little better.

Read on to find out what might have tipped the scales...

They asked more insightful questions

When the interviewer asked if you had any questions, what you followed up with could have made the difference between being forgotten about and marking yourself out as a star candidate. 

Asking the right questions is, of course, a genuine way to find out more about the company and the role. But it also shows how seriously you take the job and your overall calibre as a curious, eager-to-learn candidate.

Examples of open-ended and interested questions include ‘Can you talk me through a typical day in this role?’, ‘What can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?’ and ‘What do you think are the biggest challenges for whoever ends up in this role?’

They relaxed during the interview

Unfortunately, interview nerves can be a killer, turning an articulate, friendly professional into a rambling, fidgeting mess. And while interviewers know and understand this, they wouldn’t be human if they didn’t let this affect how they viewed a candidate - especially if they’re recruiting for a role that’s heavily client-facing.

That candidate who pipped you to the post? They probably prepared pointers they wanted to get across, but ended up delivering them in a relaxed, authentic way without sounding over-rehearsed or robotic. In a nutshell, they could relax and enjoy the interview and let their best side shine through. 

The good news is that coming across as confident and natural during interviews (or at the very least, faking it!) is a skill you can learn and practice. At HR GO we’ve produced a Guide to Interviews, which includes tips on how to improve your technique.

They followed up afterwards 

Interviewers can meet a lot of candidates in their hunt for the perfect employee. Who can blame them for struggling to remember each one clearly after the goodbye handshake?

That’s why a rival applicant who sent a follow up email or LinkedIn message later that day could just have nudged his or her way ahead of you to a job offer.

Getting in touch to thank someone for their time can successfully cement yourself in an interviewer’s mind. It’ll also show how enthusiastically you feel about working for the company.

In the current job market, applicants are still in a strong position and able to pick and choose to a degree, so it can also be an indicator that you’d definitely accept their job offer if there was one.

When you contact an interviewer, remind them of something you talked about, or bonded over. Did they make a comment on something unusual about your work history, or did you discover a mutual work similarity or acquaintance?

Finally... someone else was a better fit 

Often, the reason someone landed your ideal job had nothing to do with your abilities.

It’s just they were judged to be a better fit for the company culture. Maybe the interviewer thought they’d work better with particular colleagues, or their values and attitudes seemed more in line with how the business operated. In a nutshell, they were thought to have the personality that would sit best in the company with the team.

Of course, it can be painful getting a rejection when you thought you had a job in the bag. But don’t let setbacks like these dent your confidence, and do what you can to learn from unsuccessful interviews.

These failures could help you be a stronger candidate next time around - and even help you find a role that suits you even better.


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