1. Your resume didn’t match the job description nor did it quantify your accomplishments
The biggest mistake I see from candidates is many of the resumes I receive don’t accurately describe their experience in a manner that matches the job’s requirements, and they don’t clearly quantify the candidate’s accomplishments.
On numerous occasions I have had hiring managers pass on great candidates because they didn’t feel the candidates resume was strong enough to be considered for the job.
TIP: Customize your resume to the match the job description. Ask yourself what experience and accomplishments would the hiring manager be looking for? Put that information in your resume.
2. The position you applied too isn’t really open
Occasionally companies advertise positions that don’t exist. This can happen when companies want to build a reservoir of candidates. This might occur when they’re bidding on a contract they hope to win, or when they have a continuing need for candidates with the same sets of skills.
I’ve also worked with clients who have positions posted on their website that aren’t open and are still on their website because no one has bothered to take them down.
TIP: It may still be worth applying to these positions because once you apply your resume may be submitted into the companies applicant tracking system and a recruiter may be doing a search weeks, months, or years later and they may come across your resume and reach out to you. That is how I found many of the candidates I hired.
3. The hiring manager has someone else in mind
Many times when a position opens up a hiring manager may already know who they want to hire and the position is just open so that they can go through the motions of the hiring process.
TIP: Be proactive in your job search and build your network with hiring managers who work at companies you want to work for so that when they do open up a position they will either think of you or you can reach out to the directly.
4. No one is checking on who is applying to open positions
Sometimes recruiters are simply too busy or have more than enough candidates interested in a position that they may stop reviewing resumes of recent applicants.
Once I was trying to fill several positions for a huge project, I was so overloaded with candidates that I simply stopped considering new applicants. If the perfect candidate had applied for one of these positions, no one would have noticed because I didn’t have time to see who else applied to the job and I already had enough candidates.
5. The backdoor reference check
A back door reference check means a hiring manager plans to secretly check up on a candidate. The candidate has no idea who will be contacted as a reference, or even that this reference checking is underway. And to make matters worse, the information the company gathers could be completely inaccurate.
This can happen at any stage during the hiring process. Sometimes I would send over resumes to the hiring manager to review and they would tell me not to reach out to the candidate until they speak to someone who knows that person. And if the hiring manager digs up any negative information about the candidate they always pass on them.
6. The recruiter was inexperienced
Inexperienced recruiters may pass over resumes that are perfect, or they may lack clarity about what the hiring manager is looking for.
I was once asked to take over for another recruiter who had been trying to fill a position for two months. The hiring manager was getting frustrated, because the recruiter was unable to find her any qualified candidates. I looked over all 116 candidates who had applied, and
I was shocked to find ten who seemed to be a perfect fit. When I sent their resumes to the hiring manager, she wanted to interview all of them. But by this time, many were no longer available.
7. A deal might already be in the works
This actually happened to me once; I was applying for a job and I phone interviewed with the recruiter who then told me that they just sent a candidate in for a second interview and they want to wait to see how that interview works out before they send anyone else over.
I must admit I was floored. My resume was never sent over to the hiring manager. I was kept out of a job that I was a great fit for because the recruiter didn’t want to ruin what she already had going.
Bryan Fisher is a Career Consultant and CEO of the Career Empowerment Group.