Interviewing for a job is an incredibly personal process for job seekers. And every job seeker knows how frustrating it is when a company you applied to – or even interviewed with – never calls you back. The rejection stings. It leaves your reeling and wondering, "What's wrong with me?"
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First, let me say that I don't think many employers truly understand what this experience is like. If they did, they would take the time to let you know when they've moved on to another candidate. They would thank you for the hours you put into the process. They would treat you like a person worthy of respect.
Unfortunately, this doesn't often happen. So, let's talk about why you may not have been hired. It may be less personal than you realize.
Online Applications Get Less Attention
First, think back to how you applied for the job. Did you apply online? If so, it's possible the hiring manager doesn't even know you applied.
That sounds counter to what companies are telling us when they say, "Apply online, and if you're a fit, we'll call you." But put yourself in the hiring manager's shoes. If you need to make a hire, are you going to start by scrolling through all those online applications? No, you'd probably start by thinking of people you know. Then, you'd look to your friends and colleagues for their recommendations. You wouldn't pay attention to online applications unless you didn't have anywhere else to turn.
Employers Often Have Someone in Mind Already
If you were selected for an interview and gave it your very best, you may wonder why you didn't make it through to the end. The fact is that when managers need to make new hires, they often have internal candidates in mind already. While they'll interview a few outsiders, the deck is stacked against you.
No matter how well your interview goes, no hiring manager will ever say to you, "We appreciate you coming. Unfortunately, this interview is for show. We already know who we're really going to hire." You have no way of knowing when this is happening.
Some Jobs Get Put on Hold
One last reason you might not have been hired: The job is no longer available.
It was available at some point, but it may have been put on hold or cancelled for one of many reasons. For example, if the hiring manager is promoted or leaves the company, the position may be put on hold. Typically, the company will want to fill the hiring manager's position first. Rarely will the company reach out to tell you the hiring manager has quit or was fired, so it's doubtful that you'll know this either.
As you can see, none of the things listed above are really about you. They aren't about your experience or whether or not the hiring manager liked you. So take heart. Keep applying and keep networking. Eventually, you will hit one out of the park.
A version of this article originally appeared in the Memphis Daily News.
Angela Copeland is a career coach and CEO at her firm, Copeland Coaching.