9 Reasons Why I Won’t Hire You

Hiring managers have a tough job. They have to wade through a mountain of resumes, pick the top candidates, decide on their final choice and then hope they didn’t make a mistake.  Statistically speaking, the best hiring managers only get it right 3 out of 5 times. Of course, you need to make it to the interview and then make it through the interview to be considered for the role.  I’ve been a hiring manager for a long time, and it’s never easy to pick the final candidate. That being said, many candidates make it easy to eliminate them from the process. If you’ve been lucky enough to make it to an interview, make sure you are prepared and don’t make common fatal mistakes. So what are the top reasons why I won’t hire you? Read on.

1. Your Resume Needs Lots of Work

I’ve lost count of the resumes I’ve received that are useless. Your resume is arguably the most important career document you will ever have. It is what helps you get your foot in the door, gets hiring managers to notice you and ultimately gets you the interview. Spelling errors and grammatical are unacceptable. Failure to highlight your skills and experience is, well, just dumb. That being said, most of us are not experts on resume writing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advise when writing your resume. Your friends, family and recruiters can help review your resume and offer advice. Some items to consider:

2. You Don’t Know How to Interview

Interviewing is a two way street and your success will depend on your ability to answer the questions asked and asking the right questions. You need to listen to what the interviewer is saying and respond with answers that will convince them that you are the right person for the job. Facial expressions, eye contact and keywords that match the job description are all very important in the interview process.

  • Read background material on interview techniques
  • Review common questions and ensure you have the right answers
  • Use your social network to find people who work at the company where you are interviewing and get as much background information as possible
  • Use LinkedIn to review the profiles of the interviewer(s)
  • Don’t be late (and don’t be too early)
  • Have extra copies of your resume
  • Plan to be there longer than suggested
  • Make sure you have your sales pitch / 30 second elevator speech (Job Search Marketing Toolkit – Your Elevator Speech)

3. You Don’t Know How to Dress

You know the old saying – “you only get one chance to make a good first impression”. For most companies, business formal is the way to go for interviews (which means suit and tie for men and and a conservative suit with a coordinated blouse for women). Even if the company has a smart casual or dress down policy dressing up is better than being under-dressed. Some pointers:

  • Dresses should not be too short
  • Don’t wear too much jewelry
  • Cover those tattoos (if you can)
  • Groomed nails (and no wild colors or designs for polished nails).
  • Shine those shoes (and yes, shoes. no flip-flops or sneakers)
  • Comb your hair
  • Iron those shirts, suits and dresses (no wrinkles)

4. You Don’t Have the Right Experience

It’s a waste of time to submit your resume for a position where you are not qualified. There will be many qualified resumes that are submitted and yours will get tossed very quickly if you don’t have relevant experience or skills. If, however, you have the skills and experience but they are not specifically highlighted on your resume, this is a perfect example as to why you should have multiple versions of your resume (see 6 Resources for Creating Multiple Resumes).

5. You Did not Read the Job Description

You get to the interview, but you have no idea about the job, have not read the job description and cannot discuss why you are the right person for this role (because you did not read the job descriptions). This leads the hiring manager to think that you do not care, are not focused and are just blindly applying to jobs. Take a look at The Top 5 Things You Must Remember for Your Interview

  • Read the job description
  • Fully understand the role and responsibilities
  • Prepare questions that are specific to the job description
  • Be prepared to speak to specifics of the role

6. You Can’t Answer my Questions

You know the old saying – “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” (Benjamin Franklin). If you cannot answer the questions raised at the interview, then why are you there?  Make sure you read as much as possible:

  • Know the facts about the company and the division where you are interviewing
  • All “common” interview questions should already be part of your general preparation – Take a look at
  • Company and role specific questions should be reviewed prior to the interview
  • Take a look at 30 Common Interview Questions You Need to Ace

7. You Didn’t Ask Any Questions

If you don’t ask any questions, the hiring manager will think you are not interested in the role (or worse, are not prepared). Have a long list of questions you want to ask. Some of these questions will probably be answered before you ask them (therefore, the long list).  You should have a standard set of questions that you ask at every interview, plus questions that are specific to the company and the role. Take a look at 51 Interview Questions You Should Be Asking.

8. You Don’t Know Anything About my Company

If you haven’t done your homework, and you don’t know anything about the company where you are interviewing, then you shouldn’t be on the interview.  You should have a list of companies where you would like to work.  If the company where you are currently interviewing is not on the list, then you should do lots of research on the company.  This information is not limited to public information. You should also try to find out some inside information regarding the company culture and what it’s like to work there. See also 15 Tips for Improving Your Job Search.

9. You Have a Poor Attitude

Regardless of how you feel about your current company and role, you should not express a negative view. There are plenty of ways to explain why you want to leave your current company without being negative. Additionally, you need to have a positive attitude during your interview and show interest in the role. Do not go into the interview thinking (and acting)  like they would be lucky to have you as an employee (even if that is true). Some of the following examples are included above, but they are indicative of a poor attitude:

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

Suggested Reading: Looking for a Job; Why You Won’t Get Hired

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

Good luck in your search,


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