Why Being the Best at a Job Interview Doesn’t Always Mean Success

Have you ever been invited to a job interview and after that you went home confident that all was great and that the job was yours? Have you been so confident that you knew all the details they asked for and that you went with your friends to town to celebrate before the company even called you back for a feedback? Have you been so well prepared for all the questions and you did so well that you were sure you blew their mind with your knowledge? Have you been so sure you were the right candidate; the one and only, that you had the best skills, the best knowledge, the best attitude, and the best of the best?

Did they call you later to tell you that you were rejected, the whole world crushed around you and you simply didn’t understand why no matter how hard you tried to figure it out? Well, here are some possible reasons (I am talking only about professional reasons, not silly and unethical reasons like they hired someone’s friend or relative instead):

-          Sad as it may be, you simply weren’t the best as you expected – there was another candidate just a little better; what can you do – simply ask what you could have improved and do it; some recruiters will tell you;

-          You were the best, but the team manager didn’t see you as part of their team – being the best individual doesn’t always mean that the candidate is right for the team – each team manager investigates candidate’s skills to see if they would work well with the rest of the people in the team – no matter how great you are, not working well with the existing team can mean project failure;

-          They found out some information about you that they didn’t find suitable or that damaged your image – did you check all the profiles and comments that you have made public on LinkedIn or other similar networks? Did you check all the photos that you have available on Facebook? Did you do a simple Google search with your name as keywords to see what comes up? Did you ever think that your picture from the seaside 4 years ago that you placed online, picture where you were happy to show your friends how drunk you were after drinking 6 bottles might be available and might affect your credibility?

-          Have you been a good employee in all your previous jobs? Did you know that HR people know each other most of the times and can ask for unofficial information about your performance, behavior, attitude, team work, loyalty and so on? Sometimes labor law requires that the candidate is informed when background checks are done, but let’s be honest, if you had a friend in another company and wanted information about something happening there, wouldn’t you just ask unofficially? Just between friends? Well, HR people do that, just between friends and sometimes find out interesting information about candidates; so you must be really careful as the past can haunt you;

-          They have some hidden selection criteria that they are not allowed (by law most of the times as this is considered discrimination) to publish, but which unfortunately exist – what I mean, they need to hire a man instead of a woman or the other way around (for example you will be selling lip gloss, you are a great salesman, but they think a woman would make better connections with their target audience), they have a specific age range in mind, they don’t want a mother with children as she is not available to do overtime and they want someone willing to do that, they prefer someone single who can travel a lot (even if you say you are available, being married and traveling all the time may affect your relationship and at some point you may quit and they don’t need that after they have invested in you) and other similar ones;

-          You have some specific features that they would like to avoid due to some previous negative experiences they had with similar candidates – for example – we were searching at some point for our help desk team French speaking candidates; we found some great ones that had French teaching as previous professional background; we hired a few and after a short while most of them decided to leave as they considered the job too demanding and below their professional level. This was a mistake from our side as we didn’t check their motivation thoroughly enough and we offered them just because they were the best French speakers. We found out that teachers most of the times have a much less demanding job in school than French speakers in a help desk center dealing with angry customers all the time, that they have 3 months of vacation during summer which was not the case in our company, that they had the respect of their students while our clients would be always angry and treat them badly. All this made us think really well if we wanted to hire another teacher again, no matter how great their French was.  Do you understand my point?

I hope that my article will help you choose the positions you apply for wisely. Make sure that you really want the position and make sure that you are really well informed and ready for what is expecting you.

Take care,



  1. Great..
    I am so relax now. I am also glad to know that it's not always a candidate who hustles to get the job but also companies (top management, special criteria and so on)

    Thank you dear for this great post.
    good luck!

  2. Very Efficient article well done.
    Thank you,