How can I ask why won't they hire me?

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Adam in Downers Grove, Illinois

27 months ago

There's this company that I'm dying to work for. I have applied for several positions in the last few years and have been interviewed three times. I was more than qualified for the positions, and each interview seemed to go very well. However, I didn't get any of the jobs. I can accept that I wasn't the most qualified candidate, but it bothers me to not know why. If there is a certain area I could focus on to improve, I would gladly do it.

I just applied for yet another position with fingers crossed that they call me in again for an interview. I'm just wondering if it would be proper etiquette to ask what the deciding factor was in my last interview. I feel like I have developed a rapport with the talent acquisition specialist, but I don't know if it's proper to ask such a thing or how to do it. I'm afraid to go into another interview knowing that there's something about me that isn't exactly what they're looking for. Every time I've walked away feeling like I nailed it, so I'm a little confused as to what more they want from me. Any insight or ideas?

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Almost Suicidal in San Antonio, Texas

27 months ago

Adam, I googled the question "Can you ask an employer why they didn't hire you?" There are some helpful articles from several sites including some that suggest you not get an honest answer.

One I looked at briefly suggested this was a good practice because it indicated your genuine interest in the company, although I would think the fact that you repeatedly apply with them would indicate that as well.

Good luck, and let us know.

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Bluetea in Texas

27 months ago

Adam in Downers Grove, Illinois said: There's this company that I'm dying to work for. I have applied for several positions in the last few years and have been interviewed three times. I was more than qualified for the positions, and each interview seemed to go very well. However, I didn't get any of the jobs. I can accept that I wasn't the most qualified candidate, but it bothers me to not know why. If there is a certain area I could focus on to improve, I would gladly do it.

I just applied for yet another position with fingers crossed that they call me in again for an interview. I'm just wondering if it would be proper etiquette to ask what the deciding factor was in my last interview. I feel like I have developed a rapport with the talent acquisition specialist, but I don't know if it's proper to ask such a thing or how to do it. I'm afraid to go into another interview knowing that there's something about me that isn't exactly what they're looking for. Every time I've walked away feeling like I nailed it, so I'm a little confused as to what more they want from me. Any insight or ideas?

No company is actually going to tell you why you weren't hired. That could open them up to a lawsuit. What they will tell you is some vague, non-descript answer.

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Unhappilyunemployed in Pennsylvania

27 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: No company is actually going to tell you why you weren't hired. That could open them up to a lawsuit. What they will tell you is some vague, non-descript answer.

I agree. Companies will NEVER tell you anything you could use, even if it's useful information. Even when I was getting laid off, I genuinely wanted to know why I was part of the group they targeted since I seem so well regarded by my supervisor. The big boss nearly took my head off, basically telling me that his decision was his business! Here I am losing my job, perfectly confused, and now looking back, he was feeling very defensive. I suppose the fact that I was getting laid off with many other people my age may have made him nervous(there was 1 token young person, a brand new hire....she don't count).

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Bluetea in Texas

27 months ago

Unhappilyunemployed in Pennsylvania said: I agree. Companies will NEVER tell you anything you could use, even if it's useful information. Even when I was getting laid off, I genuinely wanted to know why I was part of the group they targeted since I seem so well regarded by my supervisor. The big boss nearly took my head off, basically telling me that his decision was his business! Here I am losing my job, perfectly confused, and now looking back, he was feeling very defensive. I suppose the fact that I was getting laid off with many other people my age may have made him nervous(there was 1 token young person, a brand new hire....she don't count).

The Employment at Will doctrine gives companies the right to terminate at will without reason. Your services are simply no longer required.

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Grant013 in Astoria, New York

27 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: No company is actually going to tell you why you weren't hired. That could open them up to a lawsuit. What they will tell you is some vague, non-descript answer.

Absolutely.It's a waste of time to even ask the question. You come off as insecure and weak when you ask them why you weren't hired. Maybe they didn't hire you because you're too old, too fat, too educated, too overqualified, too "whatever" or "not enough" whatever. These employers act like they're nobility, doing us a favor and picking over a row of serfs on display. I say "employment at will" is the biggest form of serfdom for wage in the 21st century.

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Grant013 in Astoria, New York

27 months ago

Remember nepotism and quota games are still very prevalent in the workplace. When you come to an interview and all the higher ups are of one race, but all the employees are of another;do I need to tell you what is going on there? Quota game.Tax break game. Also, they may have a family or friend they want to hire but they have to show the paperwork that they interviewed 50 outsiders and "nobody was a better fit" than the designated nepotee.

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Grant013 in Astoria, New York

27 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: The Employment at Will doctrine gives companies the right to terminate at will without reason. Your services are simply no longer required.

Sure. And according to that law, employees also have the same right. Job hopping! And that is really the only only way to get a raise in salary and better benefits. "Working your way up" is another myth promoted by the corporate nobility to keep us working forever, in the hope of getting that promotion and better bennies. What B.S. propaganda.LOL

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Bluetea in Texas

27 months ago

Grant013 in Astoria, New York said: "Working your way up" is another myth promoted by the corporate nobility to keep us working forever, in the hope of getting that promotion and better bennies. What B.S. propaganda.LOL

Oh, that was you parent's job market, along with the "we're a team" dribble. The average shelf life of an employee is 4 years now.

I was at my last company for five years and I was an ol' timer.

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Calfornian in Hayward, California

27 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: Oh, that was you parent's job market, along with the "we're a team" dribble. The average shelf life of an employee is 4 years now.

My mother worked with the same employer for 30+ years. One of the things I like to do is tell her how tech people work lots of OT. She usually responds with "you get paid for it, right".

I don't know if she's serious or if she just doesn't believe it.

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Jeff in Oxon Hill, Maryland

27 months ago

Grant013 in Astoria, New York said: Job hopping! And that is really the only only way to get a raise in salary and better benefits. "Working your way up" is another myth promoted by the corporate nobility to keep us working forever, in the hope of getting that promotion and better bennies. What B.S. propaganda.LOL

It's always amazed me how companies think that their new hires are more valuable than their current employees and are willing to give them raises that they would never even think of for their current employees. The best way to a high salary is, as you stated, to change jobs regularly.

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Unhappilyunemployed in Pennsylvania

27 months ago

Jeff in Oxon Hill, Maryland said: It's always amazed me how companies think that their new hires are more valuable than their current employees and are willing to give them raises that they would never even think of for their current employees. The best way to a high salary is, as you stated, to change jobs regularly.

You are so right. All my significant raises happened within the first two years with a company. Jeff, I think the reason that newer people seem to get the raises is because they often do start off at a lower rate and companies want to get what they can out of them before they start to feel stuck and unappreciated. I always tried to hand on to jobs I had and I now regret it. The ones that seem to truly climb the ladder were the risk takers; the ones that didn't just settle into one company. I got stuck in the same thinking that many people of my generation was raised on and that was to find a way into a company, work hard, and hope to be recognized for your hard work and loyalty. That thinking cost me dearly.

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Bluetea in Texas

27 months ago

Calfornian in Hayward, California said: My mother worked with the same employer for 30+ years. One of the things I like to do is tell her how tech people work lots of OT. She usually responds with "you get paid for it, right".

I don't know if she's serious or if she just doesn't believe it.

My Dad was the same way. 40 years with one company and he never wrote a resume in his life.

He use to wonder why with all the technology, nobody was ever home anymore. My Dad was always home by 6:00 pm and he never used a computer in his life.

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Bluetea in Texas

27 months ago

Unhappilyunemployed in Pennsylvania said: You are so right. All my significant raises happened within the first two years with a company. Jeff, I think the reason that newer people seem to get the raises is because they often do start off at a lower rate and companies want to get what they can out of them before they start to feel stuck and unappreciated. I always tried to hand on to jobs I had and I now regret it. The ones that seem to truly climb the ladder were the risk takers; the ones that didn't just settle into one company. I got stuck in the same thinking that many people of my generation was raised on and that was to find a way into a company, work hard, and hope to be recognized for your hard work and loyalty. That thinking cost me dearly.

Its actually dangerous now to be with one company too long. How many retirement parties have you been to lately?

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Calfornian in Hayward, California

27 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: My Dad was always home by 6:00 pm

In California, we have an annual proposal for a soda tax (not a ban like NY, we like taxes). People always get all riled up about the evils in soda which are supposedly what is making us fat.

I've always wondered how much of our getting fat has to do with not getting home at 6:00 because you worked late and had a two-hour round trip commute. I'd bet there is some degree of correlation there.

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Calfornian in Hayward, California

27 months ago

Jeff in Oxon Hill, Maryland said: The best way to a high salary is, as you stated, to change jobs regularly.

My last employer had very little job turnover. It was stable, until the end, you could predict your hours and most of us went home at 5:00. Because of that raises and promotions were almost non-existent.

In the end, it really hurt us. We didn't have enough new ideas, and often talent, to dig out of our mess. Some turnover is good.

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Bluetea in Texas

27 months ago

Calfornian in Hayward, California said: In California, we have an annual proposal for a soda tax (not a ban like NY, we like taxes). People always get all riled up about the evils in soda which are supposedly what is making us fat.

I've always wondered how much of our getting fat has to do with not getting home at 6:00 because you worked late and had a two-hour round trip commute. I'd bet there is some degree of correlation there.

Has to be. Moonbeam Brown is just running out of things to tax.

We have a lot of California license plates here.

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Lostmyhope in Virginia

27 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: The Employment at Will doctrine gives companies the right to terminate at will without reason. Your services are simply no longer required.

so I found out.

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Adam in Downers Grove, Illinois

27 months ago

Interesting discussion. I realize that they wouldn't likely be forthcoming with a direct answer to why they won't hire me. I was just hoping maybe there was a way to ask how I can improve or what areas to focus on to increase my chances of getting hired. That, too, might be a longshot, but I figured maybe someone had some experience or insight into how to approach this. Thanks for the responses.

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Unix Brat in Asheville, North Carolina

27 months ago

Adam, two things you can do (I'm surprised no one else suggested these things :) ) ---

1. Look at the LinkedIn profiles of the folks already working there, esp the three that beat you out of the previous interviews;

2. If you get an interview this time around, casually get the interviewer(s) to talk about their most recent hires. Ideally you would have done this at one of your prior interviews, but better late than never. Get them talking early on so to give you enough time to come up with examples of how you fit in with their present workforce.

Inquiring about the people who work there shouldn't be awkward. There are ways to pull it off that are natural and professional. You are interviewing them as well. I hope you get another chance. Good luck.

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Unix Brat in Asheville, North Carolina

27 months ago

I need to add that you may surprise yourself in the end and decide that you wouldn't want to work for this company after all, based on what you find out about the folks* working there.

*Talent acquisition person doesn't count, this person is agreeable to everybody and doesn't necessarily match the people working down in the trenches.

Again, best of luck.

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