18 Signs You Didn't Get the Job (With FAQ)
Updated January 30, 2023
Waiting to learn the results of an interview process can feel overwhelming. Without clear information, candidates often question what signals they can interpret for positive or negative indications of whether they received the job. Learning to recognize these signs can help you know when it's time to move on to other opportunities.
In this article, we discuss common signs that may imply you didn't get the job and answer frequently asked questions related to these signs.
18 signs you didn't get the job
It's not always easy to gauge an interviewer's interest and predict if you'll receive a job offer or not. Here's a list of possible signs you didn't get the job:
1. The interviewer didn't express any interest
A lack of interest during the interview can mean that the hiring manager isn't interested in considering you for an open position. You may notice disinterest through closed-off nonverbal communication or behaviors like constantly checking a watch. Disinterest may also come in other forms, including a lack of questions or information about what to expect next in the process.
2. The interview was short
If the interviewer stops the interview prematurely, it may mean they've decided to pursue other candidates. This may occur if they notice your qualifications don't match the job description. Although interviews don't have time requirements, you may notice that the interview seems shorter than usual or that it wasn't long enough to cover important aspects of the position.
Related: Last-Minute Interview Tips
3. The employer cancels the interview
An employer canceling an interview may also indicate that you didn't get the job. This may be for many reasons, including the position is no longer available. The company may have chosen to hire internally, the department may have restructured responsibilities or the organization may have lost funding for the position.
4. The recruiter mentions they're still accepting applications
If a company mentions that they're still accepting applications, it may mean that they haven't yet found a candidate who fits their needs. While they may not have ruled out your application, it often means they're looking for a candidate with certain skills or experience, and your application or interview may not have shown them the exact match. This may also mean that the hiring process is longer, and it may be a long time until you find out if you got the job.
5. You're unable to meet the requirements of the position
If the position you applied for requires frequent travel or relocation and you mention that this isn't a possibility during the interview, it may be a sign that you didn't get the job. There may also be a difference in schedule expectations, such as an employee who prefers to work full time, but the position only offers part-time work. It's also possible that these types of expectations may not be a requirement but could lead the hiring manager to choose another candidate.
6. The interviewer doesn't sell you on the position
After questioning you and determining your quality, it's common for an interviewer to reorient the conversation and begin marketing the company and the position to you. Interested employers may also sometimes give potential candidates a tour of the office. If the interviewer doesn't provide you with details of the position and inform you of the positive aspects of working there, they may not be planning to give you an offer.
7. Your compensation expectations don't match
One of the most common questions during an interview relates to your compensation expectations. If you find that your compensation expectations are much higher than they're willing to offer, it may be a sign you didn't get the position. You may also have different expectations about the benefits they offer.
8. They didn't explain the position to you
If the hiring manager doesn't explain the position duties to you during the interview, it may mean that they're not interested. An explanation of the position is an important part of the interview process. This allows you to decide if the company is a good fit for you.
9. The job listing is still active
If a job listing is still active after interviewing, it may be a sign that they're not going to give you an offer. However, you may be under consideration, but the employer is still accepting applications and interviewing for other options. If the job listing has a post date after your interview, it likely means they're looking for a candidate with other experience or qualifications.
10. They don't respond to your follow-ups
If you don't receive a response to any follow-up questions or your thank you letter, the hiring manager may have moved on to other candidates. They may have already found someone for the position but haven't notified you. They also may have decided that you aren't the right fit and either haven't notified you or are keeping your application in reserve.
11. They give you a hire date but don't follow up by then
If the hiring manager gives you a hiring decision date, and you have yet to hear from them by that date, it may mean that they've already chosen another candidate. Sometimes a company pushes back their hire date, but in those cases, they typically inform any candidates under consideration. You can also find out if there have been any changes when writing your follow-up thank you letter.
12. They mention that you're overqualified
Claiming that a candidate is overqualified may mean that the hiring manager doesn't think you're the right fit for the position. This may mean that your skills or experience don't seem compensated by the position's salary. It may also mean that they're worried that you'll leave the company as soon as a better position more suited to your level is available.
13. The interview questions aren't relevant to the position
An interview typically includes back-and-forth questions that allow a hiring manager to determine if you're a good fit and decide if the company is right for you. If the interviewer asks you questions that aren't relevant to the position or the company, they may not be interested in hiring you for the open position.
They may have already found their candidate or decided against you but didn't want to cancel the interview. Possibly, they're asking you general questions to decide about keeping your application on file.
14. You feel underdressed or under-prepared for the interview
If you arrive at the interview to find that everyone's wearing formal attire, and you mistakenly dressed casually, it may influence the hiring manager's decision. They may comment on your attire or mention that you were late, and that may lead them to not offer you a position. If this is the reason that a company doesn't provide you with an offer, evaluate what you could do differently and use the opportunity to prepare for your next interview.
15. A recruiter reaches out to you for the same job
If you receive contact from a recruiter after you submit your resume or complete an interview, it may mean that the company has expanded its search. This means they either didn't find a candidate who met their requirements in the first search or they'd like to have a larger group of candidates to choose from. Companies may reach out to recruiters to receive more applicants. They may also hire a recruiter to fill a position when the requirements change.
16. The company continues making excuses
If the company continues communicating with you but offers a variety of reasons for a continuing search, it's likely that they're still considering applicants. This may be the company's way of keeping you interested until they decide on the right candidate. If you're very interested in the position but continue to receive excuses, you may want to request a specific decision date.
17. The interview questions are easy and vague
An interview is typically composed of questions that allow a hiring manager to gauge your interest and ability to do a certain job. If the questions are too easy and vague, it may mean that the interviewer has already chosen another candidate and is going through formalities. They may also ignore your answers and not take any notes.
18. They don't discuss specific parts of the job
An interview typically provides you with valuable information about the position, so you can decide if it's right for you. This may include salary, benefits or work hours. If these topics don't come up during the interview, they may have already decided to go with another candidate instead.
Frequently asked questions
Do employers let me know if they hire someone else?
Though many employers notify you when they fill a position, not all do. A follow-up letter gives you the chance to thank the hiring manager for their time, while also providing them with an easy way to contact you about updates. If you don't hear back, it may mean that they chose another candidate and have decided not to notify applicants.
It's important to note that just because you don't receive an offer doesn't mean that you did something wrong. It may mean that the hiring manager is looking for someone with specific skills or more experience.
How long should I wait to follow up on a job?
You can send a follow-up thank-you email within 24 hours of your interview. It's best not to send additional communication unless they respond to you. Instead of focusing on why a company doesn't respond, evaluate your process and consider what other career opportunities may be a better fit. If you hear no reply in over a week, the company may have already gone in another direction.
Is it okay to reapply to the same position if it's listed later?
It depends on how long it's been since you initially applied to the position. If the company relists the position a few weeks or months later, it's unlikely that they'll consider your application again. However, if any details of the position have changed or your skills and experience have increased since the last posting, then you may consider reapplying.
How long should I wait to apply to other positions?
It's standard to continue applying to other positions while actively interviewing. Even if you receive an interview, it doesn't always mean that you'll receive a job offer. In fact, the hiring manager may ask if you're actively seeking employment or interviewing with other companies to get a better idea of your career plans.
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