Not getting interviews for jobs even when you are qualified?
It’s a common, yet also frustrating experience for you as a jobseeker. I too have often wondered why this was happening to me in the past. Yet over the years, I’ve learned quite a bit and I want to help you standout.
In this guide, I will cover the common reasons why you are not landing interviews and how you can increase your chances of getting more.
15 Reasons Why You’re Not Getting Job Interviews
Here are the typical reasons why you are not getting job interviews. The majority may be something you are doing and can fix, but sometimes it’s on the employer side and is out of your control.
1. Not personalizing your resume enough
When you apply for a job role, you want to tailor your resume towards that position as needed.
Utilizing keywords that the listing has and ensuring you show accomplishments matching their needs will always give you a boost.
Can tweaking every new job application be a pain? Most definitely.
But what you should have is your general resume written out. From there, keep it in something like Google Docs, where you can clone and edit as needed. That way you are not rewriting from scratch, which can be very time consuming.
2. Only relying on job websites
I’m a big fan of niche job boards, like our own dedicated job board for awesome remote opportunities. But these and other job websites (think Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Monster, etc.) should only be a part of your job search activities.
Some of the larger job websites will get thousands of applications to a given role. And if you are looking for remote jobs, you may even find work from home scams listed.
I’d recommend spending a few minutes each day checking out a few trusted job websites and job boards.
But the remainder of your time should be networking, sending notes to recruiters, engaging in communities, and identifying companies you are interested in working at.
3. Waiting too long to apply to a job
In job markets where there have been layoffs and more talent searching for work, speed is the name of the game.
During times like we are experiencing in 2023, if the job has been up for more than 72 hours, it might be too late.
Does this mean you shouldn’t apply to a job that’s been live for a few days? Well not necessarily. However, I’ve found the earlier you apply when a job is listed, the more likely you are to hear from the hiring manager and get an interview.
This is why I recommend setting up various email alerts or mobile notifications for when new jobs are posted in your field. That way you can tailor your resume and apply ASAP.
4. Your resume is missing accomplishments
Resumes can be tough to really define and start to put together. And especially if you have a deep work history and plenty of experiences.
Often the reason you are not getting job interviews is because you have not included accomplishments you achieved. Instead, you focus more on responsibilities and very broad statements.
And while those responsibilities are true, it doesn’t exactly stand out when you don’t share specifics. Don’t worry if this is you, it’s how my early resumes always looked too!
Be specific in your highlights on your resume. For example:
- Weak version: “Managed and responsible for paid ad campaigns.”
- Strong version: “Created and executed paid ad campaigns that consistently drove 7-figures in revenue each year.”
5. Your overall background isn’t a fit
You certainly do not need to fit each job perfectly.
In fact, many organizations will write in the job overview that if you fit 50-60% of the role to still apply. I typically like to match closer to 80% of the role, but that’s my personal choice.
But another reason you are not getting interviews for jobs is your background doesn’t match the position. What I mean here is you have the overall experience, but your industry or background is not in alignment.
For example, say you were the director of marketing and led a team at a sales software company. And maybe most of your past jobs were for sales software.
If you applied for a director of marketing role at a pharmaceutical company, you may be overlooked because you have no prior experience in that industry.
6. You’re not applying for enough jobs
Quality over quantity matters in your job search. But, you also can’t just apply to a handful of jobs and hope for an interview either.
But often what I’ve seen is candidates will just blast their resume to any somewhat relatable job title. I understand you need a job, but this is a quick way to be dismissed from the applicant pool.
Instead, you need to be intentional about the roles you apply for and ensure your resume is tailored to it. If you are lacking interviews, then step up the volume a bit. It’s a careful balance, but you do need to apply to more.
7. You are overqualified for the positions
Being overqualified can be an issue of how you are applying or a perception by an employer. It can go either way, so let’s address both.
If you have great experience and your recent roles are all director level roles, applying to junior level roles will hinder a chance at an interview. Even if you wanted to pivot out of management roles.
Additionally, it’s an assumption the hiring manager will make based on your resume. If you think this might be the case or you are looking to pivot to a different level, use a cover letter to explain this more thoroughly.
8. An automated system screened you out
It is very possible that your application was screened out by an automated tracking system (ATS).
While these are very helpful to the recruiting process, it can automatically rule you out based on the scan of your resume if you do not have certain keywords or qualifiers listed. It’s why I’m a big fan of a real person reviewing all resumes and not letting emails to applicants go out without proper review.
Almost all companies hiring will use some kind of ATS system though and many companies will let those products due the heavy lifting and can miss that you are qualified.
This is another main reason to tailor your resume based on each job you apply to.
9. You didn’t follow application directions
While some job applications won’t ask for much beyond your resume, LinkedIn profile, and a cover letter – some may ask additional questions or have a small assignment.
Again, whether you agree with those kinds of applications that ask for more is a different debate. But if you really like the job and company, you need to follow the directions or requests carefully.
Eliminating candidates is easier when the requested information or questions have been ignored. To an employer, either you have trouble following directions, don’t pay attention to the details, or you are just applying randomly hoping for a job.
10. You made too many spelling and grammar errors
I can’t tell you how many times I overlooked a simple spelling error or other grammatical issues. When you stare at a resume for a long time, it’s very easy to miss things.
But this can also cost you the job interview. Sometimes one or two small errors will be happily be overlooked, but if your resume is riddled with issues then you will harm your interview chances.
Run it through spell check, use Grammarly, ask friends or family to proofread it, or even work with a professional in the career and resume business. Whatever you need to do to ensure your resume is as close to perfect as possible.
11. Your social media profiles are cause for concern
Have you looked at your public social media profiles lately?
Most employers will probably Google your name and also look at your various social media posts. They want to see what type of person you are, your interests, and if you are being inappropriate.
How often is this done and what impact does it fully have on your interview potential? It’s really not known, but it’s something to check on before applying to jobs.
Ensure you check on what shows up in Google, adjust your privacy settings, and also clean up unnecessary or embarrassing past content you don’t want potential employers to see.
12. Your resume is way too long and being ignored
I’ve seen so much advice around the length of resumes and what you should or shouldn’t include. It can be overwhelming to know what to believe.
However, I’ve always found that your resume should remain 1-2 pages with the most relevant information related to the job you are applying to.
Often the reason you’re not getting interviews for jobs is because your resume reads like a novel. It’s 4+ pages and has every intricate detail about your work.
Lengthy resumes become overwhelming for the hiring manager and make it impossible to even skim it for highlights. Now your resume is tossed aside.
Shorten any paragraphs, use bullet points, and ensure a good amount of white space. You want to make it easy for recruiters to scan through.
13. The employer hired internally instead
Typically, if an internal employee applies or expresses interest in a new role, they will get priority in potentially landing that job.
This can happen and be the preferred choice of the employer to enable career growth among current staff. And this does not mean you were not qualified, it was just the better option by the company.
Usually before a job goes live on a career page and job board, the recruiting team will share internally first to see if any current employee does have an interest. At least, that’s how it should be done.
14. The job was put on the backburner
One reason you’re not getting interviews for jobs is the priorities at the company have changed. This is completely out of your control, but it does happen more frequently than you realize.
Sometimes the company goals or needs change, budget issues arise, or something else. In this case, you should hear from someone about the change so at least you are aware.
But often, you may get complete silence and not much of a response if you do follow-up to check on the status. At that point it’s time to move on and keep at your search.
15. The talent pool is massive
Let’s say you have everything dialed in when it comes to your career, experiences, and resume. But sometimes in a wild economic climate where there is a lot of talent on the market, there are random deciding factors.
For example, I was at a virtual job interview for a remote job and the hiring manager shared how they are overwhelmed with applications. And at this time, they stopped reaching out for interviews once they hit 100 applications. She mentioned for this particular role I applied to, they had over 600 in 24 hours!
So even though I was qualified and did everything right, had I not applied within that first 100, she never would have seen my resume.
Although you and I may not agree with that hiring process, it can be the reality during high volume applications. At this point, it’s where speed and persistence will prevail for you.
How Can I Increase My Chances of Getting a Job Interview?
Beyond what is out of your control, there are a few ways to give yourself a better chance of getting that interview.
- Tweak your resume as needed for the job roles. Utilize similar language and experiences from the description that align to what the hiring manager is looking for in this person. Certainly don’t lie or make things up, but use strategic and relevant keywords.
- Have a strong LinkedIn profile and highlight your achievements. While LinkedIn has become more than a resume, it’s a great place to showcase you are open to work, have great knowledge, and work experiences. You can even gather recommendations from previous co-workers.
- Be unique when it comes to a cover letter. I’m not a big fan of cover letters in general, but some jobs will require them or can even give you an advantage. Consider recording a short video instead (I like using Loom) or approach the copy in a creative way.
- Really make sure the job role fits not only your skills, but background. As you read earlier, your background may not align well with the experiences of the role. Pay more attention to the job overview and consider how it matches before applying.
- Utilize your network and join online communities. Some of the best ways I’ve secured interviews is by networking and being in communities related to my job field. Often, you’ll get warmer introductions or they can help flag your resume day.