So, you just had a job interview — and you’re pretty sure you nailed it. The interviewer took the time to walk you around the office, clarified what your start time availability looked like, and assured you that they’d be in touch soon.
But what happened next, however, was crickets. Most of us have been in the situation before of feeling confident we were in for a job offer following an encouraging interview, only to have the opportunity fizzle out. It’s incredibly frustrating to feel ghosted by a hiring manager, but at times like these, it’s important to remind yourself that — unprofessional though the situation may be — it isn’t personal. There are a multitude of post-interview factors that can impact whether your application is moved forward with, and not all of them are within your control. Consider the following six:
1. The budget changed.
The most common reason a candidate wasn’t hired following a stellar interview has to do, perhaps unsurprisingly, with money. When you were first interviewed, the hiring manager may have had approval for a salary range that has since been altered. Perhaps the company fell behind on their sales goals, or certain clients departed. They might now be interviewing candidates at a lower salary range than yours, or potentially hiring for the position was frozen altogether.
2. The company is restructuring.
In the time since the job you applied for was posted, it’s possible that the company has undergone restructuring — which can entail financial restructuring, organizational restructuring, or both. Either way, a period of restructuring isn’t generally the most optimal time for bringing on new talent, and it’s possible your candidacy has been put on hold until a more stable time.
3. You were one of the first candidates interviewed.
No matter how well your interview went, if you were one of the very first people spoken to for a role, this can actually do you a disservice in the end. It’s human nature to believe the grass could be greener with an as-yet unexplored option; yes, they thought you were a Grade A candidate, but wouldn’t it be rash to move forward without having spoken to more people first? In that process, the memory of how well your interview went may unfortunately start to fade for hiring managers — which is why strategic follow-ups are never a bad idea.
4. They went with an internal hire.
Many hiring managers will give preference for job openings to those already employed by the company. It could be possible that, in the time since your interview, one such employee wound up expressing interest in the role. Considering it helps companies add to their employee retention, save money, and avoid the risk implied by a new hire to fill a role internally, it’s hardly surprising this route is often taken where possible — no matter how impressed they were by you.
5. They were interviewing for the role as a formality.
Somewhat related to the above factor — although it’s hardly likely any hiring manager would admit to this — at times, it’s possible that someone specific may have already been in mind for a role. In situations like these, a hiring manager may still undergo at least a perfunctory round of interviews to feel they’ve “covered their bases” before moving forward with the candidate (either internal or external) they had in mind all along. We're not saying this is fair, but it does happen.
6. You were overqualified.
This reason may feel a little more personal than the others — but being overqualified certainly isn’t your “fault”! No matter how impressed an interviewer was by you, if the ideal fit they’re hiring for is ultimately for someone a little more junior, a hiring manager may unfortunately see this as a reason not to forward. If that’s the case, know that an opportunity where your experience is better valued is still out there (and read up on tips for maneuvering this in future interviews).