20

I applied to a job offer and got a phone interview, where I was being appropriate, polite and the guy told me he had a positive impression. Nevertheless, they declined me (without even having a face-to-face interview), despite the fact I matched all their "required skills".

Now I see that they have re-activated the job offer.

How should I react (I'm in Switzerland, if it matters)?

An interesting side fact - the guy added me as a connection on LinkedIn. I accepted, but I removed the connection with him as soon as I got my rejection letter.

  • I don't think the side fact is interesting :) – tymtam Aug 24 '16 at 3:11
  • @Tynski: Apparently the guy spoke for himself, and not for his company. – Tom Au Sep 3 '16 at 6:13

11 Answers 11

94

Write them up an email to express you still desire the position. The best case is they bring you in for a interview. Worse case is they'll tell you to leave them alone.

I recall once I had a interview at this place and I thought the phone interview went great. They sent me a email saying they found someone else. I then noticed they reopened the same post so I decided to email them my interest. I was then contacted by their lawyer to cease communication which I thought was drastic considering the email was polite in nature. I later found out the company is horrible and was really glad I didn't get a chance to get employed. The turn over rate was very high.

  • Comments removed. When I was a mod here, I used to have a pithy message explaining why chatty comments are bad and linking to the help center. Pretend that's still here. – jmac Aug 5 '15 at 14:16
109

Companies don't hire skills. They hire people. The phone interview is a chance to see the person behind the skillset, and see what your experiences have been.

Maybe you weren't what they were looking for, and that's fine. However, you made a mistake by unfriending him on LinkedIn. You just burned that bridge and guaranteed you won't get another interview. Many people have failed on interviews, studied up, were given another chance, and got the job. Don't be bitter.

It's like dating. They don't reject you as a person. They reject the match.

Also, companies have no legal obligations to tell people why they didn't get the job. Think of it as "whatever you say can be used against you in court" type of situation. Go ahead and get a lawyer, but you have absolutely no case, and it would be a waste of money.

  • Comments removed. When I was a mod here, I used to have a pithy message explaining why chatty comments are bad and linking to the help center. Pretend that's still here. – jmac Aug 5 '15 at 14:17
64

You got rejected, and then you assumed the worst. Here's a possibility: You had a phone interview, which went well, but there were more phone interviews. One of those people got interviewed, turned out to be absolutely brilliant, an offer was made and provisionally accepted, so they sent rejection letters to everyone else including you to avoid stringing them along and wasting their time.

Then the brilliant candidate who provisionally accepted found a better position.

Meanwhile you went off at the deep end and "unfriended" your contact at the company. You assumed they lied to you, which they never actually did.

That contact might now be phoning everyone who did well at the phone interview, except the one who removed him from his "linkedin" page.

As a lesson, don't burn any bridges in the future because you think someone wronged you. Assume that things have a perfectly fine explanation, or things are the result of an unintentional mistake. I wouldn't want to hire someone or work with someone who is paranoid. These things tend to work in a strange way in both directions. If you assume the worst of people, they will tend to return the favour.

(Why wouldn't I want to work with someone who is paranoid: People make mistakes. I make mistakes. I might occasionally make a mistake that is at your expense and causes you extra work. It happens. I expect you to be annoyed, complain to me, I say I'm sorry, and then we forget about it. Works both ways. But if you are paranoid, you assume that I did this intentionally to wrong you. My fake excuse shows that I cannot be trusted. You look for the next opportunity to pay me back and stab me in the back. And suddenly we have a very, very uncomfortable workplace. Do you think I want to work with someone like that? )

  • Comments removed. When I was a mod here, I used to have a pithy message explaining why chatty comments are bad and linking to the help center. Pretend that's still here. – jmac Aug 5 '15 at 14:18
23

You should react by moving on and continuing your job search. You'll apply to many jobs that you think you're a perfect fit for and get no response or rejection; don't take it personally.

Just because it was a "positive phone interview" from your perspective doesn't mean they were impressed with your qualifications. It would be unprofessional for an interviewer to be anything but pleasant and polite during an interview, even if they have no intention of advancing the candidate.

I don't know anything about Swiss law, but I would be very surprised to find that the employer is legally compelled to do anything in this situation.

  • 6
    By loathing them you are burning a bridge you don't have to, as well as wasting far more of your own energy than this deserves. You didn't get this particular job. It happens. It says nothing about you or them except that you eeren't exactly what they were working for. That's just how the process works; you and they try, it either works or it doesn't; if it doesn't everyone tries again elsewhere. – keshlam Jul 31 '15 at 22:52
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    "the state is loosing money by not allowing me to find a job" -> Whew. You should seriously stop whining. There's also the possibility the state will be winning more money with the person that does get hired, and even more money with you in a position that fits you not only "perfectly", but "mega super perfectly". They are not disallowing you to find a job, they are just allowing companies to choose the subjective best fit. – phresnel Aug 3 '15 at 9:32
23

I am going to point out that many people who did not do well at the interview think they did brilliantly. Just because you have all the technical skills doesn't mean they think you will fit in. Technical is typically only 30-50% of what they are looking for.

And I personally have interviewed plenty of people who thought they had the technical skills but who did not pass my interview questions on them. Sometimes what they want is at a higher level or a different part of the language than you are unfamiliar with. Sometimes you think you gave a correct answer but it not the answer the interviewer was looking for. He may have expected more detail or the mention of something specific. Or what you said might be a 180 degrees from the way they do things and they know you would be unhappy with the code base you would have to work in

They did not think you were a match for what they wanted. If they advertised again, it was because they didn't find anyone who they wanted to hire or they had the hire fall through or they have another opening. It could even be that they had a budget freeze and figured out that most people would no longer be in the market of their original group. You have no idea why it happened. And frankly why is irrelevant.

Hating people and companies for rejecting you in an interview is ultimately not in your own best interests. You may run across these people later in your career and be a better fit for the job they have then. Your boss might leave and this person take his place. The company you work for might get bought by the company you hate. It is a small world out there in any profession; don't burn bridges and don't let a rejection mean you can't work with them later on. It is not personal, you are competing with other people and other needs; you need to stop taking things personally.

13

There are already several great answers, illustrating that there are many different reasons more plausible than some bizarre desire to mess with a person completely unknown to them. To add a few more possibilities:

  • They did hire someone, but renewed the offer because they realized they need more people.
  • The position is an open vacancy, meaning that it will be continuously renewed until they find enough of the right people.
  • They aren't actually hiring, but want to look good to other companies by saying that they are hiring. I don't know how common this is, but it's one of the dodgiest reasons I've heard about for companies to reject every candidate.

I've worked in Switzerland, and I know many people who do/did. Don't take it personally, and for dog's sake don't retaliate. If I were the recruiter I wouldn't take it personally when ex-candidates terminate the connection; maybe they just figure our connection is too tenuous to be cluttering up their timeline. But some people may take it personally.

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    Sometimes an employer advertises a job just as an alibi, then they give the job to a friend/relation/lower paid contractor. But they are obliged to advertise first, they just go through the motions. – RedSonja Aug 3 '15 at 11:27
10

The way you should react is by re-appraising your suitability for the role and how you presented in the phone interview.

Your assumption that you are perfect for the job and yet didn't get it is a major warning sign for you to take heed of.

The fact is you did something wrong, or did not do something right, or you would have the job. And yet you thought you were perfect.

This means only one thing: your own judgement is lacking.

So instead of getting critical of someone else (the employer) take a hard look at yourself. Play the interview over again in your mind and try to spot where you presented as something less than desirable. My bet would be arrogance, based on your presentation in the question. Take a hard look at yourself, and try to see where that might have crept in. Or something else.

One thing you can do is ask them politely and humbly where you fell short. Be clear that you are not questioning their decision, rather you are looking for insight. Be clear in your own mind that they don't owe you a reply: they might have realised that they need some other experience, that wasn't written in the job spec, and ruled you out because you don't have it. They might not want to share that with you - they don't have to.

But the biggest thing you need to do in "reaction" is get over yourself and your attitude. You got cross with them for rejecting you (as evidenced by your Linked-in disconnection), and that is inappropriate and immature.

Many employers will be looking for people who have a higher level of maturity than that.

In my opinion, based on little information, the most likely reason they didn't proceed with you is that they found something in the way you answered questions didn't fit with their mental model of the type of person they want. The list of "required skills" is only the starting point for an employer: there are many unwritten requirements, which are to do with how the person will fit in.

So don't be upset you didn't get it: there was a good reason. You just may never know what it was. The best you can do is take the feedback you're getting here and have a hard look at yourself in areas you didn't realise you might need work...

  • I think it's pretty fun/interesting that my pretended arrogance gets blamed for not getting the job. Capitalism is based on arrogance: Companies are arrogant, all the time - if they said they sucked they would have gone bankrupt. People who leads successive carrers and have high ranked jobs usually are at least somewhat arrogant, for the most of them extremely arrogant, and that worked for them. If you say you suck hard, the company sure won't hire you! Nevertheless, I like your point and it's bizarre and interesting. Thank you very much. – Bregalad Aug 2 '15 at 20:17
  • Then again that guy probably did not know that I removed him from my list since there is not a notification for that. And nevertheless my only regret is adding him, not removing him (whether I am right or wrong in this respect) - after all I never knew him in "real" life. – Bregalad Aug 2 '15 at 20:19
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    Having read that I would not give you a job either. Just read that over again. Would you give a job to the guy who wrote that? – RedSonja Aug 3 '15 at 11:28
  • @RedSonja Of course not! But that's still the truth. I am not on SE for being interviewed, but for being helped. – Bregalad Aug 3 '15 at 16:12
  • Anyway the question was not about why I didn't get the job so this doesn't answer my question in any way. – Bregalad Aug 3 '15 at 16:14
5

In addition to the Answer provided by @l0b0 I would also add two more possible reasons for the relisted job:

(1) Some managers use a practice that in HR circles is called "sandbagging". These managers plan to hire in the future but do not currently have the authorization (a.k.a. budget) today, so instead they offer a vaporware style of job in order to collect a set of potential candidates. If/when the budget is available they then make a quick series of calls down the list of pre-screened candidates and ask the simple question: "Are you still interested?"

This sandbagging practice is even more common with placement recruiters (a.k.a. professional headhunters) who try to have a fast and dirty call list for when a new request crosses their desk so they can fill the order first before another headhunter does.

(2) Sometimes the written job description accidentally omits a key needed (or at least highly desired) skill and this omission is discovered in the process of screening candidates ("After talking to that last guy I think for this project maybe we are going to need someone with at least a little experience using mainframes." or "Why do none of the candidates we are seeing have any experience with GIT? What do you mean it's not in the job description?"). So, the company backs off, tweaks the description, and then starts the screening process over again.

As l0b0 says, there are many possible reasons (some logical, some not) why this might have happened.

  • It's the first time I hear about HR callign back candidates. Usually it's the opposite, they said they will recontact you but nver do. (This don't mean this doesn't happen though it just isn't common) – Bregalad Aug 2 '15 at 20:22
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    I did not say HR people make such calls, I said HR people have nicknamed this process. Frankly HR folks hate this process because they are usually unable to fairly compete for the top candidates when a less than ethical headhunter has the best ones on speed-dial. And yes, this is unethical because it gives false hope (followed by depression) to unemployed people that they might get hired for a job that doesn't actually exist. – O.M.Y. Aug 2 '15 at 20:34
  • Oh man! I would have loved to be unemployed.... in the 60s, when they didn't even ask for diplomas before hiring. Such a better world. – Bregalad Aug 2 '15 at 21:02
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    Yeah the thing is the fact you didn't get hired is your fault, not the world's. Quit blaming everyone and everything else for your failures, and you'll start doing better. – Lightness Races with Monica Aug 3 '15 at 12:32
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    Or nobody's fault. But the advice remains the same: work on your interviewing skills, interview elsewhere, and expect that not every interview -- no matter how good you think you'd be for the job -- results in a job offer. – keshlam Aug 3 '15 at 16:06
1

Already 10 answers but my two cents:

What should you do?

One: Think back over what you said in the interview. Did you stumble over a question in a way that might have indicated that you were not really qualified? Did you say something that the interviewer might have taken negatively, like statements that might indicate that you would not get along with other people there, that you have bad work habits, that you would quit after a short time, etc? If you can think of any, than keep these in mind for your next interview, so you don't make the same mistakes.

Two: Regardless of whether you could identify any flaws in your interview performance: Forget it and move on! There is no point analyzing or agonizing over why you didn't get this particular job. Maybe you had great qualifications, but they interviewed someone else who impressed them more. (And the fact that the ad was re-posted might just mean that something went wrong with this other person.) Maybe after speaking to you the interviewer decided you would not be a good fit in his company for reasons not related to specific technical skills. Maybe the interviewer doesn't like people of your race or religion or political affiliation or hair color or some other personal detail that came up. Maybe the interviewer decided he didn't like you for no particular reason at all. Just move on. Apply somewhere else.

What do you think you can do about it? Sue them for not hiring you? Unless their reason was because of some form of illegal discrimination, I don't know what the basis of such a lawsuit would be.

Call them up and demand an explanation? Suppose they don't have a good reason. Then what? Argue with them and badger them into hiring you? I really doubt that would work.

Hack their servers looking for emails that mention your name? Hire private detectives to eavesdrop on their office? Even if you could, what would be the point?

Forget it and move on.

0

Taking this question at face value, assuming that you met all the criteria for the job, including unstated criteria such as being a suitable fit for the existing team environment, being well spoken in the phone interview etc.

Perhaps you were over qualified for the job.

People do not like to hire people for jobs that they are over qualified for, there is an assumption that either they will turn the job down when they hear the salary (thus wasting time), that they will take the job, but be looking for other jobs elsewhere, or simply due to the "if something's too good to be true, it probably is" effect. People assume that if you are applying for a job you appear overqualified for, there must be some reason why you can't

-6

Have you heard of a pain letter? Here's something from forbes not too long ago: http://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2014/10/12/forget-cover-letters-write-a-pain-letter-instead/

Basically it's an empathy letter to the Hiring manager, which sums up to something like: "I understand how difficult it is to hire this position, and I am here to the rescue".

This approach feels like it'd suit your situation.

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    The pain letter is supposed to be a first contact, replacing the traditional cover letter. It's a way of getting the employer's attention and piquing their interest. It's not appropriate once you've already applied and had a phone interview; at that point, you could have said any of these things already (and should have, if you meant them). – Air Jul 31 '15 at 20:21
  • This is a bad approach in general I think. While hiring managers (of which I am occasionally am one) know that they have a problem and are trying to find help solving that problem, and putting yourself in their shoes is a good tactic for writing a good cover letter, the majority of hiring managers are unlikely to respond to gimmicky ideas like this. If nothing else, it's in grave danger of coming across as patronising and that won't win the applicant any favours. More importantly, as Air notes, this approach is completely inappropriate anyway considering the position of the OP right now. – Rob Moir Aug 2 '15 at 19:11

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