I applied for a job, passed all 5 interviews and the 10-hour technical written test. I was asked for references and background check. The team lead even told me I will be hired in the last interview!

Then two days after that I got:

I want to take the time to thank you for your patience during our process. We were really impressed with the mix of skills and experience you brought to the table and the team really enjoyed meeting and speaking with you. At this point, we have decided to move forward with another candidate whose skills we feel more closely match the department’s needs at this time. This was a difficult decision and we understand that it must be disappointing for you, having invested so much time and energy in the selection process.

That said, we recognize your unique skillset may be one that we need down the road. We’d love to keep the door open and reach out to you in future if a position more suited to your specific blend of knowledge and experience becomes available. We obviously can’t make any commitments with respect to timing, and we completely understand that you’re actively looking for work right now and so may be unavailable at such time we get in touch.

We wish you the best of luck in developing your career and look forward to discussing new opportunities in future if you remain interested!

Best regards,

I have better qualifications and more experience than the team lead, but during the interview I never felt like he was not happy about that. Two out of the five interviews were with the team lead, in which he was alone. I have more skills than what the position asked for.

But then, if these facts are the reason so why ask me to go through 5 interviews and tests. Just reject me from the beginning.

Of course, I have zero criminal record and my references are outstanding for that position.

I want to understand, as I never reached that stage in hiring process and then not get an offer.

UPDATE: I am not shocked that I was rejected, I am shocked that I was rejected after I reached this stage. But I am OK in general, no hard feelings. I am trying to understand if I did something wrong at this last point of the hiring process so I can avoid doing that in the future. I would expect to be turned down early if I had raised any red flag.

Here is my reply to them:

I am very sorry to hear that. I was looking forward to that opportunity. However, I wish your company the best with the other candidate.

Please, pass along my thanks to the team.


  • 63
    Good reply, shows maturity. Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 5:38
  • 11
    @Wildcard I think the OP is asking why they didn’t get an offer for this job. Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 9:12
  • 21
    I thought that their letter declining your application was not your off-the-shelf decline. They seem to have had a hard time with the decision and sincerely regret not employing you. It is unclear whether the other candidate was better qualified in the general sense; they just felt he was a better fit for that specific position. Tough luck, but about the best rejection possible, actually a compliment.-- Reminds me of when we looked for a room mate in a co-op back in the day. We wrote similar rejections to candidates we would have chosen if not the other one would have been there. Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 9:32
  • 12
    "we have decided to move forward with another candidate whose skills we feel more closely match the department’s needs at this time " - is there some reason you don't believe the reason they've given?
    – AakashM
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 10:24
  • 9
    "5 interviews and technical|written test (10 hours test)" Sheesh. Overkill much? What kind of job requires that much scrutiny?
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 11:17

4 Answers 4


we have decided to move forward with another candidate whose skills we feel more closely match the department’s needs at this time.

They found a better candidate. You might be outstanding, but they found someone a bit more outstanding. You might be a good fit, but they found someone who they feel is a better fit.

It happens. Don't take it personally.

Keep looking - if this company liked you this much then certainly another company will as well.

  • 11
    To add, if you really want to know why they didn't hire you, you will have to ask them. We can't guess what their specific reasons were about you. Given it's highly unlikely you will get a satisfactory answer, then follow Joe's advice and just let it go and move on.
    – Jane S
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 3:03
  • 5
    The manager made a decision. Having decided, there is really no reason to bother remembering the details of the decision. They have moved on. You should do likewise.
    – keshlam
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 3:19
  • 3
    This is the most probable reason, but it is also possible that they decided to not fill the position at all. For example, if a key client backed out then they don't need to fill this position any more. In that case, it is nothing about you.
    – emory
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 5:55
  • 7
    @MichaelHampton with a lower bid
    – SGR
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 8:06
  • 32
    Or, rather than the other candidate being more or less outstanding, they may have just been a better fit. If there are two almost-identically qualified candidates, with similar experience, the company might have to go on a "gut feeling" of which one will fit in with the rest of the department/company. This doesn't imply you are lacking in any way; just that (they thought) the other candidate would fit better for them. (For example, you might be "quiet", and they "loud" -- or the other way round -- neither quality is "better" or "worse" in themselves, but one will fit better).
    – TripeHound
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 10:29

I concur with the answer posted by Joe Strazzere, but I would like to also add a couple of observations.

There is such a thing as being overqualified for a position, and this may possibly have occurred here. You said it yourself when you stated: " I have more skills than what the position wanted!"

There is also another option, which falls less on your talents and skills, and more on your attitude and personality.

The attitude/personality you express in your question lean towards that of someone who may not be the best team player. The following quote is one that more or less raises a red flag when it comes to personality: "FACTS I have more qualifications and experience than the team lead but during the interview I never felt he is not happy about that." If you come across as seeing yourself as superior to others in an interview, things may not go the way you want them to regardless of what skills or experience you have.

Also, your excessive use of exclamation points has you coming across as taking personal offense to being turned down for this job.

  • I am shocked of course. I am trying to process how they do a mistake like saying you are hired, and then 2 days you are not. I have been turned down before for jobs. This os part of the process. But even if I raise a red flag I should not have reached this stage. This is how I think about it. I am trying to leave a bigger company (my current job) with ten years experience to join a mid-size company. I was promoted, and I hate my new position. I hate being in a manager position. I am trying to guess if the team lead feels I might be a risk :). But I am not I do not like been a team lead
    – Ubaidah
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 5:30
  • 5
    @Ubaidah - If the lead doesn't actually have hiring power, he could just have been expressing that he thinks you're a great fit, rather than telling you that you actually have a position. Then the hiring manager chose someone else over his objections.
    – Bobson
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 5:43
  • @Bobson I guess that what happened
    – Ubaidah
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 5:54
  • 16
    Having recently seen a couple of cases like this from the "inside", the real reason in all cases was that the candidates were deemed too skillful for what we could offer - either by the type of tasks, or by remuneration. We discussed the choices and found it likely the candidates would have switched companies fairly soon (say, 8 months to 1.5 years) because we didn't have challenging enough tasks for them, or the clients of the position aren't that profitable to cover a top-tier salary. Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 6:16
  • 5
    @JuhaUntinen: You may wish to expand this into an answer. There's such a thing as being "overqualified" for a position, and companies do not see it as an advantage specifically because of the risk you mention. Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 8:24

This could be lots of things.

  1. It could be money. As you seem to be more senior than the role needed, maybe they got a less capable candidate in, but he was capable enough for their need now and a cheaper option.
  2. It could be that they were happy with you technically, but they thought you may leave due to being overqualified. They may have thought you may get dissatisfied, or even bored in the role as you are maybe taking a demotion of sorts.
  3. The other candidate may have been as good as you but had a particular skill you don't have and that they lack. For example, if he is the man with databases and you are just good with databases (for example) then they may have wanted that specific skill, and felt the other candidate offered more for having that specific skill.
  4. The other candidate may have entered the process later, so the company felt to interview you again to compare to the other candidate.

Sometimes stuff happens that's out of your control. Many of us have been through arduous processes to not get picked (although that's a lot of interviews/tests), but don't dwell on it.

  • 5
    Another possibility is good old-fashioned nepotism. Perhaps the successful candidate knew the right people further up the business
    – Trebor
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 10:43
  • 2
    Possibility 6: Luck. They had budget for one, both candidates were equally qualified and equally demanding. The staff discussed extensively with management but none came to a consensus. The HR manager decided to throw the coin instead of spending the whole night choosing a candidate. Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 12:45

There is another possibility:

That while the team were happy hiring you their decision was overruled. Often hiring decisions stay within the local team before getting a final sign off from higher up.

It does seem to fit the evidence. It was not just yourself that spent a lot of time, the company did as well. They would not do this if they were not seriously interested. It sounds like it was the final authorisation that caused the issue.

I've seen it from the other side, where I have interviewed a good candidate for a role where there was supposed to be a job and to be told that it was not possible to hire them.

It is unlikely that the company would let on if this was the case, to say 'we have no budget', or 'we have a hiring freeze' or 'the sales team blew the budget on their team building trip to Venice' is not something they would say to somebody in your position.

While it is disappointing it does happen.

  • 1
    The way that the OP got a verbal acceptance at the end of their interview only to be rejected later suggests that something like this is the case. By the looks of the rejection email the Team Lead was just as blindsided by all this as the OP.
    – Trebor
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 14:45

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