You're qualified but not receiving job offers. Why?

There’s nothing more frustrating than feeling like you’re qualified for jobs, interviewing, and then not receiving any offers. Our founder, Mark Phillips, gives some insights as to why that may happen.


#1 Reason: You may not actually be qualified for the position.

For starters, how do you know you’re qualified? You can’t just decide that you’re right for a position based on the job description. In 99% of cases, a job description is a flawed artifact in a flawed process, so you still have to spend time in the interview learning about the actual needs of the hiring manager and the company.

A job description is just an indication that there’s an opening at the company and gives you a rough idea of the basics that a company may be looking for. It’s not meant to be the be-all and end-all for exactly what the position requires. Often, the hiring manager hasn’t even written the job description so it may not reflect their objectives. (Hiring managers – writing job descriptions is hard, we know. We offer some templates for several different positions to get you started.)

Even if a job description is written well, it usually lists minimum requirements and isn’t meant to be fully comprehensive. “Qualified” also doesn’t necessarily mean “desired.” The point of the interview process is to see if there’s connection, chemistry, and a desire to work together, in addition to finding a qualified candidate.


While that’s the biggest reason, there are several others, which may or may not have anything to do with you as a candidate. Among the top reasons we see are:

  • Another candidate was cheaper. Are your salary requirements in line with current industry standards?
  • You seem like a riskier hire than another candidate or red flags cropped up during the interview. Is there anything you can do to make yourself a safer hire for the company?
  • Another candidate had better chemistry with the hiring team. Every team and organization has its own culture. Some will be a better fit for you than others. Don’t take it personally.
  • Another candidate had fewer obstacles in terms of hiring. Would you need to relocate for the job? Do you have specific needs that are difficult for the company to fill?
  • You didn’t interview well. It happens. You could be perfect for the job but have a bad day and tank the interview. Or you weren’t well prepared. Learn from what happened and do better next time. Also make sure you present your story in the most compelling way possible. (If it’s a phone or video interview, there are specific things to know for each of those.)
  • The company changed its hiring criteria mid-search. This happens a lot, especially in small or high-growth companies. Maybe a manager position turned into a director position and you’re no longer qualified.
  • Another candidate out-networked you. As recruiters, we regularly lose deals with qualified candidates when someone from the hiring manager’s network crops up, even if it’s at the last minute. Hiring will almost always favor the network. You can be qualified and not have the network and lose out to someone who does, so make sure to continually build and maintain your professional network (and keep that LinkedIn profile up-to-date!). The beginning, end, and middle of the year are especially good times to do this.

If you don’t receive an offer, take the interview process as a learning experience and a way to improve your employability. At the end of an interview, if you feel it’s a good fit on both sides, it never hurts to ask, “I’d love some feedback. How do you think we’d work together?” If they give you an answer, make sure to listen and, if possible, apply what they say to your next interview.

Like this article? We have lots more job seeker aids on our Resources page.

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