Why one gets rejected during interviews


More than subject knowledge, there are other things that matter in the interview — personality, human side and cultural fit.

They say it’s an employee’s market now. Yet, candidates have to face rejection very often, and bagging the coveted job isn’t always easy.

Career Builder has identified the top reasons why a candidate gets rejected in an interview. Interestingly, the survey by Career Builder among hiring managers says that more than half of them know within the first five minutes of an interview whether a candidate is a good or bad fit for a position, and only eight per cent give the candidate at least a half hour before they make up their minds.

So, it’s the first five minutes that make or break the deal.

Most hiring managers were found to have rejected interviewees because of the following primary reasons:

71 per cent of the candidates were caught lying about something.
67 per cent attended calls or texted during the interview.
59 per cent appeared to be arrogant or entitled.
52 per cent appeared to lack accountability.
51 per cent swore during the interview.
50 per cent were dressed inappropriately.
48 per cent talked negatively about current or previous employers.
45 per cent knew nothing about the job or company.
43 per cent displayed unprofessional body language.
35 per cent knew nothing about the industry or competitors.

The fact is that the other attributes of the personality matter more than industry knowledge or subject matter expertise. Hiring managers look at what kind of person the candidate is and whether she/he will fit with the company’s culture.

Hiring managers also give a lot of emphasis to body language.

Eye contact is a must during a one-to-one interview and 68 per cent of candidates were rejected simply because they failed to make eye contact. Similarly, 38 per cent did not pass the interview round because they failed to smile.

Playing with something on the table or fidgeting too much in the seat and bad posture are considered to be bad etiquettes and more than 30 per cent of the candidates were rejected for the same.

Now let’s look at the funny aspects of the interviews. Hiring managers shared some of their weirdest interview experiences, and the ones that top the list in terms of degree of weirdness are as follows:

• A candidate who lacked the skills required for the job stated, “Fake it until you make it” as his personal philosophy.
• One contender asked the interviewer whether she was qualified for her job.
• An aspirant asked for a cocktail.
• A candidate asked to taste the interviewer’s coffee.
• One applicant called a government job “something government-y.”
• One interviewee turned up for the interview wearing slippers.
• A candidate wore a Darth Vader outfit to the interview.
• An aspirant spent a lot of time quoting Dwight D. Eisenhower, which had nothing to do with the position he was interviewing for.
• One applicant leaned far forward with his head down during the first five minutes of the interview.
• One candidate offered the interviewer pumpkins, saying they transfer good energy.
• One contender pulled out a bag of drugs with his keys.
• One interviewee broke out in song in the middle of the interview.

For an interviewee, it is important to be himself or herself, calm, confident and not pretentious. It is advised to do your homework and get the elevator speech —a 30-second speech summarising what you do and why you’d be a perfect fit for the role — ready and rehearsed several times before the interview.


  1. I try to always get some information about the company from their site. I only apply to jobs I know I can perform and am qualified to do. I make eye contact, smile, look interested, answer honestly and make sure to thank the person or panel for their time and the opportunity to interview. So….where am I going wrong? Sometimes, I don’t even get a nibble and I’ve redone my resume and cover letters to address the position. So there you go.

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