Let’s be honest—rejection sucks. And it sucks, even more, when you don’t receive an explanation for that rejection. It can all feel a bit…unfair.

That’s one of the main reasons the job search is so tough mentally, emotionally, and sometimes even physically. In fact, according to Psychology Today, these feelings of unfairness actually travel the same neural pathways feelings of pain do. Yes, you’re hearing that right, the frustration from job searching can actually feel physically painful at times. You aren’t just imagining it.

If you’re tired of getting your hopes up for a job, interviewing, and then hearing crickets, you aren’t alone.

In this blog post, we’ll cover the following reasons this could be happening:

We’ll also discuss ways to combat these situations to increase your chances of receiving a callback. 

You aren’t qualified for the position

Finding out you aren’t qualified for a position can be frustrating, to say the least. That frustration can grow if you’ve found this out after you’ve spent time prepping and going through an interview. What a waste of time, right? And that frustration can turn into downright anger if you don’t even receive a callback from the interviewer.

Companies often have something or someone very specific in mind when they’re looking for a candidate. As someone who applies to a position, you can see from the job description what they say they are seeking. However, you aren’t privy to the conversations happening behind the scenes. How much are they weighing specific parts of your experience? What is the most important skill or quality to them? 

Unfortunately, you will most likely be passed for a role at some point due to not being fully qualified. If possible, try to look at it as an opportunity to understand where you need to flush out more of your experience or skill set. And remember, if this is the reason you have been passed over for a position, it most likely has much less to do with you and much more to do with what exactly the company needs at that moment. 

The company went with someone else

Let’s face it, the job search is extremely competitive, and it has only gotten tougher within the past year and a half. The spread of COVID-19 throughout 2020 and 2021 gutted much of the workforce. In fact, here are a few statistics from the Congressional Research Service that show just how many people lost their jobs throughout the pandemic: 

  • The unemployment rate in the U.S. reached 14.8 percent in April 2020. A rate this high hadn’t existed since this type of data started to be collected in 1948.
  • We still haven’t fully bounced back, either. The recorded unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in July 2021. This is still higher than the 3.5 percent unemployment rate in February 2020, right before COVID-19 really started to spread everywhere.
  • The pandemic caused the labor force participation to decrease to 60.2 percent in April 2020. This level had not been seen since the early 1970s.

Even before the pandemic, a position would receive an average of 250 resumes. All of this is to say—the job search is simply a crowded space right now. 

We aren’t sharing this information to freak you out. It’s easy to take the weight of rejection completely onto your own shoulders. However, you can’t help it that the job searching space is so crowded. You can only fix things that you can control. That includes optimizing your resume. Our Resume Optimization tool helps ensure you submit the best version of your resume for each application.

Your interview didn’t go well

It happens to the best of us. We spend hours researching and preparing for an interview. Then…awkwardness ensues, or worse. So much of the hiring process is simply out of our hands, and this could very well fall under that category. 

But there are a few steps you can take to try to make a good first impression during the interview process:

  • Even if it is a video interview, dress professionally.
  • Do your research. Come to the table with a good understanding of the company, its mission, and even the interviewer.
  • Prepare some answers to common interview questions as well as industry-specific questions.
  • Write down questions you want to ask them—remember, you are also deciding if you want to join this company. 

You can find even more interview advice here.

Something happened behind the scenes

As a job searcher, you have no idea what is happening behind the scenes at a company. Even more frustrating is the fact that this can change at any time. 

Often, companies will open up a position even though they already have someone internally that they want to fill the role. Some want to do their due diligence to make sure there isn’t someone else that’d be a better fit. Also, some organizations are actually required to go through the process, even if they have someone in mind. 

Another reason you might not receive a callback is due to a shift in priorities. A company could need something at one point and then need something else while going through the process.

There’s not much you can do if this is the reason a callback eludes you. But try your best to check in with your mental health and pursue some self-care so these scenarios don’t deflate you too much.

While there is much out of your control during the hiring process, you can make sure you have a solid resume built to increase your chances of an interview and callback. We can help—check out our ATS-friendly resume builder. Just choose your format, follow the prompts, download/print, and submit it!

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