The Main Reasons You Aren't Getting Hired

Your job search has been going on for ages. Finding a job has become more than a full-time job. And you still haven’t landed a job. That massive, depressing question is hanging over your head.

Why am I not getting hired?

Everyone says that a company would be lucky to have you working for them. You’ve polished your resume a hundred times, combing it for typos and trying to make yourself shine. But nothing’s working.

As awesome as you are in real life, it’s likely that your unique, amazing qualities aren’t coming across in your job application. 

It’s also what you do (and don’t) say during the job interview that can make or break your chances of scoring the job. 

Avoid these five killer mistakes to make yourself mega-desirable to hiring managers. You’ll score that new job in no time!

Mistake #1: You look like a job hopper

Take a look at your application and resume. How long have you stayed at previous jobs? 

In today’s job economy, hopping from one job to another is common. Most of us have job hopped at some point, and may still be doing it. Especially if you’re young and either in college or a recent graduate, it’s reasonable to job hop. You’re still finding out what you want and where you fit in. 

The problem is that if your employment has been in one- or two-month stretches, that’s a red flag to recruiters and hiring managers. It makes them nervous. 

Managers think, “I can’t hire this person. I’m going to waste time and money training them and then they’re going to leave.” 

That’s a big reason why you’re not getting hired.

How to fix it:

You’re going to want to omit any jobs where you lasted three months or less. The reason is that, usually, it’s around the three-month mark where employers really get enough experience working with you in order to assess how you’re doing—whether you’re adapting well, getting along with co-workers, and following directions.

Of course, if you’re a student, you might only have a few months here and there in seasonal jobs. In this case, it’s okay to list short employment stints, which are usually done during the summer months. You want to make sure that you note that it was seasonal though. Depending on your resume format, you might note that in the title or in the description.

If you were just job-hopping and you weren’t just a student, you can still address this in creative ways. If your jobs were related, you can just list the title of your position, and list the company as “various.” This not only saves valuable space on your resume but also gives you an opportunity to condense your experiences and takeaways in the bullets.

If you really can’t skirt around your spotty work history, address it very (and we mean very) briefly in your cover letter. You don’t want to make it the focus of your letter or it will ruin your first impression.

Say something like, “I’ve held a few short-term jobs while I was a full-time student. I’m now looking for a permanent position and I’m interested in working at your company.”

This shows the employer that you aren’t going to flake on them the second they get you up to speed. 

Mistake #2: You don’t act like you really want the job

So, you’ve filled out a great application and your skillset has caught an employer’s attention. Sweet!

The hiring manager calls and leaves a voicemail to set up an interview. You’re busy and assume she’ll just call you back. 

But she doesn’t! Days go by and she doesn’t hear from you. 

Hiring managers are extremely busy, and even the most organized ones will have things fall through the cracks. If enough time goes by and she realizes that she hasn’t gotten back to you, guess what? She’s not going to call you. She’s going to assume you don’t want the job because you didn’t care enough to check in. If you’re not showing how much you want the job, you’re not getting hired because there’s someone else who’s showing that they’re more motivated than you are.

How to fix it:

Don’t assume that a company will always call you back. You need to use this opportunity to show how much you want the job. 

At the end of an interview, ask them what the best way to follow up is. For example, you can say, “After learning so much about the company, I’m really invested in securing an opportunity here. What’s the best way for me to follow up?” Do your best to secure the contact information of a specific person. 

Call or email the hiring manager back ASAP. If you can’t reach them with a phone call, that’s okay. Leave a message. 

Persist until you finally get to chat about your application. 

Also, if you know you’re applying to jobs, be careful with how you answer the phone. You're going to get a lot of phone calls from unknown numbers. 

Don’t answer with, “...Hello?” It’s unprofessional and sets a weird tone for the relationship.

Answer all calls like this: “Hello, this is Mary speaking.” 

That tells the hiring manager they’re reaching the right person. It also shows off your A+ phone skills. 

Mistake #3: You don’t fill out the job application properly

Is your job application full of blanks? Is your professional social media presence nowhere to be found?

That matters to employers! While the Snag system will send your data to potential employers, it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t fill out your information first. 

Employers need to know your experience at a glance. They need to know your work history, education, accomplishments, and what kind of person you are. 

Leaving your application blank is a surefire way to end up in the “reject” pile. We know it’s tedious filling out application after application, but quality efforts will lead to landing a perfect job. By filling out applications, you show that you have attention to detail and the ability to follow directions, both of which are important in all jobs. It also shows that you respect them enough to put in the work to conform to their system. You want to stand out, but leaving things blank is not the way you want to do it. If you can’t fill out a form properly, you’re not getting hired to do jobs that are more important than filling out an application.

P.S. You only have to fill your info out once with Snag, so there’s no excuse for blank applications!

How to fix it:

Look over your Snag profile and LinkedIn. Make note of all the blank areas. You can ask a friend to look over your application for an unbiased opinion, too. 

Did you list all of your relevant work experience? Did you write an interesting “Tell Us About Yourself” section? Did you showcase all of the things you bring to the table? 

If not, now's the time to fill in those fields.

Mistake #4: You freak out the hiring manager

It’s easy to make a misstep in the professional world, especially if you’re applying to your first job. You have to understand professional norms. 

That means knowing the fine line between “being unique” and “being weird.” 

Maybe you have all the qualifications and skills to excel at a job. That’s half the battle! 

But if your application email is, employers will raise an eyebrow. 

How you come off matters. Inappropriate tattoos, crazy facial piercings and Instagram Stories of rowdy nights on the town won’t impress employers. 

How to fix it:

We’re not saying you have to change your personality or hobbies. 

However, remember that employers don’t know you. They're going to make snap judgments when they see anything odd. 

When in doubt, keep your public image clean and professional. 

Put yourself through the Granny Test. If your grandma would disapprove, then an employer won’t like it, either. 

If you’re serious about getting a job, watch how you come across. Use a professional email, keep your social media presence clean and showcase your professional talents.

Mistake #5: You didn’t research the company

Companies want to hire people who have taken the time to understand the organization. The truth is that people often don’t quit jobs because of the job function. They quit because of the people they’re working around.

When you write your cover letter and prepare for your interview, you’re presenting yourself to the hiring manager. And one of the top reasons that you’re not getting hired is because you’re not giving them the impression that you fit into the organization.

How to fix it:

It starts with an understanding of the company culture and values. Do your research. Find the company website and read the About page. Take note of the values they promote and the mission that drives the organization. You want to do your best to understand why they do what they do and then communicate to them that you share that same purpose.

The bottom line

Not getting hired after countless job applications and interviews can be frustrating. Pay attention to the details, do your research, and show that you’re motivated. Avoid these killer mistakes and you’ll be one step closer to getting hired.

Amy Culver |
Amy is our Lead Copywriter at Snagajob, where she loves to use her word nerd powers to help workers and employers connect. Her first hourly job was as a cashier at Chick-fil-a.