Ever wondered what happened when that employer you wanted to work for rejected you? We know, it’s quite disappointing and frustrating. But things like that don’t happen “just because”. There are actually reasons behind any employer’s rejection of an application. Some of them are valid and some are not, but this commentary series will cover all of them and propose what kinds of responses you can make.


My competencies didn’t match the position.


This is one of the most legitimate reasons. The core responsibility of recruiters is to fill vacant positions with the people who can fulfill the role it entails. If they find that your experience and abilities will not be able to fulfill the role of the position, you will most likely be rejected. This can even happen when candidates who have worked in a particular position for one company are not accepted at another company, because the responsibilities of the position vary between industries and environments.


  • Be professional. Thank the recruiter for taking the time to process your application. This may actually help the recruiter remember you as a candidate who can act appropriately under a stressful situation.
  • Ask for clarification. It could be a good learning opportunity for you to find out the responsibilities of the position that are not aligned with your skills. At the very least, you’ll be able to identify weaknesses that you can address with future training. Asking for clarification may also help you determine – without directly asking – that the recruiter is telling the truth and not just making up an excuse for rejecting your application.
  • Courteously ask for other possible opportunities. Without sounding demanding, try to ask if there are other vacancies that you would fit in. If there are, then be open to possibly being interviewed again by different people. If there aren’t, accept that reality and move on.
  • Remind yourself why you were not considered for the position. It was because your competencies didn’t match the needs of the position, and the recruiter decided that putting you in that position would have been difficult on you and on the people who depend on your output. It all boils down to what would be best for all parties involved, including you and the people you would be working with.
  • Keep your lines of communication open. If there are future opportunities, and the recruiter remembers you or still has your file, then you may receive some offers to try for new vacant positions.

At the end of the day, this reason is all about recruiters doing their jobs and putting the needs of their employers first. They are filling positions with the best persons to perform the tasks involved. And that’s not a bad thing; it’s professionalism in practice. The best response to professionalism is also professionalism, which you will see throughout our suggestions above.

Keep following this series in the following weeks as we identify other reasons that employers reject job applications, and propose ways that you can cope with them. Keep that determination burning!

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