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Rejected After the First Interview, What Went Wrong?

​You just had an interview, everything went great but then you receive the not so great news ,you were rejected. You may be asking yourself “Why was I rejected after the interview? What went wrong?” 

This is a question that many job changers are asking themselves, but when this happens to you how do you know what you did wrong and what you should do differently next time? From partnering closely with our clients, and supporting thousands of job seekers change their jobs, we have seen trends in interview rejections. We have compiled a list of the top trends we have seen in reasons why job seekers are rejected after an interview. Avoid making these interview mistakes to ensure you move on to the next round!


There is a balance between knowing when to elaborate and talk more, and when to wrap up your story. While interviewers don’t like to hear short one sentence answers for every question, making the discussion feel like an interrogation, they also don’t like to hear interviewees ramble on for each question. Be mindful of how much detail you go into with your answers, whether it be too little or even too much.


Hiring managers love to see that interviewees are passionate about the position and the company. Showing your enthusiasm and genuine interest in the interview is key, after all why would they want to hire someone that is not very interested in working there?

You can convey your enthusiasm by asking thoughtful questions about the company and position, and being positive and upbeat in your answers.

Pro Tip: Have you ever heard that communication is 93% non verbal and 7% verbal? Since non verbal communication has a big impact on how you are perceived, keep in mind how you are presenting yourself.

Sometimes your experience just might not be the right fit for the position. In this case, this is not necessarily a mistake on your part, but simply a mismatch in expectations of the requirements of the position. For example, if you are a specialist in your field and interviewed for a more general position, you may have been rejected because your experience is too specialized and you are lacking some of the generalist qualities they are looking for. If this is the case and you are aiming to move into that type of position, finding ways to gain more general experience either in your current job or in your personal life would help you make that next move.


Preparation for interviews is key to success- doing plenty of research beforehand can really convey your enthusiasm and interest. Going into the interview, you should have at least a general understanding of the company and their products or services. If you are unable to roughly explain their products or services, it shows that you did no prior research which makes you appear disinterested. They will not expect you to be an expert and know everything going into the interview, but having a basic understanding will do you wonders.

Pro Tip: Study your CVto remind yourself of your accomplishments and make sure you can explain everything written.


This may seem like an obvious rule, but it certainly is very true. The company may be meeting with multiple candidates and sometimes are just looking for one small thing to set them apart from one another. When it comes down to making a decision, being late certainly does not leave a good impression,  and this small factor can be the reason they reject you even if everything else went well.

If something comes up out of your control and you will be late, it is best practice to call in advance so they are not taken by surprise and to save your chances at landing the next interview.


An interview is the time when you need to sell yourself and your experience to the hiring manager. Showing confidence in your abilities is key, after all if you are not confident in yourself why should they be?

If the interview is conducted in a language other than your native language, it is especially important to show your confidence in speaking that language. Practicing your answers to common interview questions can help you feel more confident in explaining your experience in that language. If you are working with a recruitment consultant, they are always happy to meet with you to help you practice ahead of time.

Pro Tip: If you are working with a recruiter, they will gladly offer interview preparation before any interviews to allow you to practice how to sell yourself in a low-pressure environment.

Key Takeaways:

  • Be mindful of how you answer the interview questions. Are you rambling on? Are you only providing short, unspecific, answers?

  • Show your passion and interest for the opportunity by researching the company ahead of time. Convey your enthusiasm by speaking positively and with an upbeat attitude.

  • Show up on time and be confident in yourself

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