I Had a Great Interview! Why Didn’t I Get a Callback?



It happens often. The interview went well. The conversation flowed. You were poised and presented a very strong case. You even got along on a personal level with the interviewer. Weeks have passed though, and there hasn’t been a callback. What could have happened?

There is always the possibility you may have misread the positive experience, and even those times when the internal candidate was basically guaranteed the offer. Still, sometimes candidates lose the job offer because of the interviewer’s experiences after the interview. What could change your interviewer’s mind?

Here are four reasons to note:

1.  Failing to follow-up

According to a CareerBuilder survey, nearly one in four hiring managers will bypass a candidate who did not send a thank you, believing these candidates won’t follow through with work or aren’t serious about the position. Now, your manager may not be part of that one in four, but why take the chance? As I’ve heard from many job seekers, it may just tip the scales in your favor.

Next time: Thank the interviewer for the opportunity, even if it was a phone interview, quick coffee meeting, or an informal group setting. What should the note say besides thank you? A few things to consider are: memorable parts of the conversation, reasons you’re excited to work for the company, and places where you would create value on the job. A thank you note keeps you connected to the organization and creates a stronger relationship between you and the interviewer.

2.  Poor online presence

The Internet has made it easier for us to communicate on a broad scale. However, it also puts us at risk of association with inappropriate content. Employers have also taken this into account: 65 percent of companies like to see if candidates present themselves professionally online. Many companies do not want to hire someone who could present the organization in a bad light, which may happen if your name is associated with inappropriate content.

Next time: Clean up your online image before the interview. Research your name in a search engine. Enable privacy settings. Put the correct social media links on your resume or portfolio so the interviewer knows exactly where to look. Make sure your name is not associated with anything that may make the organization question your professionalism or your ability to perform. These tactics will help you to stand out better online, instead of steering your name in the wrong direction.

3.  Unreliable references

No matter how impressive you are in an interview, the words of others have a dramatic impact. Good references enhance how you presented yourself. References that are unreliable or unresponsive may harm your chances. For instance, a reference who cannot remember your accomplishments or when you worked for the organization does little to prove why you’re right for the job. It may do the opposite because your experiences are left unconfirmed.

Next time: Proactively reach out to your references to inform them they may be contacted. Let them know which accomplishments or points you highlighted in the interview. Give them a briefing on the organization, the position, and the interview as whole. This helps your references be prepared no matter what the organization throws at them.

4.  You just weren’t a good fit

You may have walked into the interview believing it was your dream job. However, the interviewer can quickly tell if you’re right for the position based on your professional background. Company culture also plays an important role in the hiring process. It’s hard to face, but you may not be compatible and landing the position would not work well for you in the long term.

Next time: When performing your job search, focus on organizations that match your strengths, knowledge, values, and motivations. Understand why you would be a good match. Investigate how your professional background would aid in the mission a company. When you are aware of why you would work well in an organization, you’ll be able to target your job search and interview better.

Though many candidates are disappointed when they don’t hear back from a company, it’s vital to understand some key reasons behind it. Ample follow-up, your online presence, references, and being the right fit are all reasons why you may have not received a callback. Take these factors into account as you continue along your job search.

What do you think? What are some other reasons why you didn’t receive a callback?

About the Author: Alan Carniol is the Founder of Interview Success Formula, an online training program that helps job seekers deliver powerfulinterview questions and answers that prove why they are the right person for the job. Follow Alan and Interview Success Formula onFacebook,Twitter, andLinkedIn.


  1. v says

    99% of my interviews were setup by recruiting companies. Is it recommended to contact the interviewer directly to follow up on the interview?

  2. JR says

    Or, your resume looked great, you had all the right answers when you talked on the phone, but when you got to the interview they realized you were a little older than they thought. In fact, you looked over 45. Now you are a different person to them. To avoid breaking age discrimination laws they are very nice to you and make you think you have a shot at the position. So even after following all of the advice in this informative article you suddenly discover you “don’t have industry experience”, or they “decided on a more qualified candidate”, or whatever legitimate excuse they are able to provide to avoid hiring you. I’m over 50 and have done everything in this article and many other articles like it and still can’t get hired. Thanks for trying Doonstang!

  3. Mikey says

    One of the biggest problems hiring managers have is not understanding the candidate experience. Many times, budgetary issues come up where they’re incapable of hiring for the position and don’t follow up with job seekers. Many hiring managers don’t understand how important it is for job seekers to at least hear something, even if its a quick note to let them know the position is either no longer available or has been put on hold.

  4. Rico says

    How about the fact that it’s very competitive out there? When you interview for a specific position, you might be one of ten people interviewed. In that case, you have only a 10% chance of getting the job if everyone is equally qualified. Now, having a great interview and following up with a good thank you letter will increase those odds, but it’s certainly no guarantee of landing the job. I like the advice though.

  5. Leon says

    I really enjoyed this article. I recently interviewed for a position and reading this put things in prospective for me. I hope I get a follow up call but, if not at least I understand some of the reasons why not.

  6. John says

    In my experience, there is also the fact that no one at the hiring organization (HR, managers, anyone) owes you (the candidate) anything. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but you have to get used to it. To the author’s point, everything might have seemed to be stellar about the interview, but when the call doesn’t come (or the dreaded “thanks, but no thanks” email arrives weeks later) there is virtually no chance to get any feedback about what happened during the selection/decision making process. That’s a shame, because every candidate needs help in fine tuning their pitch, reevaluating their examples/samples, whatever it takes to be better next time, with the next company.

    I wish every recruiter would recognize this and throw us a bone. But even then, the few replies I’ve received were pretty useless…mostly party-line “the other candidate was a better fit”. Really? No kidding. But why?

  7. Kevin Gibbs says

    I’ve experienced this often and followed all your recommendations and yet still I’m not called back in for another interview or received a job offer. My experience is much of the time the positions have already been filled with an internal candidate or a transfer from another unit. The hiring manager is simply conducting the interview to comply with company HR policy (must post the position and interview x many candidates before offering the position). In today’s day and age HR rules make little sense to the job seeker. I suspect this is the evolution of the HR profession and it’s attempt to justify itself. Either that or the company needs to demonstrate it’s an Equal Opportunity Employer while still hiring whoever they actually want.

    Perhaps there is a way the interviewee can ask or probe the hiring manager about other candidates being reviewed for the position. It would be nice to know this information before getting your hopes up, taking a vacation day, and attending an interview.

  8. Wendy Wipperman says

    While all of these tips are helpful, as a job seeker I am finding that companies are doing a poor job of communicating with candidates. For example, I had an initial phone interview with a firm that I thought went well. Time passed, and I never heard another word from the hiring company, even though I followed up with a thank you note and an email inquiring about the status of the position. Through a personal contact in the hiring firm’s human resources department, I discovered that the firm had extended an offer to another candidate. Several months later, the position in question has been re-posted! When firms do absolutely nothing to communicate with candidates, even those that are interviewed, the hiring managers (or least the human resources department)aren’t demonstrating professionalism or common courtesy. A simple email communicating that the position has been filled is far better than a complete silence. As a job seeker, I am interviewing the company as much as the company is interviewing me.

  9. JS says

    I would tend to agree with most of the reasoning behind no callbacks. As both an HR professional AND someone who has been looking for a new position for the last 10 months, I know firsthand the pitfalls of the great interview with no results for show for it. When I left my previous position, it made headlines (TV, internet, newsprint). While the information was far from accurate, it was out there none the less. Fairly regularly, I’d be called in for interviews and do very well (including promises of callbacks). Then, through LinkedIn, I would notice that company representatives had done searches on me, and that would be the last I would hear from them. In some instances when I followed up with a call, I would get a fairly nasty response. The internet now plays a huge role in how future employers may view you. If something is bad out there, it pays to address it head on rather than hope that it goes unnoticed. At least that way, you get your side of the story out there before someone sees any bad press.
    Other times, even with a “positive” interview, it is fairly obvious to a seasoned job seeker if the fit just isn’t there. I believe in many instances, we fool ourselves into thinking that we have a chance even when that’s not the case.

  10. Aninda Mitra says

    Sometimes the absence of a callback could also result from the company reconsidering the position itself, as hiring freezes set in, or expansion plans are rationalized. At other times the applicant may seem like a good fit but end up overqualified and too expensive relative to the pool of applicants.

  11. SK says

    How about this: I go to an interview. It goes well and even the interviewer says that they find it exciting that I am so much excited about the job and bring new and fresh ideas to the table. Finally, the panel tells me they will make a decision in a couple of weeeks as they have many candidates lined up to interview over next two weeks. Surprisingly I get an email two days later telling that they filled the position with someone else.

    What happened? Any ideas??

  12. says

    It’s a wonderful and also beneficial section of information. My business is content that you distributed this helpful details along with us. You should stay us all up-to-date similar to this. Appreciation for giving.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>