The 3 Most Common Reasons An Employer Will Not Hire You

By Gerald Walsh ©

There are only three possible reasons why an employer will not hire you. 1) You don’t have the right skills and experience. 2) You want too much money. 3) You might not fit with their team.

When an employer states one of these reasons, they are expressing a hiring objection.

If you’ve done any sales training, you know that sales people learn how to anticipate possible customer objections and work to overcome them.

In sales (theoretically), if you overcome the buyer’s objections, they will purchase your product or service.

The same rationale applies to hiring. If you overcome objections related to experience, pay, or fit, you should advance in the hiring process.

Here are ways you might respond:

Objection #1: You don’t have enough experience.

Sometimes employers mistakenly equate years of experience with the ability to do the job. You see this in job postings all the time, which say something like, “Must have at least five years of supervisory experience.”

You don’t magically become qualified at five years’ experience. If you have four (or even three) years of good supervisory experience, you should not hesitate to apply. I am certain they will still consider your application assuming you meet other qualifications.

If an employer raises this objection and you feel it is unfair or inaccurate, you might answer by stating your measureable accomplishments and responsibilities.

Believe me, employers will react more favourably to performance-based accomplishments than actual years of experience.

You might also suggest that the employer contact your references to attest to your skills as a supervisor.

A word of caution: If you do not have the skills to do the job, do not minimize the importance of them by saying: I am a quick learner and I am sure I will be able to pick up those skills quickly. While that statement may be true, it tends to highlight your shortcomings more.

Objection #2: We can’t pay you what you want.

This is an understandable objection. Employers need to be conscious of costs—even if you are well qualified for the job. In most cases, they are not objecting to your experience or skills. They are just saying they cannot afford you.

If you are really interested in the job, you should try to deflect the objection so you can continue in the hiring process. Then (hopefully) you will be able to establish that you are worth more than the original salary range.

If this objection arises, you might try saying something like this:

I am really interested in this job and the opportunity it offers for growth. I do recognize that salary is only one part of the total compensation package and I am willing to look at other areas of compensation, like benefits, vacation, bonuses, and professional development that may offset a lower salary than I had hoped for.

You might also agree to accept a lower rate of pay but negotiate an early-than-normal salary review to get you closer to where you want to be. Being understanding and flexible helps at this stage.

Objection #3: I am not sure you will fit with the team.

This objection might be raised if the interviewer—based on their first impression of you—feels that you will not fit in with current team members.

Let’s say the current team has mostly people with Type A personalities and the impression of you is that you are too laid back.

If the objection is raised, you should first clarify what they mean. Ask: How would you describe the culture of your current team and what is your initial impression of me?

Once you learn the basis of the concern, you are in a better position to handle the objection if it is unfair.

A final note. If it is clear that the employer’s objection is valid, don’t make stuff up to try and overcome the objection. You cannot lie or embellish your experience. It’s better to acknowledge that you lack a particular quality than to fabricate a story.


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Gerald Walsh is an executive recruiter, career coach, public speaker and author. He is the author of “PINNACLE: How to Land the Right Job and Find Fulfillment in Your Career. You can follow Gerry on Twitter @@Gerald_Walsh