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Perfectly qualified, but rejected anyway

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in Your Office Coach

Question:  “When I was turned down for a job recently, I was told that another applicant was more qualified. I feel that I was perfect for the position and I don’t see how anyone could have better qualifications. Is it acceptable to ask why I was 'not qualified'”?  — Puzzled Applicant

Answer:  In the hiring world, “we found someone more qualified” tends to be the standard rejection line.  Providing specifics can lead to pointless debates and even lawsuits, so most interviewers play it safe.

Keep in mind, however, that required credentials are only one consideration in filling a job. Even if your qualifications were perfect, the other person might have been selected for a completely different reason.

Certain applicants will be a better match for the company culture. Others may have a personality that appeals to the hiring manager. And sometimes the position goes to the CEO’s cousin.  

Although you could ask for more explanation, you’ll probably never learn why this particular job went to someone else. But don’t be discouraged. Terrific applicants are turned down every day, so you must continue to believe in your abilities.

Finally, don’t waste any more time fretting about the job you didn’t get.  For all you know, it might have turned out to be a bad fit for you.

If interviews make you uneasy (which is true for most people), you’ll find some helpful tips at Conquering Your Interview Anxiety.

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