Why you're not getting interviews and how to change this

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 15 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When going through the job application process, many people record their progress over time, tracking several job applications and their outcome. For some people, the job application process stops suddenly after completing an online assessment or handing in their CV and cover letter. In this case, understanding why you're not getting interviews is key to helping your prospects going forward. In this article, we discuss more about why you're not getting interviews and some steps to take to improve your success rate in the job market.

Why you're not getting interviews

If you're struggling to secure a role, you might be wondering why you're not getting interviews. There's a range of reasons job applicants for this. Some require action on the part of the applicant to improve their chances for future applications, whereas others are simply market forces acting against the applicant. Learn more about some of the reasons you're not getting interviews below:

The field of candidates is large

One of the main issues applicants have when applying for roles is the size of the field of applicants. In industries with lucrative careers such as finance, hundreds of people apply for a single position. This means companies have a significant amount of choice in the people they interview. Whilst this alone doesn't explain why you don't get an interview, it explains why you have a lower chance of getting an interview regarding some job vacancies in comparison to others.

Related: What is frictional unemployment? (Causes and effects)

Being under-qualified

Another potential reason for missing out on a role is lacking the qualifications necessary for the position. Whilst you have an interest in taking a position in a company, your skills and qualifications don't necessarily match up with those of the vacancy. In some cases, applicants without the existing skill set have the potential to take the role and learn on the job. When this isn't the case, companies choose applicants with the right qualifications for the role so they can get started as soon as possible.

Being overqualified

Where it may seem as if having more qualifications necessary for a position is beneficial for your application, over-qualification can itself be a problem for your application. Although having more qualifications is preferable and means you have a better chance of performing well in the role as a result, this introduces a greater level of risk for the company. Employers second guess your motives and think you're applying for a short-term role, and there is a greater risk of other companies poaching their staff. Companies prefer staff with the right qualifications for their own longevity.

Related: Different types and examples of job qualifications

CV issues

Another potential reason for missing out on interviews is having a CV with potential inaccuracies. This includes issues with spelling, punctuation and grammar, and even issues with the accuracy of the content of the CV. When hiring a new member of staff, companies look for applicants who are as reliable as possible. In the event that there are issues with your CV, companies are less likely to interview you and more likely to interview those with all the correct details on their CV. This demonstrates attention to detail, a key aspect of many roles.

Lack of experience

Although you have all the right skills and competencies for the position, some employers filter out applicants for not having enough experience in the field. For example, if you're a recent graduate and have the skills and qualifications necessary for taking on a position in the company without having experience in an active workplace, companies can see you as a less viable hire. This is because having minimal experience means a company spends more time training staff. Applying for entry-level roles minimises this issue.

The employer saw your social media

When an employer hires a new member of staff, they don't just hire the professional history and experience of the staff member. Instead, they hire the entire person, their views, personality and how they behave online. This means companies benefit from looking through your social media accounts. When applying for a position, change the privacy settings on your social media accounts to ensure your own personal views and statements don't harm your employment chances.

Failing keyword analysis

One of the tools companies use to narrow down a wide field of candidates is keyword analysis. This is software that looks through CVs for specific keywords referring to skills and certifications, eliminating CVs without any important keywords and thinning down the field of candidates. In the event that your CV lacks the important keywords from the job description, there's a chance your application falls out of the process without coming in front of a recruitment manager at any point. Including keywords, skills and competencies are key.

Related: 151 CV words to enhance your application (and pass the ATS)

Missing educational requirements

Some companies request specific levels of education from their applicants. This means those applying for the role already have a high level of competence in the position, rather than learning more about the industry and position they work in when on the job. Missing out on some of the specific educational requirements means some companies could eliminate you from the process without an interview. This is especially true in the event that many other applicants have the education the company is looking for.

A gap in your employment history

Workplaces worry about issues that indicate a potential staff member lacks the right work ethic for the position. This is traditionally why companies avoid hiring people with significant gaps in their employment history as some perceive this as implying an aversion to working hard. Whilst this is less of a stigma in the time following the pandemic due to increases in the unemployment rate at the time, having a gap in your employment is still an issue for some employers and can harm your chances of getting an interview.

How to improve your chances of getting an interview

If you've spent months applying for roles and haven't yet been invited to attend an interview, there are several tips to follow to improve your chance of getting an interview. This encompasses every step of the application process. Learn more about the steps involved below:

1. Apply for the right roles

Before doing anything to change your application itself, consider the vacancies you keep applying for. For example, applying for a position in a new industry without having any experience is unlikely to lead to an interview. The same applies to an entry-level job in an industry where you have decades of experience. Applying to the right jobs is the first step towards securing interviews, as you have all the right skills, qualifications and experience to fill the vacancy going forward.

2. Hide your social media

When going through the job search process, ensure you hide your social media accounts. Even if your Facebook and other social media accounts are tame and feature minimal posts in which you state an opinion on controversial matters, every post has the potential to influence a recruiting manager one way or the other. By hiding the majority of your accounts, with the exception of professional services such as LinkedIn, you start to limit the chance of your social media content putting recruitment managers off.

3. Feature keywords

Another key aspect of ensuring you get as many interviews as possible is featuring as many keywords as you can in your application documents. This increases the chance of your application passing through keyword-checking filters, keeping you in the process for longer and improving the chance of securing an interview at the end of the process. Featuring keywords is a small adjustment for your CV and cover letter, making securing positions in companies significantly simpler.

Related: The ultimate guide to CV basics (with example)

4. Discuss your motivations

In the event that several employers see you as an overqualified candidate for the position, discuss your specific motivations for taking on the role. Companies avoid candidates with a lot of qualifications as they believe the candidate is taking the role as only a short-term solution. Discussing your motivations, such as seeking a less stressful career or even simply enjoying the role, means you have a better chance of the employer understanding your reasoning and taking you further in the process.

5. Ask questions

If you don't get an interview, ask the company a follow-up question. By asking why you did not progress in the process, you have further guidance on improving your CV and increasing your chances of getting a job in future applications. Although failure has the potential to affect your morale, use it as a tool and advance your career effectively.

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