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Interviewing for a job is an incredibly personal process – at least for the job seeker. If you’re looking for a new job, you know the frustration when a company doesn’t call you back. It stings like rejection. It can leave you reeling – wondering what’s wrong with you.

First, let me say that I don’t think companies truly understand what this experience is like. If they did, they would take the time to let you know when they’ve moved on to another candidate. They would thank you for the hours you put into their process. They would treat you like a person worthy of respect.

But, given the reality of things, this often doesn’t happen. So, let’s talk about why you may not have been hired. It may be less personal than you realize.

First, think back to how you applied for the job. Did you apply online? If so, it’s possible the hiring manager doesn’t know your name. That’s right. They may not know you have applied. That sounds counter to what companies are telling us when they say, “Apply online and if you’re a fit, we’ll call you.” But, put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager. If you were looking to hire someone, where would you start? Chances are good you’d think of people you know. Then, you’d look to friends to recommend their friends. You wouldn’t pay attention to online applications unless you didn’t have someone in mind.

If you were selected for an interview, and gave it your very best, you may wonder why you didn’t make it through to the end. Often, when a manager decides to hire a new employee, they have a candidate in mind. That person already works for the company and they can easily move into the new spot. They have experience and insider knowledge. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop the hiring manager from interviewing others. And, you can bet that in no interview will the hiring manager ever say to you, “We appreciate you coming. Unfortunately, this interview is for show. We already know who we’re really going to hire.” You have no way to know when this is happening.

One last reason you might have been hired – the job is not available. Of course, it was available at some point, but there are a number of situations where a job will be put on hold or canceled. For example, if the hiring manager is promoted, or leaves the company, the position may be put on hold. Typically, the company will want to backfill the hiring manager’s position first. Rarely will the company reach out to you to tell you the hiring manager has quit or was fired, so it’s doubtful that you’ll know this either.

As you can see, none of the things listed above are really about you. They aren’t about your experience or whether or not the hiring manager liked you. So, take heart. Keep applying, and keep networking. Eventually, you will hit one out of the park.

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

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