Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

9 Reasons You’re Not Getting Called Back for Interviews

nine reasonsIf you’re not getting called back for job interviews, don’t be discouraged. It probably has nothing to do with you.

Many applicants assume the opposite, and why wouldn’t they? They send out application after application, all of which are met with deafening silence. Eventually, they conclude something must be wrong with them, and they give up.

Which is a big mistake, recruiters say.

“The problem is most attorneys get discouraged, dispirited and stop looking,” says Law Crossings. “The constant rejection is too much for them because they take it personally. They do not realize most law firms have a myriad of arbitrary (and often insane) reasons for rejecting people.”

The most obvious reason: you weren’t the right fit. Maybe the firm wants someone from a particular law school or specific background. If so, being rejected says nothing about you or your qualifications. It just means you weren’t what they were looking for.

“You’re good, but someone else more closely met the qualifications,” says jobs blogger Larry Buhl. “In a tight job market employers can usually get exactly the type of candidate they want. A polite ‘thanks, but no thanks’ letter or email would be nice. But don’t expect it these days.”

9 Reasons For No Call-Backs

Here are some other reasons you might not be snagging interviews:

  1. You applied too late. Even if you met the deadline, others may have gotten there first. “Most attorneys don’t particularly enjoy interviewing and would rather just make an offer to someone once the process starts even if someone else might be a better fit,” says Law Crossings.
  2. They think you might not stick around. Firms want to hire employees for the long haul. A resume that suggests you’re a tumbling tumbleweed will wind up in the circular file.
  3. They think you are an entrepreneur. Sure, firms are looking for self-starters. But if you’re seen as someone who’d really rather be blazing your own path, you’ll get passed over in favor of a safer bet.
  4. Your grades don’t cut it. Some firms have strict cutoffs for grades and class standing. Don’t sweat it. There’s nothing you can do about it now, anyway. Some recruiters say if your GPA is unimpressive, leave it off your resume and emphasize your stronger credentials instead.
  5. You are unemployed. That’s why it’s important to get out there and do something - as a volunteer, intern, whatever. Frame your work experience in a positive way, even if you’re not getting paid.
  6. You didn’t follow directions. If the posting says candidates “must” have a qualification that you lack, don’t waste your time or theirs by applying anyway. “[B]e sure you respond exactly the way the company wants,” writes Buhl. “And be aware that if you’re not applying for a specific job but rather sending out dozens or hundreds of form letters, your resume is likely to end up in spam folders.”
  7. The job disappeared. The legal market has never been more volatile. Firms come and go. Positions evaporate overnight.
  8. Your presentation is poor. Review your resume. Is it up to date? Does it state your objectives clearly? Is it tailored to the posting criteria? Ask a friend to proofread it for style and content.
  9. You’re too impatient. Some firms get so many submissions it can take weeks or months to sift through them all. There’s no harm in following up with a call or letter. Ask if the position is still open and if there’s anything else you can provide to improve your chances.

Sending out resumes can seem like shooting arrows into the air. If some go astray, don’t take it personally. Just keep firing – and keep your eye on the target.


About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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