Why can’t I get an interview?

How to Get an Interview (hint: don't apply online)
getting an interview

Why can’t I get an interview?


“If I knew how to get an interview, I know I could land the job.”


I hear this statement or a variation of it in 90% of job search-related conversations. If you’re personable, outgoing, or have strong interpersonal skills you know the struggle: you know you’re a fit for the job, you know you’d nail the interview(s) and get an offer, but you can’t seem to get an interview!


This is why so many people pay for resume writing services and LinkedIn profile editing. They think the problem is that their resume isn’t getting through the company’s applicant tracking system that screens and filters resumes. Research from CareerBuilder suggests that 75% of people end up in the “black hole,” and will never be seen by the human eye, nor will the submitter ever hear back from a potential employer. Hiring help seems logical when people think the solution is to “optimize your resume” with important key words, a specific file format, or a 1:1 mapping of your skills to the job requirements.


You could play that game and apply like everyone else. Or maybe you can identify with Matt, who had these thoughts before he started working with The Job Sauce, before he landed a six-figure dream job:


As I reflected on my past months of misery, spending over 100 hours researching the numerous articles “how to land your next dream job”, writing cover letters and resumes, and submitting applications into the “black hole,” I thought, there has to be a better way.


As Matt discovered, there IS a better way- a way that doesn’t involve hours of tweaking the formatting of your resume, and that leverages your strengths of connection with people


What if you could almost guarantee yourself an interview without even submitting a resume? What if you could speak with the hiring manager, or their peer, before even starting a formal interview process? What if you could start interviewing for your dream role with a Company VIP backing you the whole way?


That’s all within your reach, and we’ll explain how in a moment, but first let’s consider some of the possible reasons you can’t seem to get an interview.


Reasons You Can’t Seem to Get an Interview (that are under your control)


1. You’re targeting roles for which you’re under-qualified compared to other applicants.


80% of open jobs are not posted online. That means everyone applying for jobs online is competing for the 20% of jobs that are posted.


Here’s what happens: you start applying for “dream jobs” at the beginning of your job search and don’t get interviews. You write it off and start targeting jobs that are a good fit, but you still don’t get interviews. So you start applying for jobs for which you’re overqualified and you start getting interviews. Little did you know, the reason you aren’t getting interviews for roles that are a fit is that your competition is overqualified candidates!


3. Your resume is missing the basics.


When you apply online, your resume needs to be keyword optimized to pass the applicant tracking system then it needs to resonate with the recruiter reading it. Without those basics, even applying to roles for which highly qualified will be an uphill battle.


4. Your LinkedIn falls flat.


LinkedIn is your digital handshake, your chance to make a significant impression. Some people just upload their resume to LinkedIn. While good resume content is valuable for LinkedIn, your profile needs to communicate your brand effectively and a lackluster profile won’t keep you standing out from the crowd.


Reasons You Can’t Seem to Get an Interview (that are out of your control)


1. The job isn’t open anymore.


Some companies have HR policies that require a job be posted for 2 weeks or more before it’s filled, even if they’ve already offered the role to someone else. Just because a job is posted doesn’t mean it’s actually open – they may have already filled it with an internal candidate or a referral.


2. They haven’t gotten to you yet.


Some hiring processes take much longer than anticipated. When companies are hiring for multiple roles, there may be higher priority roles that need to be filled first. It’s possible they just haven’t gotten to you yet.


3. The position has been eliminated.


When a company purchases and posts a job posting on LinkedIn, it stays up for 30 days. Other platforms work similarly. Sometimes a company will post an opening with the intention of hiring, but something changed that eliminated the position: funding fell through, the hiring manager was fired or quit, or maybe the division was reorganized.


How to Get an Interview: Get Referred


If you get referred for a job by a company employee, you’re almost guaranteed to get an interview. And once you DO land an interview, you’re 20x more likely to get an offer if you were referred compared to if you got an interview after applying online.


Why does it work to get referred? Because humans still make hiring decisions, and it’s human nature to trust your tribe (fellow employees, in this case). Hiring has always worked this way and humans will always make the final decision on hiring, no matter how advanced technology gets, so their personal opinions and the influence of their peers dictate who gets hired.


You can tap into this with your secret weapon: the informational interview.


An informational interview is an informal discussion with a company VIP, often the hiring manager or the hiring manager’s peer, about something that person is uniquely suited to teach you. This isn’t some generic conversation about “what’s it like to work at Netflix?” like they’ve had a dozen times. This is a conversation about the future of your shared industry, about their passions, about the details they love to talk about.


And it’s a crucial piece of how to land an interview.


The informational interview is your opportunity to prove you’re the pro they’re looking for because you can hang at their level, and you’re someone they ENJOY speaking with. Wouldn’t it be nice if you two got to talk about this kind of thing every day? Wouldn’t they feel good about being responsible for bringing in that next “rising star” at the company? Wouldn’t they love to be your boss because you’re going to make them look amazing?


It’s extremely rare to not secure a formal interview after being referred by a company VIP. This is the #1 tactic for high performing professionals.




If you’re a proficient interpersonal communicator and you aren’t leveraging informational interviews to land your dream job, you’re missing out on your greatest opportunity. It would be like Steph Curry never shooting three pointers or Jimmy Page never playing the guitar.


If conducting informational interviews is second nature to you, you’re hurting your chances if you aren’t doing them to get referred. This is how to get an interview for your dream job and maximize your chances of landing.

Scott Swedberg

Scott Swedberg

Scott is Founder & CEO. A former LinkedIn employee, recruiter, and hiring manager, he's known for going out of his way to offer strategic support to anyone he meets.

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