I get asked all the time why someone didn’t move forward in the interview process. It’s a tough question to answer, assuming that you showed up on time, presented yourself appropriately and answered most of the questions.
The truth is, interviewing is a bit of a beauty pageant. I know that’s a bit politically incorrect and of course I don’t mean physical beauty. But it is a side by side comparison of you and generally at least one if not five others.
Sure, you can blow it by answering one question wrong.
But more often the selection comes down to subtleties.
Someone was more vibrant (could be the colors they chose to wear, could be their verbal delivery, could be they told better stories, laughed more). A candidate was more contemporary (someone else may be wearing glasses that were in style 20 years ago, carrying a bizarre notebook vs a tablet, told stories that were pre-internet era). The other candidate was more likeable (they laughed, tried to engage everyone in a conversation, didn’t bash their former employers or co-workers).
And yet one hiring team’s “vibrancy” is another’s “too aggressive.”
That’s why I always suggest you just be yourself, as if you are presenting to a client or to the CEO; be yourself but ‘Be On.’