Why the Best Candidate Doesn’t Always Get the Job


Job hunting requires a lot of patience, persistence and quaint dedication to research. The professional truth is, in every interview, there are more than 15 candidates to be interviewed for the same position you have been shortlisted for. You will probably meet these candidates in the hall way or the reception calmly seated with  their shoes and suit in consonance with their tie.

With all these, you would expect the best candidate to emerge and secure the prized post after putting in so much time and effort. But reality can be a bit unexpected and disappointing for a job a seeker. This is because  it’s ‘ demoralizing when you have the right qualifications, well experienced, confident in interviews and you’re not getting that well anticipated dream job. But behold the less qualified individual seem to have gotten the job.

The following could be considered as a catalyst to why the best candidate isn’t a fit for the job

1. Salary Negotiations

Just like every day activities, we get to price goods and services to consider which will serve our purpose and at a considerable amount (quality and quantity in relation to employment) before purchase. Bargaining isn’t limited to real time market but extends to the labor market.

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The HR interviewing team when negotiating wants to get a favorable deal or price that wouldn’t outweigh the budget meant for a specific role. On the other hand, the candidate thinks he  could push further so as not to sell himself cheap. Here, we have a situation akin to trying to fit a matured live cow in a drum. The question is would that be possible? If it is, then the best candidate would get the job.

2. Sexism

Sexism is the belief that people of one sex or gender are inherently superior to people of the other sex or gender. The disposition that the male or female gender is superior is sexism. This leads to unequal opportunity arising from the cultural dominance of one gender over the other.

In this part of the world, if not until recently, it was easier for a man to bag a job opportunity in a company offering mechanical engineering services. The ridiculous notion that women can’t fit in or perform optimally was rampant. Infact, in the architecture and a building sector it’s very rare to come across women in this field.

 If a woman is given a level playing field in an interview and she’s undoubtedly impressive with her presentation skills, it still isn’t guaranteed she’s getting her dream job. The HR team might be inclined towards the obvious factor of sexism.

3. Age


Age means growth but this growth could usher in positive challenges or less chances when it comes to job hunting. The notion that age is just a number isn’t a green apple when it comes to job hunting. It will only be a green apple to the interviewing team if it comes with years of proven experience both in practical and technical aspects. Notwithstanding, the hiring team might find an old, well accomplished candidate to be the best fit but feel threatened by his confidence experience and accomplishments in the field. Such well experienced candidates have a penchant for being adamant. They prefer their own way of doing things even when mandated against such acts.

Hence the younger chap who comes close to the best candidate in terms of qualifications and experience (even though it’s limited) checks in for the job.

In the Nigerian banking sector, entry level is pegged at 27. It is believed among recruiters that younger people are more flexible and willing to learn new things unlike people above “30 bench mark. Younger candidates are also more easier to approach and correct when wrong.

In Nigeria, federal agencies pegged  entry level position at the age of 30 except the Nigeria army that pegged their  recruitment age at 28 years for both Direct Service Short Commission and Short Service Commission.

Putting all these factors in consideration, the HR team according to recent emerging recruiting tradition, would consider a younger fit as against an old well established and experienced candidate who is more qualified. After all, the experienced candidate started from somewhere because he was given a chance to prove himself. As such, the young chap would gain his experience too if given a chance

4. Location

This could also be a reason why a candidate proven to be the best might not cling that job offer. It is advisable if you are interviewing in a location you are not a resident of, endeavor to add a local address in your CV that is close to the interviewing company. If you stay far away from the job location, they might want someone living in close proximity due to obvious reasons.

It will be much more convenient for an employee to avoid lateness to work if living in close proximity. Also, in case of an emergency, it will be easier for a staff even when not mobile to attend to issues urgently. Especially if he is in charge of heavy duty machinery or offers technical support.

In view of the above submission, it is pertinent to note that job search comes with varying challenges. Some are within the control of the candidates while others are in total control of the hiring manager.

Being the best candidate doesn’t always factor a job seeker as a total fit for a position.

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About Professional CV Writer

Patrick Okunima is a professional CV writer with over a decade's experience. He's the Founder of CV Wizards (The first Nigerian company to be registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC as a CV, resume and cover letter writing firm). Patrick, through his CV writing services has helped more than 3,000 job seekers secure interviews with high-paying companies, including Banks, Consulting Firms, Multinationals, Telecommunications, and Oil and Gas Companies. Need professional help with your CV? Kindly reach Patrick on 08104502652 or via email at info@patrickokunima.com