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I'm a good candidate, why didn't they hire me?

by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Nurse Beth,

Is it okay to respectfully ask why I wasn't offered an interview? I normally wouldn't tread there, however I am very interested in working at this particular facility and would like to apply for other positions there if I can do so. It would be my first job out of school, and they are known to hire many new grads from my university. My references are good and I had a 3.7 GPA for my BSN however I did not work in college and so have no work experience for the past 4 years, perhaps this has something to do with it?

The letter they sent me said "while your background is impressive we are unable to offer the position to you." Is this HR speak for something specific? I'm unable to interpret it myself and it has left me feeling pretty confused. Thank you in advance for any feedback you can offer!"

Dear Confused,

It's not HR speak or code, it's a form letter. Your are naturally feeling confused because it's not intended to be clear why they did not choose you.

It's really very disappointing when you have every reason to anticipate you'll land a job, and then don't. The lesson to be learned is that nothing is certain until it's certain- and that in the working world, it's not personal, it's business.

I cannot even list all the possible reasons you were not offered a job. Maybe there is a point system, and grades count for points, but so do community volunteering events or extracurricular activities, or an application essay. Maybe you lost out to the hiring nurse manager's niece or nephew. 

Maybe the day before letters went out, the PCE told her managers to cut hires by one person each, and you were one of the cuts. Maybe they were to told to hire half the new hires from your your university, and half from another local nursing school to build educational partnerships.

You could contact HR and respectfully ask if they could help you by giving any more detail to improve your resume, and if you could apply again in the future. Depending on the person who answers, you may or may not get any more information. But...nothing ventured, nothing gained, I always say.

Stay in contact with your classmates who were hired to this facility, and ask them to let you know if they hear of an opening. If there is an opening, ask them to put in a good word for you.  A good word from an internal employee can go a long way.

Try to be philosophical. Sometimes things happen for a reason, and you don't yet know what other opportunities are going to open up for you.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth


Specializes in LTC.

Beth - your explanations are quite good. Some sounded novel to me even as I've been out of the running for quite some time.

You're right - the letter is just a form letter. Cut & dry. For what ever reason, they've chosen beyond OP.

Good luck to her.