You Are Not A Good Fit For The Job

“You’re not a good fit for the job.” If this line is going through your head, it may be because a hiring manager said it to you during a job interview as part of a rejection. Worse, you may have heard it after being hired and before getting a boot out the door just a week later.

Sometimes you’ll hear this during a temporary assignment, and be dismissed in favor of another candidate. Other times, you might be saying it to yourself after accepting an assignment only to realize that perhaps you don’t belong in your new workplace.

Regardless of the circumstances, there are few situations that are more frustrating.

Why is this such a frustrating statement to hear from somebody else? Probably because it’s so vague and open-ended. It can make you feel like you have done something wrong—perhaps very wrong, because nobody wants to tell you what it is. Or you might feel like you are unqualified, and should never have applied in the first place.

That’s not usually what it means, though. Very generally, it has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with the boss who said it. You can translate, “You’re not a good fit” to something like, “I don’t like you. Your personality irritates me.” Or it might even be, “While I liked you, I don’t think your personality fits with the team or the pace of work here.” Or it could be, “Our working personalities clash, even though under other circumstances, we would probably have gotten along.”

Regardless, it basically means you’ve been pushed out the door for arbitrary reasons.

If you find yourself thinking “I’m not a good fit for this job,” odds are it’s for similar reasons. While the job might have appealed to you in a general way, maybe you don’t like the work environment or the people, or maybe its culture is stifling to you.

Either way, the next time you search for a job, the lesson to learn here is that job skills and descriptions of duty are not everything. The culture and tone of a job are important, both to you and to a boss or hiring manager. Search for a workplace where you’ll “fit in” and where you can easily expect to develop rapport with your boss and co-workers, and you will be more likely to last in your new position.

Do some research on the website to learn about the culture of a company before you apply for a job or come in for an interview.

If you were the one who was rejected from a job (rather than rejecting the job yourself) for being a “poor fit,” never lose sight of the fact that ultimately this judgment reflects upon the person who conferred it, and not upon you.

You are a qualified, intelligent, hardworking individual, and you should never forget it no matter what happens. You have a lot to offer the right company, and when you find that company, they will recognize it and you’ll have found your new corporate home. So don’t get down on yourself, and good luck with your job search!

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Join The Discussion - 12 Comments

  1. Cherie says:

    Thank you. I am writing this thru tears. Your last few lines has given me strength.
    There is a lot of people being told this. “Others were a better fit”
    For reasons not related to skill, talent, ethics, or working with others. It has been since 2003 since I have looked for a job. Never have I been told not the right fit. Age, looks, and salary I am hearing from many friends.
    What happened to value? Experience used to mean something.

  2. Sissy says:

    Thank you so much for this article. It has only been two weeks since I was not hired for two seperate postions. I have four degrees and I am extremely qualified for either position. I was just devastated. This was the first time in my entire career that I was told I was not a “good fit”. Heartbroken. The article made me feel so good. “You are a qualified, intelligent, hardworking individual, and you should never forget it no matter what happens.” Thank you!

  3. Melissa says:

    Thank you for this, I was just told an hour ago through an email I wasn’t the right fit. That stings far more than, your under or over qualified.

  4. Karen says:

    Not being the right fit just means exactly that – they can’t see you fitting in with the team. Don’t take it personally – if there is a strong team already in place it’s important that the new person becomes part of it otherwise it’s a waste of time and money on both sides. I’ve done the rejecting and been rejected for that reason. When I’ve been rejected my attitude is, well I obviously wouldn’t have been happy there then. Jut take it on the chin and move on – we are all different personalities and don’t all fit in everywhere. It’s not a reflection of your qualifications or experience.

  5. Kathleen says:

    Thank you very much for writing this article. I was unemployed for 3 months and had just been hired 2 weeks ago by a company I was very excited about. Late yesterday I was told that this job “wasn’t the right job for me” AND my health insurance will expire at the end of the day. Really??

  6. Denise says:

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I am writing this thru tears. In your last few line, it hit me hard because this is exactly what I needed to here today.

    Today was my first day of work. There were 99% guys working there and 3 girls plus me and my manager called me after work. He said that my lead liked me but I was not the right fit.

    Those words actually frustrated me a lot because what I am confused about is that I actually liked the job. It was a pretty easy job and the lead told me that I was doing good for my first day. I didn’t know what to think. Why was I not the right fit but you just answer my worries and question. Thank you so much!

  7. Manager says:

    It is just as awkward for the person who has to tell you that you are not a good fit. Sometimes it is a personality issue and that doesn’t mean you don’t have a great personality, just that perhaps the position requires someone who is helpful and kind and quiet and you are strong and funny and outgoing. It doesn’t mean your attributes are negative, they are just not what is required for the atmosphere the employer is trying to create in their company, for their clients. It’s just as likely some other employer will want someone strong, funny and outgoing and if you’re helpful, kind and quiet you won’t be a good fit. Try not to put a spin on it that makes you feel like you’re somehow less.

    • Judy says:

      This just happened to me and I am mortified. I have never been let go from a job. After much thought I think I see where/who it came from.

      I have been in management and have so much experience and decided that I just want to be a server. I went to a “Private Club ” that I left a decent job for to make more money. My skills and work ethics are and were above the experience required.

      I was let go because they said “I don’t think your happy here and it probably isn’t a good fit.” This is after working a month and actually training new people the day prior. It all came down to I wanted a paystub that they did not like to give me one. Then they decided that they wanted to hire people without experience to learn ‘their way” . I have to say after having been a server, a bartender and restaurant manager, I think I realize what happened. I think the 30 year old dining room manager and the 30 year old server who was a captain who never worked anywhere else felt threatened.

      I could do both of their jobs but I did not want to. I made that clear. I was not let go because of my job performance and I still do not know what “The right fit” means. My days as a restaurant manager I would never say that to anyone. I would be specific because how else would they know how to improve or change ? If, In fact, I would speak to them if there was an issue and give them a chance. The right fit ?????? Seriously ?? Any person who would say this to an employee does not belong in a management position.

      • Cynthia says:

        I agree. When someone says “I have concerns or I believe this may not be a good fit” without giving examples or specifics leaves the recipient with the questions of “What did I do wrong,? What should I be doing or should I have done differently? This is especially disconcerting when the person making this judgment has never met you before having this discussion and has no first-hand knowledge of you or your work. When you ask for examples and are provided with none you have learned absolutely nothing and leave the room frustrated and often spend the night milling in your mind while sleeping, “What happened and what was that about.”

  8. Leslie says:

    I received an email a few days ago from a job that I applied for telling me that I wasn’t fitted for the job & I have all the experience in that field maybe to much

  9. Dale says:

    Great article.

    This has happened to me 3 times in 4 years, despite working as hard as I know how, being loyal, learning everything I can, putting in extra hours, etc.

    At same time it is not true the boss who said it is the loser. They are still fully employed. I have the stress of continued job search, plus now am refused consideration many times because “I move around too much.”

    It is beyond disheartening. Not to mention being pursued for child support I can’t pay, no health insurance, and friends who will no longer talk to me because I haven’t kept a job.

    Plus add being mid-50s.

    Rosy thoughts help none of it.

  10. Shasta says:

    I was on a temp job that was to last three weeks. I worked with a manager that I liked. As far as I know things went well the first week. It was not as busy as I would have liked. I told the manager I reported to that I don’t drink coffee and if I was expected to make coffee he would need to show me how to make it. He brushed it off and said he didn’t drink much coffee and not to worry about it.

    The next week the big boss returned to the office. He was very abrupt and would “command” me, like “letter” and I get it for him. The manager told me that the big boss didn’t like the way I made coffee–it was too weak. I was putting in only a scoop instead of a scoop and a half. That night I got a call from the temp service saying the job was finished that they wanted to find someone who was a better fit.

    I was 49 so they probably wanted someone younger. They said they wanted someone faster but there wasn’t much work to do. I got the work done and then straightened the office and tried to find things to do that were useful.

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