There are many common interview mistakes I could list, but your interviewer was impressed, so you probably didn’t make those mistakes. So, what happened?
Maybe . . .
An internal candidate got the job.
Your interviewer knew about that candidate, but that person wasn’t “a done deal” yet. So they made sure you were primed to accept, just in case Mr. Internal didn’t come through.
A new candidate wowed them.
You were their top choice for a while, but an even more awesome candidate came along at the last minute.
Their circumstances changed.
They had a hiring freeze or a change in the job description after your interview.
Maybe you didn’t send a thank-you note, or your note was poorly written/proofread. In a close call between two candidates, post-interview correspondence can be the tie-breaker.
Your questions weren’t as good as your answers.
They asked “Do you have any questions for me?” and you had either run out of questions or asked the wrong questions (about the pay, benefits or location–instead of about the work, the goals, the team and the company.
The person you hit it off with wasn’t the decision maker after all.
Early in any interview process, ask who has the final decision on the hire. Next time, research that person and make a point of drawing them out. Ask them questions like “What’s your top priority for this role?” to find out what their “hot button issues” are, and find ways to address those at various points in the interview.
You hit a wrong note with the manager’s assistant, the receptionist or the shuttle driver.
I get it, you had a lot on your mind. Anybody could forget to smile or say thank-you. Next time, remember to be authentically friendly and respectful to everyone you encounter at every step of the process.
A social media turnoff.
Should employers read candidates’ social media posts, and make decisions based on what they see? Maybe that is intrusive. But the fact is, when we go online with our political views—and these days it seems like nearly everything is political—we do so at our own career risk. Other risky shares include posts that imply you hate your work, party too hard or have major personal problems.
A bad reference.
You may have carefully planned and vetted your references, but the recruiter called someone who wasn’t on your list. There’s no law stopping them from doing so. Read my post, 5 Dangerous Myths about Job References for tips on troubleshooting this.
How can you find out why you had that great interview but no offer?
How can you find out why you were rejected? It’s okay to send an email afterwards politely asking for feedback, but don’t be surprised if the response is cautious, vague or nonexistent. Employers are leery of giving this information for fear the candidate will get upset about what they hear and maybe even sue the company.
Another way to find out what’s going on is to do mock interviews with a trusted colleague or interview coach. Learn from your mistakes in a practice situation, so you don’t end up saying “It was a great interview, but no offer came. What happened?”