When it comes to making a hiring decision, there are many reasons not to select a particular applicant. The reasons for rejecting an applicant range from poor skill sets related to job requirements to poor fit related to organizational culture -- some reasons are easy to document and crystal clear, while others are ambiguous and difficult to explain other than attributing the deselection to intuition or a gut feeling.


One of the reasons that recruiters use job descriptions to construct the posting for a vacant position is to ensure they accurately state the job's basic requirements and qualifications. In return, they expect to receive applications and resumes from qualified applicants; however, that doesn't always happen. During the interview process, the recruiter or hiring manager who discovers that an applicant doesn't have the requisite skills or qualifications makes the decision to eliminate that applicant from the pool of qualified candidates.


Employment applications typically ask if the applicant can prove eligibility to work for a U.S. employer. Invariably, there is an applicant who answers "yes" to the question about whether he can provide documentation that he is eligible to work for a U.S. employer, but he is ineligible. Before an employee can start working, the employer must have proof of eligibility to complete the Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification -- a Social Security card, birth certificate or a work authorization or visa. If the applicant can't provide documentation, he can't be hired.


Background and reference checks sometimes reveal inconsistencies in applicants' skills, qualifications or credentials. An applicant could make it through the final interview, pass the pre-employment assessment with flying colors and impress everyone she meets during the selection process, including future colleagues. Yet, if the vetting process doesn't yield information that matches what the applicant claims on her employment application or resume, chances are she won't be hired. Recruiters may give applicants an opportunity to explain inconsistencies revealed by background and reference checks; however, barring a reasonable justification, the company won't hire the applicant based on misrepresentation or falsification of qualifications.

Organizational Culture

One of the most difficult reasons to explain why an applicant wasn't hired is describing how the applicant's personality and work style just don't mesh with the organizational culture. Obviously, this is a subjective reason for denying employment. Many an applicant has wowed the hiring manager with the right skills, a persuasive pitch during the interview and the kind of personality the hiring manager thinks will mesh with the organizational culture, yet he doesn't get the job. It's difficult to justify to the unsuccessful candidate how the decision was made to hire one applicant over another. Cultural fit shows the candidate can put to use the skills needed to do the job, according to Nancy Rothbard, business professor at The Wharton School, in an article for CNN Money titled "Is it Better to Hire for Cultural Fit Over Experience?" Rothbard says cultural fit means that there's a parallel between the employer's and the candidate's values. Provided the cultural-fit-based decision isn't discriminatory or prohibited by federal or state employment laws, it's the employer's prerogative to select the applicant who is best suited for the company's culture and work environment.


Other reasons to deny employment to an applicant involve company processes or procedures that render the applicant ineligible. Applicants who fail the pre-employment drug test won't be hired. Also, applicants who don't show up for scheduled interviews or who make poor impressions during their interviews by breaking all the conventional rules concerning interview behavior, such as chewing gum, dressing inappropriately or displaying obnoxious behavior usually won't get a job offer.