Roughly three weeks after you completed an interview for your dream job, an email suddenly appears in your inbox: “We regret to inform you that you haven’t been selected for this position.” You try to handle the news the best you can, but you immediately wonder: Why didn’t I get the job? You will need to know how to ask for feedback after this job rejection. You should ask for interview feedback as you have nothing to lose, but you must ask in a professional manner. Hearing what went wrong can pinpoint the areas you need to work on, whether it’s your body language or your ability to think on the spot.
How To Ask For Interview Feedback
Your best bet is to reach out to someone that you spoke to early in the interview process such as a recruiter. Hiring managers are busy and they are not required to provide feedback. A recruiter on the other hand may be more forthcoming when it comes to providing feedback since they are charged with providing a positive recruiting experience for candidates. Start off by sending that person an email soon after the decision has been made. Say that you are appreciative, that you had the chance to interview and that you are sorry that you did not get the job. Go ahead and ask if they could spare a few minutes of their time for a phone call in order to discuss areas where you could improve. The move from email to phone is important since the recruiter will be more candid on the phone. You have to tailor your approach depending on where you are at in your career.
When you’re just starting out for an entry-level job, you are more likely to be pitted against a big pool of candidates. Whether or not the recruiter will be willing to offer you advice really comes down to your likability. If you gave off a good impression, they will be more likely to help as you try to get your career off the ground. You don’t want to ask flat out as to why you did not get the job. Instead, you want to come across as someone looking for guidance and advice. This works because it makes the recruiter feel valued. It is best to ask open-ended questions such as: What could I do to be the top candidate for this type of job? If I would apply for a similar role elsewhere, what would you recommend I focus on developing? In response, you should show nothing but gratitude.
At this stage of your career, with several interviews under your belt, you probably have a good idea of whether or not the interview went well by the time you walk out of the office. If the rejection takes you by surprise, you are going to want to inquire further regarding specific feedback. Ask for positive feedback and it may make the criticisms easier to deliver. Try asking the same question in slightly different ways like: What feedback do you have for me? Are there any interview strategies you’d be able to recommend? Any tips or techniques I should try? Approaching it through a few different lenses can keep the conversation going and that can increase the likelihood that you end up with useful information to work with.
It becomes easier to solicit feedback the further along you are in your career since you can approach it as a one on one conversation rather than like you are asking a huge favor from someone you do not know. If they are hesitant to talk, take a back-channel approach. Ask any references the hiring manager spoke to what they were asked. The questions that they were asked can give you a sense of where they had concerns. For instance, hearing they asked why you held several jobs in a five-year period should clue you in that they were apprehensive about your work history.
What To Do If You’re Met With Silence
Try following up a week or two later if your initial request goes unanswered. Following up three times with no reply? Some companies have a policy against giving feedback for liability reasons in case it turns into a PR issue or an EEOC discrimination claim. No matter if your request for feedback is met with a yes or a no, be gracious. Show you’re professional and authentic.