When you’re in the midst of the job search process, rejection after an interview can feel crushing. While you may want to do nothing more than give the hiring manager a piece of your mind, refrain and realize that this kind of rejection can actually be useful. If you’re able to get some feedback from the person who passed on you, you might be able to adjust your strategy in order to enjoy success during your next interview.
When to ask for feedback
Not every situation lends itself to feedback about why you didn’t receive an offer. For example, if you only participate in a phone interview, it’s likely that the hiring manager only spent a brief period of time with you. They may have felt that your experience level or skill set was not in line with what they needed, and they may not know much else about you. Therefore, if you ask for feedback, you may get a basic and unhelpful answer. In this case, it’s best to just thank them for the opportunity and move on.
However, if you’ve made it to the second or third round of interviews and are then passed over, this is an ideal time to figure out what went wrong. If you made it this far, it means that your skills and experience were in line with what that company was looking for. This means it’s time to figure out what you could have done differently in order to land the job. You may find out that you didn’t know an important computer program, talked too much, or lacked enthusiasm during the interview. When you know this, you can change your approach the next time around.
Who can give you the best feedback?
The best person to talk with would be the person conducting the interview. If you worked with a recruiter, they might also be able to provide some insight. Understand, though, that hiring managers won’t always be willing to give you feedback, as there are potential legal risks in doing so. However, it is always worth it to try, as some people are more than happy to offer thoughts on what you can and should do differently the next time. Your dedication to improving may even land you on the short list next time a position becomes available.
How to ask in an appropriate way
In order to ask for feedback without putting the hiring manager in an uncomfortable position, let them know that you would love feedback if possible. Say, “If you have any feedback for me, I’d greatly appreciate so I can become a stronger candidate in the future.” This is a nonthreatening way of asking, and is far more effective than saying, “Why didn’t you offer me the job? What did I do wrong?”
Remember that hearing feedback is never easy, no matter how much you are willing to learn from it. Should the hiring manager choose to oblige your request and offer their thoughts, you must then accept these comments in a graceful and respectful way.
How has feedback after rejection helped you improve your candidacy during a job search?