Asking why you were unsuccessful after an interview or why you missed out on a job opportunity can be an uncomfortable or daunting experience for some.
Unfortunately, some organisations won’t provide you with any feedback by not returning your calls or emails (which probably says more about them..) or if they do then you may simply receive the standard line of “another candidate had more experience” or “displayed a greater fit”.
On the other hand, if you are able to source some specific feedback then this could end up being a very handy benefit for future interviews / applications.
Some benefits of seeking feedback include:
- Future opportunities within the organization – seeking feedback in a professional manner shows that you are serious about continuous improvement and that you are genuinely interested in the organization. You may have only just missed out on being the preferred candidate so they may come back to you if other opportunities arise or if the original candidate does not work out in their probationary period!
- Improve performance – seeking feedback obviously allows you to improve your performance in future interviews if you are able to get some specific feedback, eg becoming more detailed and less general in answers to behavioural questions.
- Reinforcement of strengths- not all feedback is negative or constructive – you may receive some positive feedback about certain aspects as well!
- Keeping an eye on the competition / market – feedback may highlight how other candidates may have differentiated themselves from you, eg some may have had a particular qualification, licence or clearance which in the end was the deciding factor. This could then lead to you exploring similar options to make this less of an issue moving forwards.
Generally, the best approach to source feedback is by email as this allows the respondent to possibly give better quality feedback when they have time.
Some people also feel a bit uncomfortable in giving feedback in person or on the phone so this option provides them with a bit more leeway.
Another option could also be to connect with the potential feedback provider on LinkedIn and then message them – as well as hopefully getting some feedback you are also able to expand your network which is also beneficial.
When sending a feedback request, then ensure the following:
- Thank them for their time and for considering you
- Express disappointment in the decision but do it graciously and professionally!
- Explain why you are emailing and seeking feedback.
- Keep the email brief and send within 24 hours of rejection (if possible).
An example is as follows:
Dear Ms Smith.
Thank you for the opportunity to be considered for the …… role with “Company X”.
Whilst I am obviously disappointed that I was unsuccessful on this occasion, I also respect your decision and appreciated the opportunity to learn more about “Company X”
I would like to reinforce my strong interest in working for “company X” so please do not hesitate to contact me should any future roles arise that suit my capabilities.
Also, if you have the time, I would greatly appreciate any feedback regarding my interview or application that may assist in the future.
Once again, thanks again for your time and the opportunity to interview for ….role with “Company X”.
Good luck with this process – learning of the fact that you were unsuccessful with an application is never easy however try and turn a negative into a professional development experience for the future!
Principal Consultant, Hender Careers