How to Ask for Feedback After You Didn’t Get the Job

It can be extremely frustrating to apply for job after job or internship after internship and never land the position. When you’re stuck in a process that’s often a bit complex and hard to understand at times, feedback becomes even more important, especially if you’re somehow deemed unfit for whatever it is you applied for. It’s not all bad though! Try any of the following to learn how you can turn your next rejection into an awesome opportunity to get valuable feedback on super important things like interview skills, job skills, your resume, and more. 

Ask for feedback soon after you interview.

If you want to know how your interview went, be sure to let whomever it is you just spoke with know you’re interested in hearing how the interview went from their perspective, and value any input they can give you on your interview skills and job readiness. Most career experts agree that it’s a bit inappropriate to directly ask someone what went well and what needs improving right after you’ve interviewed, most also agree that asking for feedback fairly soon (usually within 24 hours) after you’ve received a final decision is fine, as long as you go about it politiely.

Be clear about what you’re looking for in terms of feedback.

It helps to include specific information in your initial request about what sorts of feedback you’re looking for to help guide whomever it is that’s providing the feedback, and to make sure you receive information that’s helpful and productive. By asking specific questions like “Did I seem prepared for the interview?” or “Were there major gaps in my resume?” you will get better answers than by asking more general questions like “What can I improve on?” or “What went well/what needs work?”

“I always ask for feedback specifically about my resume,” said Taylor Ocampo, a sophomore at the University of Minnesota. Asking about something specific can help you get a quicker, narrower response that gives you something concrete to work on improving.

Be polite and to the point in your first contact.

How you make the first contact is up to you. “You could try to do it initially via email – but you’ll probably have better luck if you can talk to the person,” says Andrew Ditlevson, Associate Director of Career Services at St. Cloud State University. Preferred method of contact varies from position to position though. Before leaving the initial interview, ask whomever it is you spoke with how they prefer to be contacted with any further questions or requests for things like feedback. Most employers will be happy to provide you with either a phone number or email address they can be reached at for such purposes. In addition to specific questions or points you’d like feedback to focus on, Ditlevson suggests including these four things in your initial email or phone conversation asking for feedback:

  • Thank the employer again for the chance to have interviewed with them.
  • Let them know that you would love to be considered for any future opportunities (this might open the door up again).
  • Tell them you have an interview coming up with another employer and ask them if they would be willing to give you some advice to help you prepare for that interview.
  • Thank them again at the end of your conversation

It also never hurts to ask (nicely!) for an estimate of how much time it will take whomever you’re working with to get feedback to you. In some cases, they might give it to you right away after your initial request, especially if you’re talking to someone on the phone. Having a good idea of how long you can expect to wait for some performance feedback will help you decide how and when you should reiterate your request if it becomes necessary.

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