Interview Feedback: How to Request and Make the Most of It

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If you have an unsuccessful interview for an opportunity that you really wanted, then you can’t help but torture yourself with questions like: Why didn’t they like me? What did I do wrong? Instead of guessing the answers to these questions, you should request interview feedback from the employer so that you can learn from any mistakes you made and move forward with your job search.

Being unsuccessful at interview is a part of the job searching process that almost everyone experiences. The important thing to do is try not to let these setbacks knock your confidence. Instead, you should view them as a useful learning experience by making the most of your interview feedback.

The majority of employers are happy to offer interview feedback if you request it. You have nothing to lose by asking and much to gain. Unsuccessful interviews are not a waste of time if you can get some feedback, so here’s how you should go about requesting it:

Time your interview feedback request right

Timing is important if you want to get valuable feedback from an employer or recruiter. The best time to request interview feedback is straight after they give you the bad news that they won’t be taking your application any further. If this is delivered via email, you should reply promptly (within 24 hours ideally) requesting feedback. Has the decision been delivered over the phone? Then do not hesitate to ask right there and then.

If you leave it too long after receiving the bad news then the employer is much less likely to get back to you, or may not give you as much detail because your interview won’t be as fresh in their mind.

Ask the right questions

Simply asking, “Why didn’t I get the role”, puts the interviewer on the spot and may not get you a detailed or specific response. Think carefully about how you can phrase your questions to get the most valuable feedback. For example, you could ask the interviewer for suggestions on how you can improve. Could they tell you what they think your weaker areas are? Could they provide you with some advice for the future?

Don’t get defensive

When you are making a request for interview feedback, ensure that you are polite. You shouldn’t imply that the employer has made the wrong decision (even if you think they have). It is important to remain polite and professional because you never know when you might come into contact with this person or company in the future. They are also much more likely to provide you with valuable interview feedback if you use the right tone in your response.

Sometimes you may also disagree with the feedback that you are given or you may think that it is unfair. If this is the case, don’t let your emotions get the better of you and start replying with counter arguments. Just take what you are given and move forward with your job search.

Requesting interview feedback will help you improve your performance for next time. You may find a better opportunity that is perfect for you soon after your unsuccessful interview. Then your feedback may well help you secure that job offer!

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3 Comments

  1. I’ve found that asking for feedback in this way usually gets a response from employers. You must just have had a few bad eggs Nazoo!

  2. In reality, feedback isn’t always useful. They tend to ‘fob you off’ e.g. when somebody else had been lined up for the job all along.

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