Job interviews are unnerving for a variety of reasons. It’s no secret that you’re being judged on appearance, facial expressions, elocution, values and thought processes. Even more worrisome is the secrecy behind the decision making, with rejected candidates forever wondering about their downfall. However, you don’t have to wallow in your misery after a rejection. Be proactive and learn from your mistakes. Some employers can’t or won’t give feedback after an interview, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. If you ask in the right manner, you could gain invaluable insight that can help you in subsequent interviews.
Start out your request by thanking them for the opportunity to interview. Do not be defensive about the rejection. A negative tone will send your request to the trash immediately. Your interviewers likely went through many applications and then several interviews, so you weren’t the only one turned down for the position. Rejection isn’t personal, so be careful not to take an accusatory or passive aggressive tone.
Ask for Help
If you’re a student or recent graduate, mention that you’re new to interviewing and could use the feedback. This method works well because you’re pointing to your own lack of interviewing skills rather than trying to determine where they went wrong, thereby making them more comfortable with giving information. For more experienced job-seekers, you can blame rusty interview skills (it’s probably been a while since you’ve conducted a formal job search). The key is to make them want to help you by putting the focus on your interviewing skills rather than their decision making.
Say Thank You
If interviewers take time to provide feedback, be grateful. It isn’t something they have to do, and it means they put forth extra effort just to help you. Let them know you appreciate their time and the insight provided, even if you don’t agree with their opinions. Whatever you do, don’t argue or attack their points. Consider the feedback, thank them and move on.
Asking for interview feedback not only helps you learn, but demonstrates positive traits that would appeal to potential employers. By politely asking for feedback and showing gratitude, you are improving your position with the employer in question and may have a good chance at future job opportunities at the company.
To learn more about interview skills, read How To Interview Like A Pro: Forty-Three Rules For Getting Your Next Job