How to ask for feedback after job rejection

Why didn’t I get this job?”,  — is usually the first thought that comes to mind after getting to know you’ve been rejected. Learning why a company hasn’t offered the desired position to you is not pure curiosity. In fact, it is the key to becoming a stronger candidate and getting a dream job in the future. But how to ask for feedback after job rejection and really get it? It can be tricky, as companies are not always eager to spend time and effort on the candidate they decided not to work with.

From this article, you will learn how to ask and get feedback, when it’s the right time to do it, things to avoid, and how to use feedback after you received it. A feedback request template comes as a bonus.

Why ask for feedback

The reasons for rejection can be different and understanding the real ones can help you realize if there is something you lack and need to change. With comprehensive feedback, you can learn what you need to do better and course-correct for the next interview.

Besides, it can be not about you at all. There could be an internal candidate who accepted the position last minute or company plans have unexpectedly changed and they are no longer hiring. Knowing this will help you get rid of frustration and keep a positive attitude when job searching.

And finally, asking for feedback can help you leave the door open. You can let the employer know that you are still interested in other positions in the company and ask to get in touch with you if there is a job for your experience and skills.

When to ask for feedback

When to ask for feedback

The news that the job is not yours can come at different stages. It can happen right after you’ve sent the CV, after phone screening, or a face-to-face interview. Asking for feedback is a good idea only if the employer had a chance to get to know and remember you. Most likely you won’t get any valuable information if you only had a quick phone chat with the recruiter.

In case you got rejected after an in-person meeting, you have all the chances to get candid feedback on what to improve and how to succeed next time. The best time to ask why you didn’t fit the job is right after you were informed of it. If you learned about the rejection on the phone call, don’t hesitate to ask whether there’s anything they feel you should work on for going forward. In case you received an email, reply to it the same day. So that the recruiter could remember the details and reasons for rejection.

Alternatively, you can connect with the hiring manager on LinkedIn and send a message reminding who you are and asking to give you feedback on the recent interview. 

E.g. “Thank you for the interview and the chance to learn more about your company. It would help me a lot if you let me know what I could have done better. I would also appreciate having you as a professional connection no matter where I end up.”

Besides, you can ask for feedback right after you had a job interview and don’t know yet what the result will be. It requires some courage but can make you stand out of the crowd of other candidates. Before saying goodbye, or when they ask if you have questions, try something like:

“Is there anything that I did, say or didn’t say that makes you not 100% sure I fit the job?”.

How to ask for feedback

To increase the chances of getting the feedback, when asking, stick to the structure below:

  • Thank the recruiter for their consideration. Mention the people you were happy to meet and say you were grateful to learn more about with their company.
  • Say that you are sorry not to get the job, but do it graciously. Try not to sound too emotional, not to produce the impression you are trying to make them feel guilty.
  • Show you are still interested in getting the position in their company. Express that you are open and wish to receive an update in case this position re-opens in the future or if there are other vacancies you may fit for.
  • Ask why you weren’t selected for the position. Ask not about what you did wrong. Try to find out what you can improve and what the next steps can be for getting the job you want.
  • Thank again for their time, expertise and advice.

What not to do when asking for feedback

What not to do when asking for feedback

No matter whether you are writing an email or talking on the phone, there are certain things that can produce a negative impression when asking for feedback:

  • Do not try to make the recruiter change their mind. Questioning their decision-making won’t work.
  • Do not argue or try to explain. Again you are here to learn and course-correct for your new challenges.
  • Do not sound too desperate or frustrated. Nobody wants to feel bad after rejecting candidates. This will most likely close the door for you even when they have more suitable positions.

Feedback request template

Here is a ready-to-go template you can use to ask for feedback. You can send it as it is, but we recommend making it more personal. E.g. try adding the details about the company you got to know during the interview, so it does not sound like a generic reply and looks more natural:

Dear Mr/Ms [hiring manager last name],

Thank you for the update about the interview for [name of the position] position. Though I feel disappointed that my skills and experience are not what you are looking for, I am grateful for the chance to get acquainted with you and your company life.

I was impressed by your professionalism and expertise. I would appreciate if you could share your thoughts on what skills and personal qualities I could improve to become a successful candidate for a similar position.

If there is a position in your company that would be a better fit for my qualifications, please keep me in mind as I would be interested in applying.

Thanks again for your time and attention paid.

Best regards,

[your name]

What to do after you got feedback

Sending a Thank you note to the employer after getting feedback is always a good idea. But most important here is to read, process and use the information provided for improving your interview skills. This will boost your chances to get a job offer in your next interview.

Keep a positive attitude, bearing in mind that rejections happen to everyone and they only make you stronger and more resilient. If you got rejected it only means that your time hasn’t come yet and you are to find a better job in the future. 

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