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How to Request Feedback When You Didn’t Get the Job

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So, you got that email in your inbox. You didn’t get the job—and you really, really wanted it. Finding out why might be the last thing you want right now, but hear us out—now is the perfect time to ask for feedback.

Reading that email probably stings a little bit (or a lot), and mustering up the confidence to ask the hiring manager how you can improve can be tough. But New York City career coach Nicole Orisich explains why it’s 100 percent worth it to ask: “Feedback, no matter how critical, is the greatest gift a hiring manager could give,” she says. “Welcome whatever it is, because having a glimpse through the lens of a hiring manager will show you what she—and possibly the next hiring manager—is looking for.”

[Related: 5 Questions to Ask When You’re Looking for Feedback]

This step-by-step guide from Orisich will help you gain constructive feedback from the hiring manager so that the next time around, the verdict is, “You got the job!”

1. Come from a place of wanting to improve.

Asking what you did wrong or getting defensive sends the conversation in a counter-productive direction. And seeming bitter won’t leave a very good impression on the hiring manager, either. Try these questions instead: “Would you mind giving me your feedback? I’d like to improve in the areas I may have overlooked.” Or, “I am open to feedback and always aiming to improve. I would love to hear any thoughts you could share with me.” You can also say something like: “Would you have any feedback for me as to what would make me a stronger candidate?” or “Were you seeking experience in a particular area that I didn’t have? I’d appreciate any feedback you that may help me for my next interview.” And remember to always thank the hiring manager for her consideration.

[Related: 3 Constructive Ways to Give Your Boss Feedback]

2. Internalize the feedback you’re given.

It’s important to make the connection between the feedback you receive and the adjustments you can make in your job search strategy. If the hiring manager says you didn’t illustrate your ability to do the job as much as she would have liked, for example, then go back to your pitch. Did you have a thorough understanding of the job and did you get your point across? Or perhaps you were nervous and used a lot of filler words when answering questions. What can you do next to calm yourself down before the interview?

[Related: The Power of Giving Positive Feedback]

3. Act on it.

Once you identify how you can improve, start working on a strategy for your next interview and find resources that can help you along the way. For some inspiration on crafting your best answers to interview questions, check out Levo Chief Leadership Officer Tiffany Dufu’s guide on telling your story and acing the interview. For help with delivering your pitch, look at Bill McGowan’s guide on communicating with confidence. And you can always get creative with your job search strategy by trying a goal-oriented planner, such as the Passion Planner or the Get To Work Book. Both take you through exercises that can help you translate the hiring manager’s feedback into an achievable goal and then break it down into baby steps.

Oh, and PS: Don’t beat yourself up.

Even though a hiring manager’s feedback is super valuable, you shouldn’t overanalyze every word or let it crush you. Finding a job is work. Keeping a positive attitude throughout your job search is imperative, so make sure [insert favorite activity] is part of your to-do list.

Photo: Hero Images / Getty Images


#Feedback Job Search Career Advice
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These are great tips, especially the PS! On the flip side, hiring managers need to always be prepared to actually give feedback. A hiring manager should be able to tell a successful candidate what set them apart that they were selected, and on the flip side, those rejected candidates need to know what it was that made them unsuccessful so they can improve in the future. As someone who had a very extensive job search (that essentially lasted a few years), it was infuriating to have super positive feedback throughout my phone and in-person interviews, to be told how great I was and how much they liked my ideas, only to NOT get a job. when I would ask for feedback, TOO often they would again tell me how great I was. If I was really that great, you would have given me a job! I know that many times the candidate pool is all highly qualified and it's a tough choice among great people, but find some feedback that will actually help someone.

And now that I've written a novel here, I've added this topic to the list of career things I'm planning to blog about. :-P


Great post Micheala! For point #1, would this be best executed as a phone call or via email? I guess the concern around email would be the lack of a reply....

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