No matter how much we practice and prepare for the interview, you won’t always get the job offer. Unfortunately, most times companies let you know by a blanket “It just wasn’t the right fit” to let you know that you didn’t get the job.
Maybe it wasn’t the right fit however after 1 or 2 of those same responses we have to determine what we need to do better to actually get a job. Problem is, most companies don’t give you feedback.
Why companies don’t want to tell you how to improve
The reason most people/hiring managers don't get honest feedback is because they're afraid the recipient will get 1. defensive and/or 2. litigious.
Think about it: How do you think someone who desperately needs a job will react when they are told “We don’t think you really told us about your work experience in a concise manner?” They’re probably going to get defensive and then what was supposed to be a 10-15 min phone call is now an “incident”.
Here is another example: If you tell someone that’s older that they have “too much experience” it wouldn’t be hard for some lawyer to argue that they’re discriminating based on age.
Also, if you’ve ever been on the other side of the hiring table, you know that some truly terrible and disgusting people apply for jobs. It would be easier and faster to tell them “It wasn’t the right fit” than spending 15 mins explaining why the VP of Tax who happens to be a female and your future boss, doesn’t like it when a candidate looks her up and down and then decides to act dismissive towards her during the interview (true story from different women and companies).
So instead of dealing with all this, companies just avoid it by not giving feedback.
Most people want to know why THEY didn’t get the job. In reality, they should be asking how THEY can improve.
The right way to ask for feedback
In order to avoid this, I created the email template below that shows that you are disappointed in their decision however, you respect their choice and want to know how you can improve yourself going forward. Send it straight to the people who you met with and we'll see what they have to say.
I have used personally as well as with my clients to get feedback after an interview didn't go as expected. You can copy and paste and just make updates for the names specific to your situation.
I've used this exact email several years ago and I still think this last interaction with them made such a
good impression that they called me back to offer me a the same position
literally 30 days later.
Also, no matter what they respond, take a moment to do a self-assessment and see if the feedback is something that you do need to work on. Sometimes it’s useful information and sometimes it’s not.
For example, one time the feedback was that I didn’t have a specific type of tax experience which was a lie because we had talked about it during the interview and it was plastered all over the resume. The company had obviously made a mistake. Did I email them back and tell them so? No. I kept my word and replied with a simple "Thank you for the feedback. I'll take this into account as I prepare for my other interviews."
That’s the same company that called me back to offer me the same job I “didn’t have experience for” 30 days later.
I turned them down.
Have you ever received feedback? Was it something you were aware of or was it something you’ve never thought you did during an interview?
Thank you once again for taking the time to meet with me yesterday. It looks like I was passed up for the NAME OF ROLE at NAME OF COMPANY, which is unfortunate but there is always a way to make a situation into a learning experience.
As such, I would please ask that you provide me with any feedback you may have regarding
our meeting and how I can improve in order to make a better impact either with NAME OF COMPANY or any other company I interview with in the future. I look forward to hearing from you.
When they respond, reply with this:
Thank you for the feedback. I'll take this into account as I prepare for my other interviews
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