Asking for feedback requires the willingness to learn from others, particularly in a professional environment.
In this article, our experts discuss how to ask for feedback after an interview.
Let’s find out:
Table of Contents
- Write a short email upon receiving the rejection letter
- Don’t wait until after the interview to ask for feedback
- Thank them for the opportunity to be considered and how appreciative you are
- Asking for feedback could take a lot of courage, but think of it for the better
- Asking questions is one way on how you can acquire knowledge
- Better to know what to avoid
- Demonstrate your sincere interest in constructive feedback
- Keep your feedback requests simple and genuine
- Be respectful of the interviewer’s time
- Give the interviewer your full attention
- Be gracious
- Give a quick call after receiving the rejection email
- The best way to ask for feedback is to be direct
- Reassure them that the feedback is for future job applications
HarperCollins Leadership Author | Founder & Executive Director,Professionals In Transition
In America, companies have become extremely risk-averse. That translates to a human resource or hiring manager that you have interviewed with being forbidden by company policy from giving you additional feedback.
But, in rare instances (with large corporations that is) and in many cases with small companies, you can call and ask for feedback.
You must respond to a rejection letter within 24 hours. Include the following in the letter:
- Thank them for the opportunity to have interviewed.
- Mention how much you learned.
- Explain directly, that even though you didn’t get the job; you really enjoyed the experience and are looking for both insight and additional feedback from them.
- Suggest several dates/times for a follow-up – whether it is by phone, Zoom, or in-person meeting.
- End with the sentence: “You will hear from me shortly.” This puts the person on “gentle notice,” that you will be calling them. (if they don’t pick up the phone and call you within a week.)
- Follow up once with a voicemail, and a week later an e-mail. If no response, move on.
I did this while I was job hunting. One time, my interview with a major greeting card manufacturer based in Cleveland, (my out-of-town job interview) was a “comedy of errors,” from start to finish.
Actually, I’m surprised that I even had the courage to ask for feedback because of all of the calamities (that were out of my control) that I encountered along the way. Even with the humiliating, disastrous, worst interview/meeting, of my life, ever, the lead person did take my call.
She provided feedback about how frustrating it was for her team to meet with me on a Friday (my request); with all of my travel logistics getting so screwed up, making them wait almost four hours; and not arriving until 5:00 pm. The meeting was scheduled for 1:00 pm. I had that feedback coming…Ouch!
But then she said: “Someone who worked for me on the past applied after you. If you were me, would you go with a complete stranger or someone who has worked for you in the past; worts and all; who would you hire?”
I never had a chance and began to feel much about myself.
Founder and CEO, Better Proposals
I’ve had lots of job interviews before but very few candidates actually reach out to recruiters and asked for feedback. The best way to do it is when you’re absolutely certain that you didn’t get the job – when you get a rejection email. This is the time to send an email asking how your interview went and what you could have done better.
Write a short email upon receiving the rejection letter
Remind the interviewer who you are and what you talked about because they could have had 50 different interviews and the chances of remembering you, in particular, are very slim.
Just send a short email asking how the interview went and if there was something you could have done better. In most cases, you will get an honest answer.
Dear (Recruiter name),
You may remember me as an applicant for (Role X) and I know that I didn’t get the job. I want to thank you for the opportunity, as well as ask you a small favor. Could you tell me how I did at the interview? You may remember me because of (a story you told at the interview or some other detail).
I really want to improve the way I perform at job interviews and your feedback would mean the world to me. Was there anything that I’ve done particularly bad? Could I improve something for the next time? What have I done well?
This will only take a few minutes of your time and it will help me with finding a new job.
Many thanks in advance,
Related: How to Write the Best Thank You Email After Interview
Don’t wait until after the interview to ask for feedback
Due to legal concerns and just general discomfort with sharing the bad news, your odds of getting honest, constructive responses are slim to none.
My recommendation is to get feedback during the interview. I encourage my clients to say something like this towards the end of the interview:
“I’ve enjoyed getting to know you and learn more about the company, and now I’m even more excited about the role. Based on what you know about me, do you have any reservations about me joining the team?”
This catches the hiring manager off guard and elicits a more honest response. Plus it gives you the chance to offer a rebuttal for any hesitations that aren’t warranted.
HR Manager, ResumeLab
Getting rejected after a promising interview might feel nothing but disappointing. That being said, post-interview feedback can provide a unique opportunity to propel your interviewing skills and glean insights into your core strengths and weaknesses.
To ask for feedback after an interview, you can follow a simple, battle-tested formula.
- Thank the hiring manager for their time and make you keep your tone polite
- Explain your motivation for reaching out and ask for advice on how you could revamp your interviewing techniques.
Below is a real-life example of how to ask for feedback after a less-than-stellar interview:
Dear Ms. Smith,
I wanted to reach out to show you my appreciation for giving me the opportunity to interview for the position at XZY. While I’m undoubtedly disappointed that you won’t be moving forward with my candidacy, I’d like to request any feedback you may have based on my interview performance.
I feel strongly that your suggestions will help sharpen my professional skills as well as help me pinpoint areas for improvement.
Thank you again for your time and consideration.
Asking for feedback after an interview is a challenge. Hiring managers tend to frown on providing constructive feedback due to the risk and potential liability. The worst thing that can happen is they’ll say no. I suggest the following guidelines.
If you don’t make it past an initial screen or first interview, ask the recruiter if there is any feedback about why you haven’t been chosen to move forward.
The best time to ask for more substantial feedback is when you’ve made it through several rounds of interviews and still don’t get the job. I would ask the hiring manager for feedback first. The key here when asking is to be humble and receptive.
Thank them for the opportunity to be considered and how appreciative you are
Express how would be incredibly helpful to your development and career if they could provide any constructive feedback as to why you were not selected. Reasons for not being selected can be as straightforward as missing a specific experience, skill, or area of expertise.
For most job rejections, it’s often greyer. It could be a personality or cultural fit concern, meaning that another candidate seemed to be a better style and organizational fit.
That is hard to provide feedback on or to receive, as you need to be yourself and authentic. Keep in mind that most people leave due to cultural and style fit, not because of the role fit.
CMO, Hill and Ponton Law
Asking for feedback after a job interview is quite an unusual thing for an applicant to do because we are all oriented that once the interview is done, we will patiently wait for the result.
But note that asking for feedback is not bad, keep in mind that asking for feedback could give you an insight on how well did you do and to assess things and questions so that you’ll be ready if ever the next opportunity comes. It could also help you improve you to be better.
If you somehow realized that the hiring manager freed her schedule after the interview, including yours, this could be your chance to have a little friendly chat to know how you did.
Asking for feedback could take a lot of courage, but think of it for the better
Usually, some hiring managers are friendly enough to give some extra time to the candidates she has interviewed earlier.
Asking for feedback is not that bad as they will welcome it and happily answer some of your questions. You just need to take a step to be courageous enough for her to entertain you.
Asking questions is one way on how you can acquire knowledge
It could make the hiring manager smile at you for being eager to learn. She could give you some tips on how to answer interview questions such as “employee expectations”, “the work environment” and some of the questions you could be asked in future interviews.
Related: 50+ Good Questions to Ask an Interviewer at the End of an Interview
Better to know what to avoid
It could be not a very good question to ask but it is better than overthinking what did you do wrong if ever there’s any.
Should you have an opportunity to do the interview for the next opportunity, it could be good if you could ask what to avoid so you could do what is right and do better.
Business Development Consultant, My Trading Skills
Demonstrate your sincere interest in constructive feedback
After the introduction in your feedback request letter, you can write:
“I am writing to request any feedback that you might have for me based on my application and interview. Any suggestions or observations that you are willing to share will be instrumental in my professional development, and will help me determine where to put my focus.”
The above statement is genuine, and an HR practitioner will more than likely take the time to craft a genuine response to your request.
Keep your feedback requests simple and genuine
When requesting for feedback, be sure to avoid the letter coming off as a gimmick for you to continue working towards convincing HR that you deserve the job. Such requests do not get feedback.
Bottom Line: Be genuine in your request for feedback after an interview in order to get a response that will be helpful to your future career endeavors.
If you get to the point where you need to request feedback from the interview, it’s likely because you were not selected for the job.
This always stings, and it’s easy to become defensive or assume you just didn’t meet some arbitrary criteria. The truth is that we can all improve, though, and getting feedback will only help you.
Be respectful of the interviewer’s time
Thank them for sitting down with you in the first place, then ask if they’d be willing to give you feedback on where you can improve.
Don’t demand feedback. No one is required to give it to you, and you could potentially burn bridges not just at this employer, but any they speak to in their network.
Give the interviewer your full attention
Listen without considering how you’re going to respond or what you need to do in the future. Just absorb the information they’re giving you and try to understand it. Again, don’t get defensive.
No one in a professional situation is going to just use this as a chance to tear you down. They’re genuinely trying to help you, and taking their advice may mean the difference in landing a future job.
Thank them for their advice, be appropriately gracious, and then think critically about what they’ve told you. Examine your own behavior, analyze it mercilessly, and make a plan to improve by applying what you’ve learned next time.
Give a quick call after receiving the rejection email
You will most likely be ignored if you do ask for feedback after a job rejection unless you do so immediately. Via email, it is easier for the hiring manager to ignore you, but through phone, they are obliged to reply.
So give them a quick call if you were rejected via email, immediately, to just thank them for the opportunity and quickly ask what the issue was.
You should begin the question by telling them that you would like to know for future positions so that they will answer with more honesty in a bid to help you, rather than to save your feelings. Take the information as positive criticism and learn from it, don’t let it get you down.
The best way to ask for feedback is to be direct
You’ve just given your best pitch and if you had any weaknesses in it then asking for feedback will show them up. Not only is this a great chance to fix any mistakes you have made, but you will also learn for the future.
Reassure them that the feedback is for future job applications
If the interview looks hesitant when you ask for feedback, reassure them you genuinely want honest feedback so you can do better in the future. It’s best to be direct, confident but also friendly when asking. A trick I’ve learned is that if you look like you’re expecting an answer, usually you will get an answer.
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- Say thank you. Thanking the employer for their time can maintain a professional relationship and encourage them to contact you with future job openings. ...
- Be courteous. ...
- Explain your request. ...
- Show your gratitude. ...
- Consider the feedback.
Be polite but direct: Thank them for their time in the interview. Explain that you're following up on your interview - remember to be specific about the job, mentioning the job title and interview date. Restate your interest in the position and say you're keen to hear about next steps.How do you ask for feedback after rejection interview examples? ›
Start by sending that person an email soon after the decision has been made. Say you're appreciative that you had the chance to interview and you're sorry you didn't get the job. Then, ask if they could spare 10 minutes for a phone call in the coming days to discuss areas where you could improve.Is it OK to ask for feedback immediately after interview? ›
When should I ask for feedback? Plan to reply to their rejection notice within 24 hours to ask for feedback. The interviewer will be able to give the best feedback when your interview happened recently. A prompt reply also exhibits a professional and proactive attitude.How do you ask for feedback in a positive way? ›
- Be clear that you want honest feedback. Let people know they're doing you a favor by being truthful. ...
- Focus on the future. ...
- Probe more deeply. ...
- Listen without judgment. ...
- Write down what they say.
I'm following up to see if there are any updates regarding <insert job title> from my interview on <insert date>. I'd like to reiterate my interest in the role and excitement for the opportunity. I'd be happy to provide references, at your request. I'm excited to hear the next steps in this interview process.How do you politely ask for a status update? ›
- "Can you please update me?"
- "Would it be possible to receive an update?"
- "Would you kindly give me an update?"
- "Can you please give me a quick update?"
- "Just checking in"
- "I wanted to see how things were going"
If you've received no response after a job interview (and you didn't hear back even after you followed up on your job application), it's safe to assume that you didn't get the position and should keep interviewing with other companies.Should I ask for feedback after rejection? ›
Asking for feedback after a job rejection isn't easy, but it's a great way to learn and improve. Every rejection is just an experience to prepare you for the future.What should I say when waiting to hear back from an interview? ›
If you've waited long enough that you feel compelled to get some feedback, it's okay to call or email the hiring manager and say something along the lines of "I haven't heard from you in a while, so I'm calling to check on whether you have filled the position I interviewed for yet." Then let them take it from there.
In my experience, it takes two to four weeks on average to hear back after your final interview, but there's no standard time. According to a 2019 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the average time from interview to job offer is 23.5 days for recent college graduates.When should I ask about my interview results? ›
Typically, it's best to give interviewers at least five business days to contact you. That means if you interview on a Thursday, you would wait until the following Thursday to reach out. This could mean you are waiting a week or longer before you get a response from the hiring company, provided they do reply.What are the best questions to ask for feedback? ›
- What's one thing that I'm doing well with and should carry on doing? ...
- What's one thing that I could do to be more effectively? ...
- What can I do to help take the company forward? ...
- How can I make your job easier? ...
- When will my next performance review be?
Instead, you can ask, “What can I do to support you?” The answers that you receive to the second question will bear the same fruit as the answers to the first. However, by asking in this way, you'll be able to avoid all the emotional baggage that gets triggered when you suggest having a feedback session.What are the signs that you will be hired after an interview? ›
- The conversation turns casual.
- The interview runs long.
- The interviewer shows positive nonverbal actions.
- They introduce you to other team members.
- They indicate they're impressed.
- They ask about your availability.
- The interviewer discusses perks.
Employers are not legally required to give candidates feedback. But those that do enhance their reputation as an employer who take candidates seriously. It makes people feel their time and effort was valued and makes it likelier they will reapply for roles in the future or recommend the company to others.Should you chase feedback after an interview? ›
It's all right – and even expected – to follow up after the interview, but don't overwhelm your potential employer with multiple messages and phone calls. If you reach out too often, you're going to turn off the hiring manager.What can I say instead of just follow up? ›
“I'm circling back on the below” or “Circling back on this [request/question/assignment]” “I'm checking in on the below” or “Checking in on this [request/question/assignment]” “I need your input on the below by [date/time]"How do you follow up with a recruiter who hasn't responded? ›
Tell them you're excited to hear back and wanted to check if there's an update or a decision yet. Best follow-up email if you already sent a “Thank You” email: “Hi <NAME>, I wanted to follow up to see if there have been any updates regarding the <JOB TITLE> position that I had interviewed for on <DATE>.Is 2 weeks too long to hear back after interview? ›
It may be difficult for the hiring manager to decide on a candidate. If you haven't heard in two weeks, it's possible they haven't reached the final stage. If there were many applicants, it may take longer for the hiring manager to compare candidates and make their final choice.
- The interviewer didn't express any interest. ...
- The interview was short. ...
- The employer cancels the interview. ...
- The recruiter mentions they're still accepting applications. ...
- You're unable to meet the requirements of the position. ...
- The interviewer doesn't sell you on the position.
You'd rather not appear desperate or pushy, but you also don't want your recruiter to forget about you. It's a tough line to walk. But sending an interview follow-up email after two weeks is both customary and essential if you want to stand out from the pack.Can I ask an interviewer why I didn't get the job? ›
You can also politely ask why you didn't get the job. Asking these questions can help you learn what you can improve moving forward. Cognitive bias may make you believe your interview went perfectly while getting feedback can help you see the situation more realistically.How do you ask for feedback after you don't get a job? ›
“Thanks for responding so quickly. I understand I wasn't quite right for the position, but I was hoping you could give me some feedback to help me improve.” “I really appreciate you informing me of the decision. Would you be willing to tell me how I could improve my interviewing skills?”Why you didn't get the job after a great interview? ›
Even if you provide excellent responses to every question in an interview, you may not earn a job offer if the hiring manager doesn't feel that you're a good culture fit for the company. Sometimes your personality or professional values simply don't align with the way the organization functions.How do you gracefully respond to a job rejection? ›
- Say thank you: Hosting a candidate for an interview takes time, effort, and a surprising amount of coordination. ...
- Keep the door open: Reiterate your interest in the company and their work. ...
- Respond promptly: As with all thank you notes, you'll want to send it quickly.
- 1) Don't Insult Them. ...
- 2) Do Accept the Rejection. ...
- 3) Do Be Honest. ...
- 4) Don't Try to Change Their Mind. ...
- 5) Don't Rule Out Friendship. ...
- 6) Do Remember That They Don't Owe You Anything. ...
- 7) Don't Overthink It.
- Ask about next steps.
- Jot down notes from the interview.
- Write thank you notes.
- Check your application status.
- Leave an interview review on Glassdoor.
As a rule of thumb, following up within a week is perfectly acceptable. If you don't hear back after an additional week, you can reach out again. However, if you don't hear anything after a second week, it's better to stay radio silent. Some companies have a long hiring process.How do you tell if you will get the job? ›
- Body language sometimes gives it away.
- You hear "when" and not "if"
- Conversation turns casual.
- You're introduced to other team members.
- They indicate they like what they hear.
- There are verbal indicators.
- They discuss perks.
- They ask about salary expectations.
This can vary from within 24 hours to a few days and sometimes over a week.How do you know if a hiring manager likes you? ›
- The discussion extends beyond what you had anticipated. ...
- They're not at all distracted. ...
- Your interviewer asks you questions about your long-term objectives. ...
- The interviewer speaks specifically about salary and other compensation. ...
- At the end of the interview, the hiring manager offers positive information about the next step.
Sample Phone Feedback Requests
“Thanks for responding so quickly. I understand I wasn't quite right for the position, but I was hoping you could give me some feedback to help me improve.” “I really appreciate you informing me of the decision. Would you be willing to tell me how I could improve my interviewing skills?”
What is the best thing to say? If the reason you initially turned down the role is no longer an issue for you, the best way would be to approach the hiring manager directly. It is always better to call them and speak with them directly; this will show confidence, and give you a better chance of explaining yourself.What should I ask recruiter after rejection? ›
- Thank them for following up to tell you about their decision.
- Explain that you're always trying to improve yourself in your job search and career.
Be honest with your response. And remember, only give feedback to rejected candidates who request it. Thank them for their interest in your organization and encourage them to stay in touch if you feel as though they could potentially improve and land a position within your organization.Should you follow up after job rejection? ›
Responding to a rejection email is one way to show you are still interested. If you don't respond, the employer will never know how you feel about their company or may not think to consider you for future opportunities.Can I ask for a second chance at an interview after getting rejected? ›
How to Ask for a Second Chance. Although not all employers have the time or resources for a "do-over," if you think you flunked an interview, take the time to email the interviewer explaining your circumstances and thanking him or her for the opportunity to interview.Can you ask why you weren't selected for a job? ›
You can also politely ask why you didn't get the job. Asking these questions can help you learn what you can improve moving forward. Cognitive bias may make you believe your interview went perfectly while getting feedback can help you see the situation more realistically.How do HR reject candidates? ›
Avoid sending same-day rejections, as this can raise the concern that your organization spent too little time vetting candidate applications. Save time with a template. Use a standardized rejection email to communicate with candidates whom you're unlikely to consider for future positions.
Feedback does not mean a hiring decision is made. No matter what the overall outcome, feedback is essential! It is a clear sign that a company knows who they are looking for, that the candidates stay engaged or know they are not moving forward and assists recruiters in zooming in on the right person for the team!