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Asking For Feedback After a Job Rejection

Asking For Feedback After a Job Rejection

You felt like you had a great interview, you met all the criteria in the ideal candidate that they were looking for, and you still came up short. The last thing that might be on your mind is asking for feedback after a job rejection, but it's one of the most important things you can do to ensure that you grow in your career and improve your job search.

It might seem like a good idea to get a clean break and begin pursuing new job opportunities as soon as you get the news that you're no longer being considered for a position that you were really interested in. The problem with this is that it can be super effective to take a moment after you've been rejected and to have a little bit of reflection and seek feedback. Seeking feedback is a crucial step to identifying areas you can improve upon during the candidate selection process, and how you can position yourself for success moving forward. We've taken the time to outline some of the best reasons you should seek feedback, when to ask for feedback, how to ask for feedback after a job rejection, and some of the best examples you can use to craft your feedback request.

Why You Should Ask For Feedback After a Job Rejection

It's never easy asking for feedback after you've been rejected for a job that you were really interested in. You're most likely upset because you've done everything right. You took the time to fill out the application to the best of your ability, tailored your resume and cover letter, did background research and homework on the employer, asked critical questions during the interview, and you still came up short.

Unfortunately, these things happen and there are plenty of reasons as to why a candidate might not get hired for a position. You should always ask for feedback after a job rejection because there's nothing to lose. Asking for feedback after a job rejection is one of the best ways to identify whether or not there was something you could change moving forward to increase your chances of landing a dream job, or if they were looking for something else in the ideal candidate. It's important to remember that interviewing for a job and being considered for a position is always a learning process.

We've outlined some of the top reasons as to why you should ask for feedback after a job rejection:

1. Become a Stronger Candidate

One of the best reasons as to why you should ask for feedback after a job rejection is to become a stronger candidate. As we've mentioned earlier, the job search process and the interviewing process is one where individuals need to constantly evolve and improve their knowledge set. Unfortunately, there isn't just one method that you can use and be successful in every single job that you apply for and interviews that you conduct.

This means that job seekers need to continually learn new techniques, tricks, and ultimately improve upon the process to become stronger candidates each time. If you've been out of the workforce for quite some time, the tricks and skills you might have learned a while ago might no longer apply in the modern job search environment. In fact, the job search environment changes so quickly, that it can hamper you if you're only relying on old feedback or techniques that you've used in the past.

When you ask for feedback after a job rejection, you're receiving advice and feedback that you can then take and apply immediately to the new jobs that you're interviewing for or applying for. Oftentimes when we receive a job rejection, we don't understand why we were rejected when we thought we did everything right. Asking for feedback is a fantastic way to become a stronger candidate for future jobs.

2. Learn Something New About Yourself

The next thing that you gain from asking for feedback after job rejection is that you can learn something new about yourself that you didn't realize initially. For instance, you might have a completely different opinion on your demeanor or communication skills. As an example, you might think that you are an excellent communicator, but someone who has never met you before might find that you seem to cut your thoughts short or leave a lot of ambiguity in your sentences or responses when they're really hoping for a bit more of an elaboration.

Another thing that you might learn about yourself is that you might also be so excited about the job interview and the position that you're interviewing for, that you accidentally cut people off before letting them finish. You might think that you're showcasing your excitement by doing it, but you don't realize how often you do it and the signal it might send to potential employers or co-workers.

If you tend to cut people off before they're finished completing their sentences, it can be incredibly rude and off-putting. This is just one example of something you might learn about yourself when you decide to ask for feedback after a job rejection. Oftentimes, it's the things we're not aware of or don't realize that we do that might contribute to us not getting a job offer in the long run.

You might also learn that you came across as overly-formal when they were looking to have someone come in who could potentially blend into their existing team-dynamics easily, and they were concerned that you might not be able to do that.

It's important to remember that your friends and family will soften their criticism of you when you're seeking interview feedback from them or when you conduct practice sessions with them. Interviewers and employers you ask feedback from will provide more direct criticism to help you along in your career search and also help you learn something new about yourself.

3. Show That You Care

Another reason that job seekers should consider asking for feedback is to showcase that you care and are sincere about looking to improve in the future. We often say to employers that we're always looking to learn new skills and become more valuable employees, but we rarely get the opportunity to demonstrate that passion when we're rejected for a job we were interested in.

When you directly ask for feedback after receiving a job search rejection, you're demonstrating to the employer, hiring managers, and recruiters that you're passionate about becoming the best candidate you can be, and that you care about the feedback that they can provide you.

One of the best ways to demonstrate that you care about the position and the success of the organization that you applied for is to seek feedback and showcase your desire to do whatever it takes to work with them in the future by taking their feedback and using it to become a more well-rounded candidate.

4. Open The Door For The Future

When we receive a job rejection, it might be the last formal communication we receive with the organization. In fact in many scenarios, it's not even an actual person who sends the job rejection. Automated systems in applicant tracking systems can now just send an automated email that says, "We're sorry to inform you that you are no longer being considered for (x) position." When we fail to seek feedback or reply to the individuals who interviewed us for the position, we're significantly decreasing the chances that we'll be considered for potential roles in the future.

Instead, we should be proactive in seeking feedback after a job rejection to increase the chances that the door will be open for future career and job opportunities. One of the things that you want to do is to leave a lasting impression that the company or employer wants you to be one of their employees in the future even if they decide to reject you right now.

As an example, you want the organization and employer to think to themselves, "Well this candidate isn't the perfect fit for this position, but I would love to have them work here." In this way, you're already setting yourself up for success in the future if you ever decide to apply to another position with the organization.

The best way to open up the door for future opportunities is to send a follow-up email where you thank them for the consideration and seek feedback after you've been rejected. It's quick, it's simple, and it'll leave a lasting impression with the employer.

5. Prove That You're Willing To Learn and Grow

We've all seen that job posting that says, "Be open to feedback and willing to learn and grow on the job." But we rarely get a few opportunities to showcase that when we're going through interviews and trying to demonstrate who we are as workers and candidates. Showcasing that you're open to feedback and that you're willing to take their feedback and apply it to become a better candidate is the best way to showcase that you're one of the true candidates who can accept feedback and then use it to grow.

6. Leave No Stone Unturned

As we've mentioned earlier, we can often feel like we could have done something else or perhaps there was something that we could have done that could have potentially increased the chances of landing that job opportunity. When you seek feedback, you can rest assured knowing that you left no stone unturned. It's always worth asking to seek potential feedback to ensure that there wasn't something else you could have done to land a position.

Even if there was something that you could have done to potentially improve your prospects, you can rest assured knowing that you now have that knowledge to apply to future job opportunities and interviews — whereas before you wouldn't have known that information and risked future failure in your job search.

Who To Ask For Feedback After a Job Rejection

Now that you understand the importance of asking for feedback after a job rejection, you might be asking who you should ask for feedback after a job rejection. Asking for feedback from the right person is the first step to making sure that you get the feedback you can actually use. The last thing you want to do is seek feedback from someone in the organization that you were rejected from, who can't provide you with feedback or advice that you can actually use.

If you receive feedback from someone who wasn't involved in the process or interacted with you as part of the interview or candidate selection process, then you can't guarantee that they're actually going to provide you with useful feedback that you can use. Therefore, you have to seek feedback and ask those individuals who were directly involved in the interview process and candidate selection process.

Some of the individuals that you should seek feedback from include the recruiters, hiring managers, employers, human resource professionals, and other related professionals you might have interviewed with. The candidate selection process and interview process can be a tedious one, so you might have had multiple different interactions with different people.

Each person you had an interaction with during the process means that you're presented with an opportunity to learn and implement that feedback into your job search process to make yourself the ideal candidate moving forward in future job opportunities.

Your feedback doesn't have to exclusively come from the human resource professionals who were in the interviews, it can also come from potential team members or co-workers that you might have worked with. For instance, many organizations choose to do a group interview with the individuals you will be directly working with to get their feedback on whether or not they can see themselves actually working with you in the event you were hired.

These individuals might be your potential immediate supervisor, a team member on a project that you'd be working on, and more. They might not be directly involved in the final say of whether or not you're going to be hired for the position, but they can provide critical feedback on what you can do in the future.

Most of the time, these individuals and team members have sat through other interviews with other candidates, and they can compare those interviews to yours. If they noticed that one of the other candidates approached something differently, they can provide that feedback to you and offer you a chance to learn and grow during the process and use that knowledge in your future role.

The potential co-workers you might have had or immediate supervisors might be open to providing more feedback to you than some of the human resource professionals because they'd like to see you potentially work with them, and know what they're looking for in the ideal team members.

Don't waste your time trying to get feedback from those individuals who aren't involved in the process, or the candidate selection process because they won't be able to provide you with any useful feedback, or the feedback they provide you will be so generic and broad that you'll set yourself back further than where you started.

When To Ask For Feedback After a Job Rejection

The best time for when you should ask for feedback after a job rejection is when you initially get rejected from a job. Ideally, this is when the reasons for not hiring you or providing you with a job offer are still at the forefront of their mind and you're able to get real feedback that you can use. Ideally, you want to respond within 24 hours, but there are some situations that might cause that timeline to be a little different.

One of the big reasons the timeline might be different is how they actually let you know that you're no longer being considered for the position. Some organizations will call you to let you know that you're no longer being considered for the position on the phone, others will let you know by an email.

If they decide to let you know by a phone call, then your opportunity to ask them for feedback is on the phone. If they decide to let you know through an email, then it's common courtesy to respond and ask for feedback within 24 hours.

The better time to ask for feedback is through an email because both you and the individual you're seeking feedback from have an opportunity to collect their thoughts and provide authentic feedback that was well thought out. The last thing you want to do is ask for feedback over the phone and then they stammer through a response that doesn't make any sense and doesn't help you out. In fact, you might even catch them off guard with the feedback request that they feel like you're being rude, which is the last thing that you want.

Another thing to consider when trying to figure out when you should ask for feedback is to be considerate of the individual's time. Ideally, you should try to respond or request feedback during business hours. This is the time that most professionals are required to look at their email, and sending them an email on their own personal time might mean that it gets buried over the other emails they have to review.

The next thing you should remember and consider is when you were rejected in the process, because this will tell you a lot about why you were potentially rejected. Depending on the interview process, there are often several rounds of interviews. Each round of interviews means that you're progressively getting narrowed down to the actual candidate that they select. The first round of interviews and phone interviews typically screen for skills and expertise.

If the candidate gets eliminated in this stage, then it's easy to see that it might not be a perfect match in terms of skills. The later stages indicate potential team fits and other soft skills that might be the cause. When you ask for feedback, understanding what type of feedback you might receive will be beneficial to understanding how you might be able to use it.

The best time to ask for feedback after a job rejection is within 24 hours after being rejected, and to do so through email to form a kind and thoughtful feedback request.

How To Ask For Feedback After a Job Rejection

Understanding how to ask for feedback after a job rejection is crucial to increase the chances that you'll receive feedback that you can actually use and implement throughout your career. As we've mentioned earlier, you should seek feedback throughout your career whenever you're rejected from a job, because you should seek continual improvement to become the leading candidate whenever you're looking for a job.

Depending on how you elect to craft your feedback request based on your delivery method of either an email or a phone call, the methods will differ slightly but we've come up with a general guide on how to ask for feedback after a job rejection.

We've outlined some of the best methods for you to ask for feedback after a job rejection to ensure that you receive a feedback response that you can actually use.

Step 1: Plan What You're Going To Say

The most important step you can take when learning how to ask for feedback after a job rejection is to plan what you're going to say. You don't want to wing it or do it on the fly. You want to think about what you're going to say through preparation. This is why we recommend that you follow up and ask for feedback through an email, because you can craft the ideal feedback request over time.

When you're on the phone, even if you've prepared to say what you want to say, emotions can get in the way and you can accidentally fumble through what you were going to say and it comes out like a jumbled mess. You can avoid that by properly planning out what you're going to say and sticking to it. If you have to take notes and read it verbatim as you're on the phone with them, that's completely fine! Just make sure you plan it all out.

Step 2: Thank Them For Following Up

The second step to asking for feedback after a job rejection is to first and foremost thank the individual who responded to you to let you know that you've been rejected for the job that you applied too. Oftentimes, when we're rejected for a job that we were really hoping to hear back from, we never even receive a phone call or an email notifying us that the organization or employer has elected to move on. Instead, we receive nothing and we just hope that we're still being considered.

When an organization takes the time to reach out and inform you that you're no longer being considered, you should thank them for taking the time to inform you about your consideration standing.

Step 3: Explain That You Appreciate Being Considered

The next step in asking for feedback after a job rejection is to explain that you appreciate being considered for the position. Undoubtedly, trying to evaluate and then ultimately select a candidate is a difficult process for all those involved; and it's no easy task! Taking the time to explain that you appreciate being considered is an important step, and can separate you from those other candidates who don't go out of their way to explain the appreciate you have.

Step 4: Ask For The Feedback

Once you've thanked them for taking the time to inform you and let them know that you're thankful for the consideration, the next step is to ask if there is any feedback they might be able to provide you that could assist you with being a better candidate in the future. You can frame this as a request to see if there is any potential experience that you should gain, certifications or licenses you can earn, soft skills to work on, and more.

Step 5: (Optional) Take Notes

If you've elected to ask them for feedback on the phone, then you want to make sure that you're taking notes as they are talking to you. This is to ensure that you won't forget anything that they said, and you can recall it later on when you're trying to evaluate what you need to do improve throughout your career and increase your chances of securing a future job.

Step 6: Thank Them Again In Your Conclusion

Once you've asked them for the feedback, if they're giving it to you over the phone or sending an email, you always want to thank them once again in the closing statement. This is once again to separate yourself from those other candidates who aren't devoting any time to seek a feedback request or thank them for the consideration they've given you. A short and sweet conclusion is the best you can ask for when sending an email or talking to them over the phone.

What Not To Do When Asking For Feedback After a Job Rejection

There are several things that you want to avoid doing when you are asking individuals for feedback after a job rejection. These things below will either automatically upset the individual you're asking feedback for, or will potentially sabotage the true feedback you might get. The last thing you want is to receive canned feedback that you can't use because it ultimately doesn't help you.

1. Avoid Trying to Change Their Mind

Oftentimes when we hear the news that we've been rejected for a job we were really hopeful for, the first thing we think to ourselves is, "Well if I can just talk to them, I can convince them that they need to hire me." Unfortunately, this never works. For whatever reason, they have made their decision to move forward with other candidates. No matter how much you plead or try to talk them out of their decision, they've already gone through a rational decision-making process to come to their conclusion.

Asking for feedback is your ultimate goal when you're trying to communicate with them after being rejected. Your goal should not be to change their mind or convince them that they've made a bad choice. When you try to convince them that they've made a bad decision and they need to change their mind, it sends a signal that you don't value their opinions and decisions and that you think your decisions should be better.

Avoid trying to change their mind and remember that you're just seeking feedback.

2. Avoid Coming Across As Desperate Or Begging

The next thing you want to avoid doing when you're trying to ask for feedback after a job rejection is to avoid coming across as desperate or a begging job seeker who can't find a job elsewhere. Acting desperate and begging them for a job will put a sour taste in their mouth. It's important to remember that you have valuable skills and experience that can be used by them in the future, so the last thing you want to do is leave them with a bad impression when you're seeking feedback from them.

Not to mention, if you come across as desperate or beg them for a job, they might think you won't receive feedback very well, and will provide you with softball feedback that won't actually help you out in the long run.

3. Avoid Being Rude

The next thing that you should remember is that you want to avoid being rude to them when you ask for feedback. As we've outlined earlier, you don't want to send them the wrong message or sound upset with their choice. You should focus on being calm and professional, and should highlight that you're hoping to receive feedback to improve in the future. You don't want to be rude to them or question their decisions.

4. Avoid Arguing With Them

The next thing that you want to avoid doing when asking for feedback after a job rejection is arguing with them about their choice and telling them why they are wrong about the feedback they are giving you. Oftentimes, when we're asking for feedback about why you got rejected for a job you were considering, we might not be completely open to the feedback they provide us with.

The reason for this is that we often have pre-conceived notions of who we are and how we did in the interviews, that we can't possibly think that they're right with the feedback they're providing.

You shouldn't focus on arguing with them based on the feedback they provide you. Everyone has their opinions and they're offering you a chance to view the potential reasons as to why they decided to move forward with someone else. Don't get offended and don't argue with them. Just take their feedback and attempt to use it throughout your career and your job search.

Understand Why They Might Not Give You Feedback

Employers and organizations are under a lot of pressure to be careful with what they say to potential job seekers and candidates. There are a lot of different reasons that employers and organizations have for not giving feedback to candidates that weren't selected, and we're going to cover some of them so you're aware when you might not receive the feedback you were hoping for.

1. Legal Risk

One of the first reasons that employers and organizations might not provide you with feedback when you request it after getting rejected is that there is a significant legal risk involved. Every organization is required to take each candidate and give them a fair opportunity to seek employment or be considered for a position by an organization. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission monitors potential infractions of the Equal Employment Act of 1972, which helps to protect job seekers and employees from being discriminated against.

In today's landscape, people are sue happy and will potentially sue an organization or employer if they feel they've been discriminated against in any way. There is a substantial legal risk that employers and organizations face when their employee contacts a job seeker to inform them of potential reasons as to why they weren't hired. In the event that an employee says something that might be considered discriminatory or illegal, a job seeker has the potential to sue them with substantial evidence.

Therefore, don't be discouraged if you don't receive any feedback from the organization or individuals you interviewed with.

2. Uncomfortable Conversations

The next thing that you need to be aware of when considering why an employer or organization might not respond to our feedback request is that not everyone feels comfortable giving someone else bad news or critical feedback. When you're asking for a feedback request, you're essentially asking the other party to give you critical feedback and give valid reasons as to why they didn't hire you. Not everyone is comfortable with being put on the spot like this, and you should be considerate of what kind of position you're attempting to put them in.

3. Time Restraints

Another potential reason that you might not hear from them is because of the potential time restraints. Unfortunately, employers, hiring managers, recruiters, and HR professionals don't have all the time in the world. They might not have a problem with providing you with real feedback that you can use after being rejected, they just cannot find the time. In today's competitive job marketplace, HR professionals and organizations are increasingly facing a time crunch, and they might plan on getting back to you but never find the time to do so. In the event that this happens, don't get discouraged, and use your own critical reflection skills to identify ways in which you can improve upon your job search and enhance your career moving forward.

Example of a Good Feedback Request After a Job Rejection

To help you out in your pursuit of a positive feedback request, we've put together an example email you can send to request feedback after you've been rejected for a job.

"Dear Mr. / Ms. / Mrs. {Last Name},

Thank you for the opportunity to interview for the {position title} position with {company name}. I greatly appreciate the time to interview and consideration you've given me for the role. I'm always looking for ways to improve for future opportunities and would appreciate any value you might be willing to offer me to improve moving forward.

Again, thank you for your time and I hope to hear back from you.


{Your Name}"

This feedback request is short, sweet, and covers all the points we mentioned earlier when you're trying to craft a good feedback request.

Stay Positive

Now that you've seen why it's important to ask for feedback after a job rejection, the benefits that can be gained from doing so, the proper method on how to seek feedback, who to seek feedback from, things to avoid, and an example of a good feedback request, the next thing you need to do is to stay positive. You're not going to land every single job that you apply or interview for, and you're not going to see feedback from every feedback request you make. Your career is a long marathon of a journey, and you're going to hit bumps in the road along the way.

The ultimate goal is to improve throughout your career and continually improve upon the process using the feedback you receive and the experiences you've had. Staying positive is the best way to continually improve throughout your career and increase your chances of landing those dream jobs you've been seeking.