Why You Need to Ask for Feedback When You Didn’t Get the Job


While there are extremely rare exceptions, hiring managers almost never change their mind about a hiring decision once it had been made.

If you screwed up the interview, there is no point in reaching out to apologize, criticize or claim you had an off day. However, you can still get something more out of the situation by asking for constructive feedback.

Hiring personnel are busy people and can be understandably nervous about giving honest feedback to people they don’t know. They don’t want to deal with a potentially angry applicant, so they ignore feedback requests or provide platitudes, as opposed to give out honest feedback. Therefore, it’s important to handle the situation the right way.

Should you even ask?

Before you commit to getting feedback, ask yourself if you truly wanted the job, if you were a good applicant for the position and if you had a solid interview performance. If the answer to all of these is yes, then go for it.

The main point of asking for feedback is to find out if you missed something related to being offered the job. If you didn’t want the job in the first place, were a bad fit or know exactly where the interview went wrong, it may not be worth following up.

How to ask

To make it easy for the hiring manager to respond, make your request over email in a professional, courteous manner. Your interviewer will be far more prone to invest time in a response you if you seem grateful, open to hearing feedback and a potential hire down the road.

Accepting feedback and criticism

The typical hiring manager will be concerned about exposing their organization to blowback if they are too honest. Ask them how you compare to the applicants who moved forward in the hiring process. This allows them to give feedback that doesn’t feel so personal.

Steer clear of being critical or defensive when receiving feedback in this situation, even if you disagree strongly with what you hear. Any reactions you give ought to be made to get more feedback. This doesn’t mean you can’t disagree, but you should do so carefully.

It’s helpful to end the interaction by asking if there was anything you could have a better chance if you were to apply again. Then, thank them for their time and promptly send a thank you email.

Moving forward

If this is an organization or an industry you would prefer to work in, it’s worth playing a long game here. Handle the feedback interaction well by showing interpersonal skills and professionalism, and maybe the company will fast-track your application down the road. Play it cool and cultivate a good connection and your work might bear fruit.

Even if you don’t end up working for the company, word travels quickly in most industries and leaving a good impression could lead to new network connections or even a job recommendation.

At NSC, we connect job seekers to best-fit job opportunities and coach them on the best ways to succeed in their roles. Please contact us today to find out what opportunities we have for your career.


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