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Can I Get Some Feedback?

If you are like most job seekers who haven’t had success, you are trying to figure out what is going wrong.  The process can become extremely frustrating as you may feel like you are doing everything right, but you aren’t getting any traction.  Truth is that even if think you are on the right track, you may be doing things wrong and not even know it.  By obtaining feedback you can make the necessary changes to set yourself up for success.

Feedback and where to start

So what exactly do we mean by feedback?  Feedback is essentially the fined tuned details on how you did during your interview.  This could be anything from where you missed the mark in terms of experience, concerns they may have, or anything else that could play a part in their decision.  Feedback is important because if you can find out what went wrong, you can make adjustments moving forward.  If you learn from every interview experience it will ultimately lead to success.

So where do you start?  Ironically enough feedback starts before you even interview for a position.  Honestly if you aren’t setting yourself up for success, feedback doesn’t carry much weight.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you posses the qualifications for the positions in which you are applying/interviewing for?
  • Have you been prepared for your interviews?
  • Were you presentable?
  • Have you been on time?
  • Have you worn appropriate attire?
  • Have you used good manners with everyone that you interact with?
  • Have you given quality answers to questions?
  • Are you within the salary requirements for that particular role?

If you answered yes to these questions it may be time to dig in and see where you are missing the mark.

Ask the company for feedback

The best place to get the best feedback is from the organization that passed on you.  They will be able to provide specific insight as to why they went with another candidate or if there is anything you need to address.  The only problem is that employers are not required to provide this feedback.  Nine times out of ten an organization will send the auto generated “thank you” email if they decide you aren’t the right fit.  Does this mean that you are unable to get the feedback you need?  Not necessarily.  While it may not always work, you can always reach out to see what information they can provide.

How to ask:

Timing is key when it comes to obtaining the feedback that you want.  Ideally the best time to ask is as soon as you find out that you are rejected for the role.  You will still be fresh in the employer’s mind, so it will increase your chances of getting honest answers.

It is also important to make sure that you reach out to the right individual.  The best feedback will come from the hiring manager, but the recruiter or HR associate may also be able to provide some insight.

In today’s world a simple email will usually do the trick.  Make sure you ask the right questions and keep a light tone.  Don’t come off like you are arguing their decision, instead let them know that you are looking to find ways to get better.

Other ways to get feedback

Even if you send the employer a great message, there is still a chance that you may not receive the feedback you are hoping for or even any at all.  If that happens, don’t worry!  You still have a few other ways to get some insight.

First off, do a self evaluation. Think thorough your interview and make a list of what you thought went well versus not so well.  Be honest with yourself and work on the areas where you are underperforming.

Another option is to phone a friend and see if they are willing to practice and conduct a mock interview with you.  While this may sound silly, they will be able to rate how you answer questions, your body language, and pick up on any other signals that may be a concern.

If you still continue to struggle it may be time to reach out to a professional for some help.  Career coaches can evaluate everything from your resume to your communication style and they can help strengthen your overall interviewing skills.

Dan Metz is the Director of Executive Search and Employee Development at the Resilience Group, LLC, and Co-Founder and Contributing Author for Need a New Gig.  Follow his blog for more great tips like this!