You’ve just walked out of the job interview in high spirits. You feel like you did extra well this time. The conversation was smooth, you confidently advertised your strengths and nailed the answers to common interview questions.
Or did you? After giving it a further thought you start remembering the rougher edges — awkward pauses, feeble statements, and several off-hand personal remarks. Suddenly, you are itching to ask for immediate interview feedback.
Is it a good idea to do so? Let’s discuss.
Is Asking for Interview Feedback Acceptable?
Yes, most HRs agree that candidates deserve to hear feedback on the interview performance regardless of whether they would be offered a job or not. But the devil is in the details. Some companies have policies against giving unsuccessful candidates personalized feedback to minimize the grounds for legal actions. Other recruiting teams may be simply overloaded with inquiries and your request may slip through the cracks.
Overall, politely asking for feedback after an interview never hurts. In the worst case, your request will be ignored or you’ll receive a vague “we just decided to move with someone else” note. In a better case – you’ll get constructive feedback and actionable interview tips on how you can do better next time!
How to Ask for Feedback After an Interview?
When asking for interview feedback you should mind two things:
- Timing – don’t rush in with your request. If their employer is still actively interviewing others, they’ll be reluctant to share premature decisions.
- Framing – be self-effacing and formulate a polite request, rather than an instant demand. Likewise, don’t engage in follow-up arguing and persuasion. This won’t do you any good.
Keeping the above pointers in mind, here’s how you should ask for interview feedback.
1. Write a Thank You Email within 24 Hours
One of the first things you should do after an interview is dispatching a short “thank you” email.
Keep it three sentences long and briefly mention how you enjoyed the conversation the other day and look forward to updates on the interview process.
But don’t voice out your request for feedback just yet. Instead, ask when you can expect to hear back from the team (if this wasn’t something the recruiter mentioned earlier).
2. Follow-Up on the Progress
If you haven’t heard from the team by the agreed-upon date (typically within 7-10 days after your interview), schedule your second follow-up email after an interview.
In this email you should:
- Remind who you are and when your last interview was
- Reiterate your interest in the position
- Politely ask for an update on the progress
Typically, a recruiter will get back to you with either a request for more time — if they are still making decisions — or break down the unsuccessful news.
If you got rejected this time, don’t despair. Instead, move on with your next step — requesting detailed interview feedback.
3. Request Interview Feedback
If you’ve got rejected, take a couple of hours to process the information and calm down. Then sit down to write your interview feedback email.
Here’s a sample structure you can use:
Introduction: Thank the recruiter for their time and express disappointment in not receiving the role.
Main body: Formulate your request. You can either ask for the overall feedback or ask the interviewer to address a specific issue.
For example, you could ask them whether:
- Your lack of experience in the industry was a deal-breaker
- The previous gaps in employment left them concerned
- You are missing some important soft or hard skills
As a rule of thumb, it’s not a good idea to ask whether your salary range request was too high (some HRs are not allowed to discuss that). Or if, for example, your age or gender was an issue (this takes the conversation in shacky discriminatory grounds).
Conclusion: Thank them once again for their time and add a quick call-to-action to keep the conversation going.
4. Stay Polite and Keep the Ball Rolling
Whether you receive your interview feedback or not, make sure that you conclude the conversation on a positive note.
If you don’t hear back from HR on your request, it’s okay to follow up once again. You can also add the recruiter on LinkedIn, but don’t stalk them with a feedback request there if they didn’t answer via email.
In the meantime, move on to customizing your resume for the next job offers and perfecting your interview skills!
Unsuccessful Interview Feedback Examples + What They Mean
In some cases, HR may get back to you with rather generalistic feedback, either because they are too busy or because the corporate policies prohibit them from being too explicit.
Our team picked out several common interview feedback examples and “translated” them from HR talk to plain English.
“Unfortunately, The Team Felt You Were Not a Cultural Fit”
The goal of experienced HRs is to reduce employee turnover. One of the many strategies for that is selecting people whose personalities and work styles will fit and/or complement those of other team members.
If you received this type of feedback it can mean two things:
- Or they thought that you might not enjoy their workplace culture (and thus – leave sooner, than later).
In both cases, you shouldn’t take this personally. Some people thrive in fast-paced environments – others don’t. Next time around, try to put a greater emphasis on your soft skills and ability to adapt to different work styles.
“We Felt You Lack Knowledge About Our Industry”
In some cases, this is the polite way of saying “you didn’t do enough company research”.
Every employer wants to see what you already know about their company and how you plan to apply your skillset to help them reach their goals.
So next time around, go on a deeper dive and try to casually drop in some details about the company’s goals, mission, or recent projects.
“We Were Looking for Someone More Technical”
This type of remark may indicate that your digital literacy skills need a quick polish.
Almost every industry has tremendously advanced in terms of digitization over the last several years. And even more, emerging technologies are moving from the labs to mainstream use.
So employers indeed expect candidates to be comfortable with using various software and quickly learn new tools.
The above doesn’t mean you should turn into a coder if your background is in sales or marketing. But learning how to use self-service analytics tools or writing simple automation scripts for Excel can make you a more attractive hire!
All in all, don’t treat interview feedback (or lack of thereof) as a personal jab. Every experience, positive or negative, offers you an opportunity to grow!