Artwork by: Antonina Kasyanikova
Getting feedback after a failed interview is a tough thing to do. But it is something that will help you move forward and not make the same mistakes. We’ll give you some advice and guidance on how to ask for feedback after an interview.
Interviewing can be an exhausting process. Thinking about getting feedback afterward is probably the last thing you want to do, especially if the interview did not go well. However, receiving feedback is a very important part of the process because if you don’t get feedback, then you’ll never know how to get better.
If you did well on an interview, then it is likely you will know because you got the job! On the flip side, if you didn’t do so well, then you may or may not hear back. It is always a good idea to get feedback, if possible, even if you didn’t get the job. Your interviewer(s) can give you a different perspective on your interview performance. Knowing what stood out to others (the good and the bad) can be very beneficial to you for future interviews.
In general, when requesting feedback after an interview, you should always be very polite and start out by thanking your interviewer. Explain the reason for your email or letter, and close by asking for specific feedback. You should send your letter within one business day of the notice of rejection.
In this article we’ll discuss the benefits of requesting feedback, how to ask for it, give you some tips, and provide some example emails to help you write your own.
Why ask for feedback after an interview?
How to ask for feedback.
Tips on asking for feedback.
No one wants to hear about how they failed an interview. It’s a humbling experience and can feel very negative. However, you should look at the feedback as constructive and an opportunity to improve yourself. Be positive about the learning experience and welcome their feedback. Receiving feedback directly from the people that interviewed you can provide valuable insights, both for your career and your interviewing skills.
This feedback can help you to:
Compare yourself to other candidates. You may have been asked about what sets you apart from others in the interview. While it’s a standard type of question, you may not have any idea what the other candidates are like. One advantage of after-interview feedback is that the interviewer may give you some insight into other candidates. This can be very helpful in future interviews for similar jobs.
Boost future interview performance. Any insight you can gain from an interviewer will give you ideas on things to improve. It could be hard or soft skills, but the more you know about, the better.
Gain insight into what the employer is looking for. Learning about what the hiring manager or hiring team wanted from a candidate is valuable information. It will aid you in filling the gaps in job descriptions to give you a better idea of where and how to apply for positions in the future.
Expand your network. Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know. Even if they don’t have any jobs for you, they might be able to point you in the right direction.
Most business communication is handled by email. So, it is completely acceptable to send your request via email. Let’s go through the standard things you need to include in your email.
Thank the interviewer. Start off by thanking them for the opportunity, their time, and consideration. Being professional, polite, and courteous is always the best way to go. It sets a positive tone for the message.
Express disappointment. It is okay to state you are disappointed with not getting the job. Be gracious and don’t dwell on it (no whining or defensiveness). One statement about this is all you need. Nothing more.
Explain the reason for your message. A post-rejection follow-up is normal, but asking for feedback is not. Let them know you are seeking more opportunities and want to improve your chances. A clear rationale will make the recipient more likely to give you a substantive answer.
Close by asking for feedback. Mention you’re looking for anything specific that they can tell you about your performance in the interview or the responses. Always keep your tone polite and not pushy.
And thank them again. If you felt that you had good rapport with the interviewer, then you might want to mention a positive moment from your conversation. Make them feel like an expert whose opinion you value, and they’ll be more happy to help.
Getting feedback from a bad interview can be hit-or-miss. Don’t be discouraged if the interviewer does not respond. Below, we’ll give you some things that will help increase the chances of getting that valuable feedback.
Email is the way to go (versus a phone call) because it’s on their schedule, and they can respond when they have time.
Send your note within one day of the rejection. Don’t send it immediately when you get your rejection letter, this can make you look desperate or freaked out. And don’t write your email in a hurry, this can lead to mistakes in your tone or word choice. But don’t wait more than a day because it lowers your chances of getting a response.
Don’t dispute or argue their decision. Be polite. Your objective is only to get feedback. They don’t owe you feedback, so be gracious about it.
Be brief. You already know you didn’t get the job. Keep your message short and to the point. Don’t drag it out. It should be about half a page, at most.
Write carefully and thoughtfully. Proofread. Your email must be professional and polished, and make sure your email is error-free. Consider having someone else check it over for you to make sure you have the right tone.
If you don’t get a response within a week (five business days), then it is okay to follow-up. Email again. Your changes of getting a response are much lower at this point, but give it one more shot. After that, let it go.
Dear Ms. Smith,
It was very nice speaking to you last week about the Web Developer position at McMaster’s corporate headquarters.
I’m disappointed to hear you went with a different candidate, but I wanted to thank you for taking the time to talk to me and giving me the opportunity to interview. I’m still very interested in the company, so I hope you’ll keep my name in mind for any future openings.
To better improve my odds in the future with your company, I was wondering if you had any specific feedback about my interview that you’d be willing to share with me?
Thanks again and all best,
Dear Mr. Thompson,
Thank you for the opportunity to interview for the Security Analyst position. I appreciate your time and informing me of your decision to go with another candidate so quickly.
While I was disappointed I won’t have the chance to work for SuperSecure Company, it was very informative learning more about your commitment to innovation and diversity.
I’m still very interested in working for SuperSecure Company. If any other roles that suit my skill set come up, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
I admire your professionalism and expertise in the security field. If you have the time, I would greatly appreciate it if you could provide feedback on my interview performance and job application? I’m especially interested in where my technical skills and capabilities could be improved.
Thanks again for your time.
Getting feedback allows you to improve your interview performance and address new opportunities.
Send your request for feedback within one business day after an interview.
Keep your message short, to the point, and professional.
Garland is a writer and technology consultant that lives in far west Texas, USA. He is semi-retired from a successful 25-year career in the Information Technology industry, and now spends his time writing for various websites (mostly career development related). Garland holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance, and a master’s degree in Economics and Computer Information Systems.