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Why don't you want me? Getting interview feedback

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You’ve nailed the interview, or so you thought.  But instead of receiving a job offer, the only thing you’ve received is the dreaded phone call to let you know that your dream job has been offered to someone else!  Or worse, perhaps you haven’t heard anything at all. 

There is no denying that being rejected for a position is disappointing.  Particularly when you really want the job, admire the company and you’ve already begun to imagine what life might be like with your feet under the desk. Your confidence may have taken a knock, so when the inevitable post interview analysis begins, it’s only natural that self-doubt can creep in.  You may be left wondering why they didn’t want you, where you went wrong, and questioning whether you will ever get a job that you want?  


Seeking feedback from your interviewers can be an invaluable learning process which can help you improve your chances of getting the next job you interview for. Asking for feedback isn’t always easy however.   So how should you approach it? Here are our top tips.

 

Be timely with your request

Strike while the iron is hot.  If you’ve received a call to let you know you’ve been unsuccessful, ask for some honest feedback then and there.  A recruiter will more than likely be expecting it and should be prepared to answer your questions on why you haven’t been successful.

If you’ve been advised by email (hopefully this isn’t the case) then make sure you follow up quickly, within 24 hours at least, to ask for feedback.

Just so you know, any feedback you get will likely be related directly to your interview performance, your experience and skills or your overall preparedness on the day. 

Be open to listening

As a recruiter I will admit that delivering the bad news is, without a doubt, the least favourite part of the job.  It gets easier over time but let’s face it being the bearer of bad news is an unpleasant task, particularly when you know that the candidate is super excited about the opportunity.  

But here’s the other thing. Often the reason that delivering feedback is so unpleasant is because of the defensive and argumentative reaction it can provoke from some candidates.  This is quite likely why some recruiters don’t give you feedback at all, or why they completely sugar-coat it so as to avoid an uncomfortable conversation.

Don’t be alarmed though, most recruiters consider it good manners to offer constructive feedback to candidates who have interviewed for a position.  They want you to learn from the experience so that you can get it right next time.  And the more experienced your recruiter is, the more comfortable they are likely to be having that uncomfortable conversation.

Avoid being defensive and be open to listening, while also remaining professional and polite.  The recruitment world is a small one, and being rude and argumentative will not get you anywhere.  You may not like what you are being told but you need to accept the decision, it’s been made and isn’t likely to change.  Learn from it and move on.

Don’t take it personally

Just so you know, making the call between the final two or three candidates is often a tricky thing with each candidate bringing their own unique strengths to the table.  But, in most cases, there can be only one job offer and so for the employer/recruiter it’s about finding that one person who will deliver the most value.  Sometimes making that final decision really is splitting hairs and the other candidate only marginally sneaks ahead to get the offer.  In situations like that, where you have interviewed well, there is probably little you can do to improve.  Remember you don’t know who else has applied, so even though you feel you are perfect for the role there might just be another candidate who has that little bit extra.

Mock interviews


If you’ve been doing a great job with getting the interviews but still no job offer, then it may be time to consider calling in the career professionals.  A career coach will support you with constructive feedback and guidance by conducting a mock interview with you to help figure out where you’re going wrong and where you can improve.  This is how you will learn about your body language, if you talk too much, not enough or if you’re simply not giving enough detail in your answers. 

Don’t let rejection impact your confidence and hold you back from applying for new roles.  It’s all part of the job seeking process.  Learn from it and keep moving forward.   Anything that can support you with improving your interview performance is worth considering.

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