How To Ask For Feedback After A Job Rejection

Robin Schwartz

How To Ask For Feedback After A Job Rejection

It is never easy finding out that the job you thought was perfect for you went to someone else. After putting in the time to research the company and taking the time to interview with them, receiving a “thanks but no thanks” can be crushing to the ego. Instead of becoming frustrated by the process or bitter, take the first step to realizing what you lack by asking for feedback.

When Should You Ask?

The longer you were in the interview process, the more likely a company is going to understand who you are as a candidate. They’ve invested time in learning who you are and you’ve invested time in the process. A company isn’t going to be able to provide you much feedback if you’ve been screened out during the initial phone interview.

Asking for feedback should wait until you’ve met face-to-face with the company at least once, if not twice. You want to be sure any feedback you receive is thoughtful and accurate.

You also want to request feedback shortly after finding out you haven’t been selected. The more time that passes, the more likely it is that an interviewer’s memory of you will fade.

Who Should You Ask?

Likely, you’ve been communicating with one person more than others when it comes to the scheduling of interviews. This may be the HR representative or the supervisor of the position. It’s usually best to ask for feedback from this person as they’re clearly the one who is leading the process and securing feedback from others involved.

Limiting your request to one person will also prevent an email from being ignored (that goes to multiple interviewers) assuming someone else will handle it.

How Should You Ask?

Reaching out a company for feedback on your interview skills and qualifications can be as easy as an email. In fact, this is ideally how you should contact your interviewer to avoid making them feel as if they’re being put on the spot over the phone. It’s important to remember that some companies may have policies against providing feedback to those who don’t receive job offers.

Craft a short but polite email requesting feedback and asking for tips on how you can improve or be a more competitive candidate to them in the future. The email might look something like:

Dear Mr./Ms. [Last Name]:

Thank you for the opportunity to interview with [company name] for the [job title] role. I appreciate the time taken to discuss the position and my qualifications.

I’m consistently looking for ways to improve my interviewing skills and qualifications and would value any feedback you might be willing to provide me.

Again, I thank you for your time and consideration.


[Your Name]

Send the email only to your primary contact. If you are interviewing with a panel of people, don’t send a separate email to each person requesting feedback. This will come across as overbearing and you’ll likely hear nothing from any of them.

Why Should I Ask?

If you’ve been turned down for a job you really wanted, asking for feedback on how you can do better might be the furthest thing from you mind. But there are many reasons why taking the time to ask for feedback can benefit you in the next interview.

  • You may get ideas on how to improve your interviewing skills.
  • You may learn something new about yourself.
  • You might get closure.
  • You could create new opportunities.

By failing to ask for feedback, you run the risk of never learning how you could have done better – or if you could have done better. Sometimes you may find that you interviewed great and really impressed the company but an internal candidate was chosen over you. In these situations, there’s really nothing to be done but to tell yourself to keep trying.

We don’t see ourselves in the interview. Often times we may think that an interview went very well only to find out that the interviewers thought we fidgeted a lot or didn’t directly answer the questions. You need to understand what interviewers saw as your strengths and your weaknesses so you can make any adjustments to your delivery.

By requesting feedback on how to improve, you’re also showing a company that you’re a person who is willing and able to take constructive criticism and use it to grow. This is a trait that not everyone possesses. While this particular opportunity might not have worked out, you may have impressed them enough to be considered for another opening in the future.

What If I Hear Nothing?

But what if I don’t get the feedback I’m looking for? If you don’t hear back from the company at all, you may have to chalk it up to a loss. Sometimes companies can’t respond or provide feedback for legal reasons or because they just don’t feel comfortable doing so. Know that you request was likely still received and acknowledged for its diligence in the process.

Other times, the feedback received isn’t very clear as in “there was a more qualified candidate”. Don’t try to pry out of them what made the other candidate more qualified. Thank them for their response and move on. There will be bigger and better opportunities out there.

About The Author

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz has nearly a decade of experience providing HR expertise to employees and management in higher education. Her broad experience includes benefits, compensation, performance management, employee relations, payroll, talent acquisition and management. She received her masters degree from American Military University and maintains a PHR certification.

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