Bugger – it is frustrating, isn’t it, when you thought you’d nailed that job interview and then they call you to tell you that you weren’t the one they hired. What went wrong, what were they thinking? It pays to find out so I have 3 tips how to get feedback after an unsuccessful job Interview.
Why didn’t they pick you as their first choice? How did that happen? ….
Getting feedback when you didn’t get the job is definitely not easy and it also tends to be a bit unpleasant for everyone involved. Is there a way to find out afterward what they thought about you?
There are ways to get info and feedback, but you shouldn’t get your hopes up too high. Always remember that the people who’ve interviewed you are employees or contracted third parties of that organisation. As such they owe a duty of care to their employer. In other words, they have to be very cautious about how much information they release publicly. Why? Well because if they say the wrong thing to the wrong person, they could create a lot of trouble or even a lawsuit and no one cares for that.
So How do you Squeeze ‘The Lemon’ to get Lemon Aid
Clued-in Job Seekers know that if the job is offered to someone else, you might never hear back from the employer. The communication ‘Black Hole’ is a common feature of job seeking even if you made it as far as the job Interview. If you are lucky and engaged with a professional recruiter, you will eventually get a call with some feedback or a polite rejection message: “We appreciate you taking the time to meet with us, however we have decided to go with a candidate who fits our selection criteria more precisely.” Blah blah
That sort of feedback is useless. What a rejected candidate wants is constructive feedback that they can use to help fine-tune their interviewing skills for the next job they apply for, even if that feedback isn’t entirely positive. So, here are my 3 tips:
1. If you want to get the interviewer’s opinion of you, wait until you know for sure that they’ve hired someone else. Then call the interviewer back (and if you’d met with more than one interviewer, choose the person you got along with best). If you didn’t get a phone number then send an email. Ensure to be brief and let them know in your first two sentences that you respect the choice they’ve made in terms of hiring, and that at this point all you’d really like is a little bit of honest input as to how you did in your interview.
There are some good interviewers who will respond to this tactic. So give it a try and if one does happen to return your call, it’s a wonderful chance for you to gain critical insights.
2. Priority 1: Pay attention, be polite and finish on a ‘high note
What do you do if the interviewer returns the call to give you their impression of you? Really just three things!
Firstly, be thankful. Thank them upfront and let them know that you understand this is an exceptional act on their part.
Secondly, listen carefully; don’t interrupt what they have to say about you. Don’t get defensive: remember, the impression you thought you made at the interview may not be the one you actually made, so you might be surprised by what you hear. And if it hurts – suck it up! This is a golden opportunity to learn something about your presentation and interpersonal skills. Hold your breath, remember to smile (even on the phone – people can sense if you don’t) and, once they are done , ask a question or two, such as, “How might I come across more effectively in future interviews?” or “What was the one thing that I did best?”
Thirdly, when you end the call, remind the interviewer that you’d definitely be interested if another suitable position comes up at their organisation, and that you intend to apply again. Make it clear that they’re still your top choice. This will demonstrate that you have courage and that you have the skill and determination to soldier on. It also highlights that you deal with feedback in a professional and mature manner.
If the feedback to your last sentence was positive – try something like a LinkedIn invitation or a short thank you email. You never know- the hiring manager might get back to you sooner than you expect.
3. Use your learnings next time around
Even if the feedback appears a bit hard or overly negative, like “You come across as stiff and overly rehearsed,” or “We just didn’t think that you had what it takes for the position,” use this information to improve your performance with the next employer you interview with.
It is rare to get honest feedback about your interviewing skills from the actual people you’ve met with, so I suggest that you deal with it as a rare opportunity. Make the most of it by doing better in future sessions.
Take a break from the job search for 1 or 2 days – have a laugh, you could be as bad as these guys – and don’t beat yourself up! You did pretty well if you managed to get as far as an interview, but you need to get better, so use your newly gained insight and advice to ensure that you nail it next time.
Message me anytime if you want more tips or links to useful online webinars or professional coaches and when you return to the job hunt, remember to hunt wisely!