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Asking for Feedback After a Job Rejection

Finding out you didn’t get a job you were hoping for is always disappointing and comes with some questions about the job rejection. Is it still possible to get hired after being rejected? Is it okay to ask for feedback after rejection? 

In today’s highly uncertain job market, you’ll need all the information you can get on your performance and what you can do to improve your chances of landing that dream job. Knowing when and how to request interview feedback is key.

a graphic explaining when to ask for feedback after a job rejection

When to Ask for Feedback After a Job Rejection

Ideally, recruiters and hiring managers would always share feedback with a candidate within three to four business days, but not everyone has time to do this. You can expedite this process and help ensure you actually get feedback by being proactive. Here are some of the ways you can request feedback:

By Phone

When you receive a rejection via a phone call, it’s best to request feedback during the call itself, while you still have the recruiter on the line. In the case of a voicemail rejection, ask for feedback within a day of receiving the voicemail.

By Email 

Don’t wait longer than a day to ask for feedback through email. Waiting longer makes it more likely that they’ll forget the impression you made and will make their feedback less detailed. 

In Person

It is highly uncommon to be in a position where it’s even possible to ask for feedback in person, and it should generally be avoided when possible. It can create the feeling of being put on the spot, and not many people enjoy that. Unless you already know the person, this approach can easily backfire.

How to Ask for Feedback After a Job Rejection

The way in which you ask for feedback matters. How do you politely ask for interview results? You’re asking the recruiter or manager to take time out of their busy schedule to do something that may not necessarily benefit them in the end, so be polite and accommodating as you make your request. 

Asking for Feedback Over the Phone

Here’s a quick and effective checklist of what to do to get feedback when you receive a rejection by phone:

  • Call during the regular hours of operation and talk directly to the individual rather than leaving a voicemail.
  • Start by thanking them for following up with you.
  • Explain that you are working to be more effective in your job hunt technique and marketability. 
  • Ask them to pinpoint specific moments or experiences that dampened their enthusiasm for you as a candidate.
  • Ask how you can remedy that situation in future interviews.
  • Give them time to thoroughly respond between questions, so you don’t overwhelm them. 
  • Listen carefully to what the interviewer or recruiter says and be prepared to take notes while on the call.
  • Before ending, note that you are available by phone in case there are any other suitable roles that may work out better at a later date. 
  • Be sure to go with a positive comment at the end of the call, and thank them again for their time.

You only get one chance at this and should not call again, so planning a short script is a good idea to keep the call on track.

Sample Phone Feedback Requests

Here are some examples of how to request feedback over the phone:

  • “Thanks for responding so quickly. I understand I wasn’t quite right for the position, but I was hoping you could give me some feedback to help me improve.”
  • “I really appreciate you informing me of the decision. Would you be willing to tell me how I could improve my interview skills?”
  • “Thank you for the quick response. I know I wasn’t the ideal candidate for this role, but do you have any suggestions on what I can work on moving forward?”

Asking for Feedback Through Email

The most common format for rejection is email. The email might be a form letter, which reduces your chance of getting a response. That said, should you reply to a rejection email? Absolutely. When you’re asking for feedback through email, you need to include all the elements you would for a request via phone, but you also need to pay attention to formatting — for example:

  • Your first paragraph should be a simple thanks for the information on the decision.
  • Your second paragraph should indicate your disappointment at not getting the job, counterbalanced by gratitude at getting the experience of an interview. 
  • The third paragraph should contain your request for feedback, as politely and concisely as possible. 
  • The final paragraph should thank the manager or recruiter once more and indicate your desire to be considered for future roles. 

The key to replying to a job rejection email is brevity and respect. If you phrase your email positively and acknowledge that the person in question is doing your career a favor by providing feedback, they are much more likely to respond positively. 

Sample Email Feedback Request

Here is a good example of how to ask for feedback after rejection via email:

Dear [Hiring Manager Name],

Thanks for informing me of your decision on this position.

It is certainly a disappointment not to start working with the [company name] team, but it was wonderful to speak to you and learn more about the impact [company name] is making. 

If you have time in the near future, I would be very grateful to learn how I can improve my application and interview skills for future opportunities. If you are willing to provide me with some feedback, I know I can use it to become a better candidate.

Thanks again for the opportunity. I have high hopes for [company name]’s continued success and wish you all success going forward. If another role with a better fit opens up, don’t hesitate to contact me by phone or email. 

Sincerely,
[Your Name]

a graphic explaining that employers aren't going to call you if they're going to reject you

Asking for Feedback in Person

Asking for feedback in person isn’t something that you will often have the chance to do. Most employers aren’t going to call in a candidate just to reject them unless they feel there is a chance their number one candidate might not work out. So, when do you reply to a job rejection in person? The most likely scenario for in-person feedback requests is when you’re applying for a position at your own company and hear that you’ve been rejected by a hiring manager you know. 

The most important thing to remember is that you should never attempt to ambush a recruiter or hiring manager in person, as it can be extremely off-putting and end up worsening their perception of you. If you really want in-person feedback, request an appointment with the person in question rather than putting them on the spot. If your request is granted, be sure to follow all the same etiquette you would with a phone or email solicitation. 

Who You Should Ask for Feedback After a Job Rejection

One of the most common questions about how to ask for feedback after an unsuccessful application is: Who do you reply to? If you were granted an interview and got the rejection from a hiring manager, go ahead and respond to that manager. 

If you’re wondering how to ask for feedback after an interview rejection email, you should respond to the recruiter you spoke to last, as you likely won’t know the name of the manager who turned your application down for an interview. A good rule of thumb is to reply to the person you last spoke to, and that will most frequently be a recruiter. 

Whoever you end up replying to, you should maintain the same goal of bettering yourself and avoid directly asking for reasons why you didn’t get the job.

Why You Should Ask for Feedback After Getting Rejected

5 reasons you should ask for feedback after getting rejected

Still unsure why you should handle job rejection by asking for feedback? If you find yourself wondering why you’re not getting hired, you can reap the following benefits from choosing to request feedback:

1. Learn From Your Mistakes

The most obvious benefit of asking for feedback is gaining information you can use to make sure you’re not making the same mistakes at your next interview. You will be able to use the information to pinpoint specific points of action you can work on.

There are a number of reasons why you may be rejected, and identifying them becomes especially important after participating in an interview. Many points of improvement may not be things you ever thought about before. For example, you may have conducted yourself well from a verbal perspective, but annoyed the interviewer by constantly tapping a pen against the desk. 

Whatever behaviors or skill set deficiencies resulted in a job rejection, you need to know about them. The only way to do so is to ask for feedback directly.

2. Learn More About Yourself

The scariest part of asking for feedback is that you might learn something unpleasant about yourself. Your friends, family and even mentors might not be willing to provide unvarnished facts about your less charming habits and behaviors, while a recruiter or hiring manager is much more likely to tell you in plain language. 

For example, you might frequently use specific turns of phrase that make you seem like less of a team player than you really are. A helpful recruiter will have no problem telling you to avoid that habit you want better results.

3. Establish Your Willingness to Grow

Being able to handle feedback and constructive criticism is becoming more common as an explicit requirement for most positions. The problem is that anyone can claim to be receptive to feedback and learning, but few people actually follow through on it and realize how important following up after an interview is. 

Actively pursuing feedback after a rejection shows you really are committed to finding new avenues of self-improvement in your career, and it can earn you points with recruiters and hiring managers who might be in a position to call you back for another open role.

4. Keep the Door Open for Future Opportunities

When you get a rejection, it’s temping to think it’s best to just trudge on to the next opportunity, but doing so without requesting feedback is the same as closing the door of opportunity on yourself. 

When the next related role opens up, recruiters won’t remember the candidate that didn’t send so much as a quick “thanks.” Taking the time to send a gracious thank you along with a request for feedback can make an impression that moves you near the top of the consideration list at a later time

5. Receive Closure

There are few questions more irritating in a job search than “What if I had…?” Opting not to ask for feedback leaves a gap where you might have received valuable, actionable information. On the other hand, some companies strictly refuse feedback as a matter of policy for legal reasons. You simply can’t know if you don’t ask. Asking for feedback is a key way of assuring yourself that you’ve done your best throughout the process.

Good Questions to Ask After a Job Rejection

After experiencing a rejection, there are three key things you need to find out if you want to improve your performance for your next opportunity. That means knowing what questions to ask when you didn’t get the job. The way you phrase these matters, so be careful to remain neutral and welcome the feedback you receive through these three questions:

1. “Can You List One or Two Things I Could Have Improved During My Interview?”

This question is heavily time-sensitive and works best on the phone when the interviewer is already thinking of your performance. It works because it is relatively broad but gives the recruiter the chance to be specific with what they remember. Possible answers could be you aren’t qualified, you don’t fit the culture, or you didn’t ask the interviewer any questions.

2. “Do You Have Any Feedback on My Cover Letter or Resume?”

Crafting a strong cover letter and resume is a critical part of the job search process that many candidates struggle with. Because these two tools give recruiters their first impression of you, getting feedback on them can lead to high-impact changes that put you ahead of the pack. If your materials contain typos or don’t present a clear picture of your strengths as a candidate, you are selling yourself short and potentially missing out on future opportunities.

3. “Am I Missing Any Skills, Qualifications or Experience?”

You can ace an interview and still be passed over for a position. When this happens, it may be due to someone with more experience or a different skill set coming along. Find out from the recruiter or interviewer if you lack qualifications or experience that would have gotten you the job, and see what you can do to remedy the situation. 

While there’s no substitute for time in a specific field or role, you can begin planning training, certification or volunteering to begin shoring up your experience and filling any skills gaps indicated by your feedback.

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Find Your Place With Optimum Supply Chain Recruiters

If you are looking for a career in the supply chain discipline, Optimum Supply Chain Recruiters is ready to provide you with opportunities you can’t find anywhere else. We work exclusively with businesses that need qualified candidates for supply chain positions, many of which are never publicly advertised. 

For more information on opportunities offered through Optimum SCR, submit your resume online, or to learn how to prepare for a supply chain interview.

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