Asking for feedback will help you hone your technique and be more successful next time.
In an ideal world you will receive feedback on your interview immediately, although this seldom happens. Most of the time an interviewer will inform you that you will receive feedback by a given date.
When to ask for feedback
After a job interview, most people want to know right away what kind of impression they made on an employer. However, many people aren’t sure how to get an honest evaluation.
The response may well be:
You didn’t possess the right experience or attitude
We found someone more suitable
Some criteria of the role were not matched
These responses do not give you the critique you need, so be prepared to probe further and politely request further information.
Painful as it is to hear, the fact that someone else was more successful, means they did a better job of convincing the interviewer that they are more suitable. This is something you can improve on for your next interview.
You should write down all interview feedback comments and consider whether you feel there are areas of your technique you could address to create a more favourable impression.
Replay the interview in your head and pay attention to any criticism and make constructive use of it. This way you will gain a better understanding of how to create a more positive impression when responding to the same scenario.
The ideal time to get interview feedback is two to three days after the interview. Firstly, you can call the interviewer and ask for feedback. This is the best method because you can interact and respond to any observations made during the interview. The golden rule is to be calm, professional and detached.
On some occasions, the response may well be a generalised answer like, “the results will be announced shortly”, or “you will hear shortly”. Should this be the case, the correct response would be to say you hope you were successful, but if not then you would appreciate any feedback, so you can improve for next time.
How to ask for interview feedback
At the end of an interview, make a closing statement like: “I’ve enjoyed our conversation and feel confident in my ability to meet the challenges of the position.”
“Thank you for considering me for the position. I wonder if you would be willing to provide some feedback on the interview?”
Phrasing the request in this way, gives the interviewer an opportunity to respond in a constructive way. You need the response to be as open as possible. The experience of being interviewed is extremely stressful and for that reason you cannot be objective about your own performance.
Then offer: “Are there any aspects of my background you feel need further elaboration?”
Finally, ask directly: “Do you have any concerns or hesitations about my ability to fulfil this role successfully?”
You may be able to elicit a very direct response from the interviewer in this way. If he or she does have concerns, you can address them on the spot. If the employer doesn’t have any concerns, you can say: “Great, then what are the next steps?”
If you used a recruiter to get the interview, you can ask them if they’ve have heard how the interview went.
Many interviewers don’t feel comfortable giving an honest assessment in person but will tell your recruiter how the interview went. This may provide the most valuable feedback because the interviewer will be more candid about your performance.
If you don’t get the job, you can call the interviewer and ask for feedback. You can also write a letter thanking the person for his or her time and say you would value any input on how you could have improved your interview technique.
The letter will show that you remain professional in the face of rejection.
The decision may have been very close between you and one other. The person they gave the job to may have not yet started; in the event they don’t take up the position you may still get an opportunity. In addition, they may still consider you for alternative positions.
What to ask when seeking interview feedback
Suggested questions to ask an employer after an unsuccessful interview are:
How well did I answer questions about the job and the company?
How well did I answer questions about myself, my skills and experience?
Based on my application and interview, what do you think is my weakest area?
And what is my biggest strength?
How did I compare to other candidates?
Do you have any comments on my appearance, body language, or tone of voice?
Any other comments?
Once you have dealt with the feedback, don’t dwell on the fact that you were unsuccessful. Put the experience behind you and focus on the next opportunity.
Irrespective of the outcome, you should thank the interviewer for their time and feedback. Firstly, because you may meet the interviewer later in another scenario. Secondly, you may be contacted again if the person who is offered the job doesn’t pursue the opportunity or another vacancy comes up within the organisation.