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Written by Susan ShorSusan Shor

How to ask for feedback after an interview

18 min read
How to ask for feedback after an interview
You went in with high hopes, but you didn’t get the job. What a letdown! But your job search isn’t over. Use this as a learning opportunity by asking where you went wrong. The first step is knowing how to ask for feedback after an interview.

When your dream job has slipped through your fingers, it can be difficult to pick yourself up and try again, especially if you’re scratching your head about what went wrong. But you’re still on the hunt, and to improve your chances next time, you need to understand what you can do better or differently. The most direct way to do that is to learn how to ask for feedback after an interview.

Within this blog, we will provide:

  • How to ask for interview feedback email samples
  • The benefits of asking for feedback
  • A breakdown of how to ask for feedback after an interview

How to ask for interview feedback email samples

How to ask for interview feedback depends on the circumstances. Have you heard back that you did not get the job? Are there other positions at the company you’re still up for? Did you not make it past the phone interview? Did you get the job, but want to make a great impression by inquiring about both what you did right and where you can improve?

Here are customizable sample emails for each of those situations.

1. You didn’t get the job

You may feel awkward asking someone who has just rejected you to tell you why you were found lacking. A polite and sincere request will go a long way. 

Copyable example

Dear Ms. Abdullah,

Thank you for the opportunity to interview for the social media manager position. 

I admit that I was disappointed to receive your email stating that I was not the chosen candidate. 

In an effort to improve my interview skills and present myself as the best candidate in the future, I respectfully ask if you have any feedback about my interview or general application package that you can offer.

I was excited about the prospects of working for a company with such a vibrant social media presence, so if another position opens up that you feel I am right for, please reconsider my application.

I appreciate your time and the attention you spent on me.

Best regards,

Martin Handelmann

Copied!

2. You’re still up for other positions with that employer

If you’ve been turned down for one position, but feel you are a better match for a different position with that same company, make it clear that you’re still interested while asking how you can improve your candidacy. 

Copyable example

Dear Mr. Clavitz,

I greatly appreciate the time and effort you took to interview me for the HR director position. 

While I understand that this position may not have been the best fit for me, I have also applied for the human resources manager role since my interest in working at your company has not diminished. In fact, I was very impressed with your culture and HR processes during my interview.

Because of your excellence as an HR recruiter, I would like to ask if you have any expert feedback on my performance or ideas for bolstering my directorial skills that will better my chances in the future.

Thank you again.

Sincerely,

Brian Kelsey

Copied!

3. Following a phone interview

Was it something you said? How do you ask for feedback when you don’t make it past the initial phone screening?

Copyable example

Dear Ms. Marinovich,

It was a pleasure speaking with you yesterday. I was disappointed to hear that you will not be moving forward with my candidacy as I was excited about the new home sales consultant position. You have a stellar reputation in the building industry, and I hope you will reconsider me for another position in the future.

I would like to enhance my desirability as a real estate sales consultant for upcoming opportunities. Would you be so kind as to provide me with feedback on my interview performance? I know first impressions are key in sales and I would like to make a better one in the future. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Brian Kelsey

Copied!

4. You actually got the job

Why would you ask for feedback when you already got the job? To impress your new employer and start out on the right foot. 

Copyable example

Dear Dr. Aggarwal,

Thank you so much for the opportunity! I greatly look forward to my new position as a business analyst at such an esteemed firm as yours.

In the meantime, can you offer any feedback about areas I should focus my professional development on? I want to be as prepared as possible for this exciting new role.

I look forward to becoming part of the team.

Regards,

Olivia Hernandez

Copied!

The benefits of asking for feedback

Feedback can be difficult to hear. Listen with an open mind and don’t take the comments as personal affronts. Instead, take stock of what you hear and use it to propel your next interview into a great job! 

Why ask for feedback? The few minutes it takes to seek out feedback could pay big dividends by helping you to:

  • Improve your performance in your next interview
  • Open the door to more opportunities
  • Learn about the competition
  • Drive your personal and professional growth
  • Understand how others see you
  • Add a contact to your network

Improve your performance in your next interview

The purpose of a job interview is to get the job, so it’s a great idea to ask what you could have done to nail those interview questions next time around. If your responses were too vague or too wordy, a simple adjustment can make a huge difference.

Of course, there’s more to the interview than just answering questions. You’re making a first impression in person, so your clothing, your verbal tone and style, and your body language are all being judged. Be prepared to hear that you didn’t come off exactly as you intended.

Expert tip

Practice eye contact and posture in front of a mirror or audience of friends to ensure you come off as confident, but not arrogant, during your interview.

Remember that not all hiring managers will see you in the same light, so integrate the information but don’t change who you are or you may end up in a job where you can’t be yourself. Sometimes people just don’t click. There’s a difference between personalities that don’t blend and traits you can sand the rough edges off of or save for more casual environments than a job interview.

Open the door to more opportunities

Taking initiative in job searches may not always make a difference, but the upsides can be enormous and the downsides rare. Asking for feedback after a failed interview (or even a successful one) may open the door to new opportunities.

How? By showing the hiring manager that you are willing to go the extra mile to improve, you increase the likelihood that they will consider you for future openings. It’s possible that you overlooked a position the hiring manager thinks is right for you or they know about an upcoming job posting that fits you to a T.

Even if nothing with that firm pans out, the feedback you receive will help you recalibrate your approach to your next interview.

Learn about the competition

Why learn about the competition in the job market? Because knowing what the person who won the job had in their toolkit that you are lacking will show you what you’re up against in the next interview process. 

If you’re looking for an engineering job, it’s probable that most of the candidates have the same basic engineering qualifications as you. The trick is to distinguish yourself by acquiring, or highlighting, a coveted skill that most candidates don’t have. The best way to find out what that might be is to ask for feedback on your application. 

The hiring manager won’t reveal details about the person they hired, but they may tell you they were looking for a skill you lacked. Then, you can go about developing that knowledge and add it to your resume. This demonstrates a willingness to continue to learn and grow in your field.

Statistical insight
  • Only 8.4 percent of job applicants are invited to interview.
  • Interviewers will decide on their impression of you within 7 minutes.
  • An average job search takes almost 25 weeks. – —That’s almost six months!
  • Your best chance of an interview is a small company, where 14 percent of applicants get an interview. In large companies, that drops to 11 percent.

Drive your personal and professional growth

Online classes, webinars, self-help books and apps, certifications—there are myriad methods to choose from when seeking personal and professional growth. It can be difficult to decide what to invest your time and money in, especially if you are reeling from a particularly difficult job rejection. 

Making use of the feedback you receive from an interviewer will help you focus your efforts on the skills most likely to enhance your candidacy in the eyes of employers.

Do you need a technical certification? To present yourself with more confidence? The critique may focus on hard skills other candidates were more proficient in or soft skills such as communication that the recruiter judged you on during your interview. Match your efforts to the constructive comments from the recruiter to become a stronger candidate.

Understand how others see you

You may think you’re being funny in your interview, but the recruiter may see it as flippant; or what you think of as confidence the recruiter sees as arrogance. By the way, 76 percent of interviewers said they would not hire a candidate they saw as overly arrogant.

While they are unlikely to say just that, they may say something like, “We were looking for someone with a more professional demeanor” or “someone who will take a collaborative approach.” That tells you that either it was a bad fit or you need to tone it down.

On the other hand, a comment such as “we were looking for someone who would fit in with our startup culture” probably means you tipped too far the other way and came off as stuffy or inflexible.

Expert tip

Decoding feedback

If someone says …

It means …

I would have liked to hear more specific examples of your work.

You were too vague or weren’t prepared with examples off the top of your head.

You have great potential. Building on your expertise will help you in future job pursuits.

You don’t have enough experience or proficiency in key skills.

We found you lacked confidence in your problem-solving abilities.

You need to present your ideas with more authority and/or work on how you solve problems in your field.

We’ve discussed in general how to ask for feedback and what you can gain. Now we’ll provide details of exactly how to go about it.

Add a contact to your network

The more you extend your professional network, the more likely you are to hear about the right job opportunity. When you reach out to ask for feedback, there’s a chance the hiring manager will be impressed with your initiative. If so, you can ask to connect through LinkedIn or other networking venue.

Don’t discount that even HR people change jobs and your skills and experience may be what their new company is looking for in a candidate.

Breaking down how to ask for feedback after an interview

How do you politely ask for feedback after an interview? By applying the following formula to your emails:

  • Email, don’t call. Email gives the hiring manager to thoughtfully craft a response to your request. A call may put them on the spot or catch them at an inopportune time.
  • Thank them. Before you make any request, thank them for the time and effort they put into your application and interview. This lets them know you understand their time is valuable and adds a tone of humility to your email.
  • Be unfailingly polite. This is not the time to push for another chance or question their decision. Make it clear you are simply looking for tips to guide your self-improvement.
  • Make your request quickly. Send off an email within a day or so of receiving the bad news. This ensures the interview is fresh in the hiring manager’s mind and they haven’t moved on to the next position they are filling.
  • Be brief. The hiring manager does not owe you any more time, so a long, involved email is unlikely to be read, let alone receive a considered response. A few short paragraphs are more than enough to make your point.
  • Include the position title. Remind the recruiter which position you interviewed for. Recruiters often spend all day reviewing resumes, conducting phone screenings and interviewing candidates via video and in the office. Don’t take it personally if they can’t match your face to your job application.
  • Make it clear that you are still interested in the company. Only if this is true, of course, but if you let them know you were impressed with the work culture or opportunities, there may be a place for you there in the future.
  • Pay attention to detail. Proofreading is just as important now as it was when you crafted your resume and cover letter. (If they need a refresher, take advantage of our online resume and cover letter builders.) Every step of the way, present a professional, polished image.
Expert tip

What if I don’t get an answer?

If you haven’t heard within a week, you can assume you’re not going to hear. Hiring managers have no obligation to tell you why you weren’t hired and there may be company policy against responding.

This is not personal. They may have interviewed dozens of candidates asking for feedback and they don’t have time to get back to them all. 

Remember that asking for feedback may not bear fruit most of the time. You may get a simple “we went in another direction” response, but the one time someone has the time and send you a thoughtful critique will make your extra effort worth it.

Key takeaways

Job searches are tough on your ego and confidence. It’s hard enough to send out dozens of resumes and not get a response, but losing out on a job you wanted after the interview can really get you down. Turn the rejection into an opportunity to boost your chances next time around by seeking out the opinion of the person who interviewed you.

Knowing how to ask for feedback after an interview, with politeness, humility and the understanding that you are not due a response, will get you back on track for future job-hunting success. Follow up on any constructive feedback you receive from your brief email to make a better impression in your next job interview.

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