3 Tips for Feedback To Help Keep Your Search Moving Forward

 In Career Advice, Job Interviews

Applicants often cite a lack of feedback as a source of frustration in their job search. Candidates take the time to do their research (on the position, the company, and manager), they put their best foot forward at the meeting and never hear back.  People want feedback so they can improve, but what should a candidate do?

Why Don’t Employers Give Feedback?

There are many reasons companies don’t give feedback. The time it takes is typically the main one. Employers will usually have many positions they’re filling and potentially hundreds of applicants for each role. Providing feedback to each applicant is very time consuming. In a busy work schedule reaching out to people they are not hiring often falls through the cracks.

Another concern is legal liability. We live in a litigious society where many people embrace their victimhood. If a candidate who is not selected decides it’s because of discrimination, it’s easy to file a lawsuit that the company will have to spend time and money defending themselves against. Unfortunately, too many people are quick to claim discrimination rather than being objective about their fit for a position or company. In addition to the potential financial liability, there is reputational harm to the brand. Many candidates have taken to social media to vent their frustrations and to blast a company or manager directly. Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of that.

Companies are under no obligation to provide feedback, the safest and easiest route for the company is to say nothing.

How To Ask For Feedback

If you’re really interested, you should ask for feedback.  Here are 3 important things to keep in mind:

Ask in a timely fashion

  • Follow up with the hiring manager a day or two after the meeting. Reaching out after the meeting shows enthusiasm for the role, and keeps you top of mind. If you follow up while the meeting is fresh in the managers head, you may get more detailed feedback. Strike while the iron in hot.
  • Follow up in the same way they contacted you. If they’ve been calling, pick up the phone. If they email, follow up with an email.

Don’t Ask Why You Weren’t Hired

You don’t want the manager to be on the defensive or think you may be trying to corner them to sue. Instead ask for:

  • Constructive criticism.
  • Pointers for your interview presentation.
  • Recommendations to better showcase your skills and experience when applying for future roles.
  • Areas of improvement or study with your tech skills.

Keep It Positive

If someone is willing to give you feedback as to why you’re not moving forward in the interview process, be receptive. Remember you’re not owed an explanation why you’re not being hired. Be open minded, they’re trying to help you.

DO NOT argue with the manager over their feedback or act defensively. It won’t change the outcome and it will discourage that person from working with you in the future.  There’s always the potential another position will open on the team, and that the manager will remember you and call to offer it. The manager may refer you to a colleague hiring for a similar skill set on another team.  By reacting positively, you leave the door open.


Interviewing for a new position can be an ambiguous and frustrating process. Feedback can certainly help a candidate make adjustments in their interview techniques, and how they market themselves to prospective employers. You must be prepared to accept that you won’t be offered every position. At the same time, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for feedback, be willing to accept constructive criticism, and continue on your personal journey of growth.

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