University of Brighton Careers Blog

Asking for feedback following an interview

Patricia Neal, "The Day the Earth Stood Still," 1951

Being turned done for a job you really wanted can be hard to take. You put effort into applying by writing the application, preparing for the interview and go along hoping for the best.  And then you either here ‘no thanks’ or perhaps even worse nothing at all. Which can leave you waiting for a reply until you just give up.

There is currently no obligation on an employer to give feedback after an interview but should you ask? We look at ways of doing dealing with this situation that might help.

Many employers argue that they can’t  give feedback as they can get literally hundreds of applications so there isn’t the time to get back to everyone with individual comments. However if you had a face to face  interview it is worthwhile pursuing feedback.

Initially  after every interview its also good to jot down the questions and the way you answered them whilst it’s fresh in your mind. That way you can always equate any employer feedback with your own thoughts and evaluation.

Call or email and ask politely for feedback. Don’t be defensive, look to try and learn from the experience. Something along the lines of  ” I came for an interview for x recently .While I’m disappointed I didn’t get the job, I would appreciate it if you can give me some feedback as I am still very interested in possibly working with you in the future.” is fine.

Listen carefully to the answer and avoid being defensive. It might be a quite subjective response such as ‘you didn’t promote or sell yourself enough’ or  quite clear cut as in ‘you didn’t seem aware of this or that.’  But it can be a way of trying to establish why you are not quite succeeding and thinking of ways to deal with this through answering the questions better by being clearer or more expansive or doing further research.

Some people do naturally find self promotion quite difficult but  good ways to do this are to let events and evidence speak for themselves. For example if you achieved something yourself make sure the details are clearly known to the employer. Don’t hide your light under a bushel.

Whatever their response you will have something hopefully to go on that might help the next time.

In the meantime look at our pages on interview or book in to see one of the Career Development or Employment  Advisers for discussion of the feedback and perhaps a mock interview. 

Classic Film via Compfight


Pamela Coppola • 15/05/2017

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