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Asking for Feedback

Last updated January 16, 2020

Experiencing rejection is hard! Especially during your job search. You may be tempted to turn your back on a lost job opportunity and forget about it. Understandable! BUT, if you do, you’re missing out on one of the best ways to improve your job search strategyasking for feedback.

Asking for feedback after being turned down for a job is a straightforward way to learn what other candidates did differently than you to get the job. Employer feedback gives you concrete steps to improve your application for similar positions—it can help you tweak your resume, write better cover letters, and become a better interviewee to help you get hired next time.

So, how do you ask for feedback from a hiring manager who turned you down? It can be as easy as writing an email that says, “Hey, where’d I go wrong, Boss?”

Here’s everything you need to know about how to ask for feedback when you don’t get that job you want: 

1. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for feedback

It might seem awkward to approach the employer that rejected you saying, “How could I have done better? What did that other candidate do that I didn’t?” But it’s not! How can you ever be expected to learn how to improve your job applications if you don’t understand what you could have done better? Employers understand this logic and if they have time, are happy to help an applicant who asks for some guidance/pointers.


2. Be clear about what you want! Be polite!

Here’s an example of an email you could send an employer after you didn’t get the job:

Hi [Hiring Manager],

Thank you so much for the time you spent interviewing [if you interviewed] and reviewing my resume for [position you’re applying for]. I know I didn’t get the position, but I was curious what I could have improved about my application/interview, and what experience other candidates brought to the table, that gave them the edge over me so I can do better for the next job I apply to. If you would be willing to offer some brief feedback or critique it would be immensely appreciated!

Thank you,

[Your name]


3. Don’t be discouraged if you don't get a response.

In many cases, especially with large corporate employers, your hiring manager may get so many applications and schedule so many interviews that they simply don’t have time to reply to your email asking for feedback. This doesn't mean you shouldn’t send your feedback request anyway, but don’t get discouraged if all you hear is radio silence. You’ll never hear anything back if you don’t ask!

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