How to get rejection feedback after a job interview

Have you recently had a job interview but failed to get hired? Did you know why you were rejected?

The latter question is the most important one as you need to know how to improve for next time. Hopping from one job interview to the next without asking for feedback means you could be making the same mistakes over and over again.

Here’s how to get rejection feedback after a job interview.

Write an email

Once the employer has confirmed you were not chosen to be hired, it’s time to write an email to ask for feedback as to why. You want to find out if there was anything that you could improve upon for next time. It could be that you gave an amazing interview but someone else had just a little more experience than you. Or it could be that you bombed in the interview and there were certain questions that you didn’t answer very well – the latter example is clearly a big issue going forward for next time.

Your first communication with the employer should always be via email rather than a phone call. This is the standard approach to request feedback and will allow the employer plenty of time to respond. They may still be in the middle of interviews or currently training the new employee.

You should wait at least one week before contacting them again. Your initial email requesting feedback should be sent about 2-3 days after confirmation of rejection. You could send one immediately, but it’s best to give it a little time so you don’t come across as pushy or aggressive.

Be positive

The tone of your email should be positive, upbeat and friendly. You want to gain valuable feedback from the employer so you can improve for the next job interview, so if you are anything other than positive you may find you don’t get a great deal back – or even nothing at all!

Start by thanking them for their time and that you were grateful for the opportunity. Then request feedback and your reasons why you want this. Then, close out with another thank you and that you look forward to hearing from them. Here’s an example of what you could write:

Dear (insert name of hiring manager),

Thank you for contacting me in regards to the hiring decision. Although I am disappointed not to be chosen to work for your company, I am however very grateful for the opportunity. Could you please consider keeping my details for any future openings as I very much enjoyed our interview and the information you gave me about your company.

If you have a few minutes to spare could you please provide me with feedback as to what I could improve upon and why I was not chosen. I want to continue to develop my interview skills and your feedback would be helpful in my job search.

Thank you again for your time and the opportunity, and I look forward to reading your response. I wish you and your company all the best for the future.


(Your name)

You can see from the above email/letter that the tone remains both positive and thankful for the opportunity. It’s very unlikely that an employer would ignore this kind of communication, but if they do you can move onto the next tip.

Call the employer

If you do not receive a reply after around 2 weeks you could consider calling them. Ask to speak with the hiring manager who interviewed you as you don’t want to leave another message at this stage. It’s important you get a fairly quick response as you are likely to be continuing your job search and may have other interviews on the horizon.

When you get through to the manager you should introduce yourself and state the reason for your call. Again, be positive and thank them for taking the time to speak with you. It could be that the employer hasn’t had the time to reply and they may confirm they will get back to you soon. If that is the response you should politely let them know that you have another interview soon and would greatly appreciate the feedback to help you move forward.

If the employer decides to give you the feedback over the phone, be ready to take some notes. So don’t call unless you have a pen and notepad in front of you. Ideally you would like them to respond via email so you can digest the feedback properly. So ask them again for an email if possible. However, if they don’t want too or the feedback is going to be quick, then take notes.

It’s important not to come across as pushy or aggressive because this could backfire. You could end up with no feedback at all and any future opportunities or further communications could be severed. So remain friendly and positive throughout the call and if you are met with some resistance be careful not to get angry or frustrated.

The employer may say no to your request, which would be quite rare and unusual. If this does happen however you should just thank them for their time and move on. There isn’t anything you can do if they don’t want to reply, and you’re probably better off not working with a manger that isn’t open to providing feedback.

What should I do with the feedback?

Upon receipt of the feedback you should be as open minded as possible. Your instant reaction could be to feel that they are wrong and that there is nothing you need to improve upon. The whole point of asking for rejection feedback in the first place is to use it to develop your interview skills. It’s not an opportunity to pass up on and you should remove your arrogance, emotions and vanity from the equation.

Look at the feedback from a completely neutral perspective and take the stance that they are right. Depending on the response you receive it’s very likely that the employer has written some very valid points. You need to take this feedback onboard and use it to make improvements to your thought process and interview techniques.

If you choose to ignore the feedback you are going to keep making the same mistakes. A successful career is forged upon the ability to accept ones own failings and listen to advice. Accept the fact that you are not perfect and that you can always continue to get better – even if you are the CEO of the company one day!

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