How To Ask for Feedback After An Interview Rejection?

Christina J Colclough

By Christina Colclough

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asking for feedback after rejection

After a failed interview, most people take a day or two to recover from it before moving on to the next. 

While it’s important to stay positive, learning how to ask for feedback after rejection should also be one of your priorities. Only then can you determine what has gone wrong and improve your performance in your future interviews. Better yet, if you are lucky, the HR manager might appreciate your ambition/positive attitude and consider giving you a second opportunity.

Keep scrolling to learn more tips!

How to Ask for Feedback After Interview Rejection?

Spend time gathering your thoughts first, then contact the company with the best positive attitude. Start with the specific inquiries related to your performance, CV, resume, etc. Do not forget to reaffirm your appreciation/strong interest in the position after receiving their reviews. 

1. Acknowledge Your Feeling

Business man stressed in office

Before asking for feedback, the most important step is to acknowledge and process your feelings. You can feel hurt, confused, or sad; that’s normal. But do not dwell on these negative thoughts for too long. 

It’s important to remember that rejections do not reflect your current abilities or worth; rather, they result from numerous factors you cannot predict, such as the company’s budget, preferences, demands, etc.

So, instead of criticizing yourself or the employer, accept the results and focus on other positive aspects during the interview. Cases in point are the skill sets you have showcased, the connections and network you made, or the insightful feedback you will receive by following the next steps in our guide.

Career coach Luki Danukarjanto also used the famous Hamlet quote, “for there is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so” (Shakespeare, Act 2, Scene 2) to suggest different ways to adjust your perspective:

  • Instead of seeing this as a rejection, consider it a new way to prepare yourself for a better interview in the future.
  • Not passing the job interview this time is not a lost opportunity. On the contrary, you get the golden chance to find another company that truly appreciates your talent and experience.

2. Ask The Company for Feedback

After getting over your feelings, it’s time to take your rejection handling to a new level by directly seeking insightful feedback; it helps you prepare for better opportunities in the future and improve your current weaknesses. You can also learn more about the employer’s exact criteria or expectations for their applicants.

The most common way is to send a professional and polite email to the HR manager/interviewer within a day or two after the rejection. A phone call is also recommended if you want instant, direct exchanges.

Step 1. Start by Showing Your Gratitude

To leave a positive impression and increase your chance of receiving constructive feedback, start with a polite “Thank you for inviting me to interview for the position.” 

  • If desired, give extra compliments like “Meeting your wonderful team was a huge pleasure for me.” 
  • Do you know any specific names during your interview? Then, mention them: “It was a pleasure to meet you, Charlie”. “Send my words to Mary as well.”

Step 2. Express Your Disappointment Politely

Here is a common template, “It’s sad that I cannot join your team. I’m grateful for the interview.” It reaffirms your dedication to the job position without disrespecting the company’s final decision.

You can also modify the above template by adding specific details about the position or company. For instance, “It’s unfortunate that I cannot join you, Alex, and the HR team in the future. But I’m grateful for the interview.”

Step 3. Show Determination to Learn from Your Mistakes and Grow

“I am always trying my best to hone my skills and will really appreciate all your feedback.” This positivity reflects your mindset well and shows them their opinions are appreciated. As such, the HR manager/employer will be persuaded to offer you their honest reviews. 

For those requesting feedback through the phone, you can propose, “If you have a moment, I would really love some feedback for my performance.”

Step 4. Ask Them Specific Questions

Most managers are busy and barely have time to give feedback to eliminated candidates. Therefore, keeping things concise and brief is the best way to show some respect for their time and schedule; they can choose to say as little or as much as they would like. 

  • Ask them if you lack any necessary qualifications. Recruiters usually prefer experienced candidates who already have all the required skillsets for the position, so this is your chance to learn what you are currently missing.
  • “Could you suggest a few ways I could have performed better during my interview?” is another brief yet on-point question many managers will respond enthusiastically to. 
  • Note down all feedback you receive and pay close attention to detailed, specific suggestions for your areas of improvement.

Step 5. Seek for Their Opinions on  Your Cover Letter and Resume

Ask them whether they have any opinions on your CL or resume. Jot down what they like, do not like, and what has been missing, then use all this information to polish your application and become a much stronger candidate for future opportunities.

  • Are you getting feedback over the phone? Then, remember to have the cover letter and resume with you during the phone call, and take notes/make highlights based on the reviews you receive.
  • Are there any other materials, like test results or a portfolio? Ask their opinions about these papers, too: “Does my portfolio contain all the necessary information?“ or “Is there any section that could have been better?”

Step 6. Ask for Their General Feedback Once You Are Done With The Specifics

Questions like “Is there any other feedback or thought that comes to your mind?” will prompt them to give extra comments that might not relate to all your earlier inquiries. 

Remember to save it last – after your specific questions have already been answered. Most importantly, do not forget to conclude the exchange by reaffirming your strong interest in the company, “Thank you again; I would appreciate your future consideration if any other available position is a better fit for me.”

3. Analyze The Feedback and Act on It

Again, do not take this feedback defensively or personally; consider these reviews a good opportunity to improve your skills.

  • Read everything carefully to identify the themes and key points.
  • Compare those reviews with your self-assessment; is there any discrepancy or gap?
  • Think of different ways to improve your presentation, knowledge, or skills based on the feedback (e.g., taking online courses, practicing interviewing skills, seeking a mentor, updating your resume, etc.)
  • Apply these solutions to your future interviews. 

Leadership development coach Yvonne Akinmodun also suggests building a rapport with all the companies you have applied to, even after they reject you. After all, your CV was still impressive enough to grant you an interview with them in the first place; if you are lucky, the hiring managers might have other more suitable opportunities for you in the future. 

What You Should Not Do When You Ask for Feedback After Job Rejection

Job Rejection
  • Do Not Be Bitter. Instead, begin the email or call with a professional tone and focus on gathering information to aid your job search.
  • Do Not Try to Change Their Decision. Once a company has made its choice, do not persuade them to reconsider; you will not get any fruitful results.
  • Do Not Be Desperate. Always maintain your professionalism and never appear desperate or beg for the position; that may deter all your future opportunities with the company.
  • Do Not Argue. Express your gratitude once the employer provides feedback; avoid arguing or counter-arguing. Many companies even refuse to share any review at all due to legal restrictions or policies, so consider it a valuable opportunity if they do so for you.

Why Do You Still Receive No Feedback from Them?

  • Providing genuine feedback to every rejected candidate isn’t always feasible, especially when numerous candidates apply. 
  • Some recruiters do not have the necessary information to answer your questions; they communicate with candidates without direct access to the people who make hiring decisions. 
  • Past experiences of candidate threats, harassment, and legal issues have also led some companies to discontinue feedback provisions.

Samples You Can Use to Ask for Feedback After Rejection

1. Email:

Dear [Interviewer],

I appreciate your decision and prompt response. Although it’s disappointing not to be part of your team, I have enjoyed learning more about your company and the position. 

I would love to ask for your input and guidance for my future development. Specifically, are there any gaps in my experience or skills that need addressing? Is there an aspect of my interview performance that I could have improved?

Once again, thank you for considering me for the role at [Company Name]. I am open to future job opportunities with you and your team should they align with my current qualifications.

Best regards,

2. Phone Call/Real-Time Conversations:

“Thank you for sharing your decision with me. I understand that I was not the best candidate for the role, but I was wondering if you could provide some honest feedback to help me improve my performance for future interviews.

Are there specific certifications or skills essential for the industry that have been missing from my resume?

How should I improve my self-presentation and communication?

I’m truly grateful for this valuable interview feedback, and I want to thank you for taking the time to discuss these issues with me. If there is another suitable position in the future, I hope you’ll keep me in mind.”

See more interview tips:

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Asking for feedback after job rejection is welcome, but only when you have cleared all your negative thoughts and are ready to view any constructive criticism as a learning opportunity. Jot down every helpful feedback, and ensure you have addressed your current weaknesses properly before moving on to the next interview.

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Christina J Colclough

Christina J. Colclough

Dr Christina J. Colclough is an expert on The Future World of Work and the politics of digital technology advocating globally for the importance of the workers’ voice. She has extensive regional and global labour movement experience, is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach, and strategist advising progressive governments and worker organisations.

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