How to Ask for Feedback After an Interview
How to Ask for Feedback After an Interview

How to Ask for Feedback After an Interview

Company Culture, Employee Well-being   — 4 MIN


Interviewing for a new position or promotion can be stressful, but it can also be a great learning experience. Whether you get the job or not, receiving interview feedback from a hiring manager can help to paint a picture of what you did right, and how you can further improve your interview skills.According to a survey by Talent Board, fewer than a third of 200 participating employers said their hiring managers give feedback to candidates after interviews, revealing that, most times, the only way to learn how you could have done better is to ask. How do you go about doing that? And can it hurt your chances of getting a job? Not at all. In fact, it’s the best way to prepare yourself to land the job you’re meant to have.

Should I ask for immediate interview feedback? 

Asking for feedback right away isn’t the best idea. A hiring manager needs time to process what was discussed in your interview and likely still has other candidates to evaluate. Instead, follow up with an email thanking them for their time, and reiterate your interest in the position. Let them know that if there are any other questions they have for you, they should feel free to give you a call. 

Reaching out can’t hurt. If you did well in the interview, it could make you more desirable than you already were. Or, if you didn’t do well, demonstrating professionalism by following up could make your name memorable when additional positions become available.

Asking for feedback when you didn’t get the job

Rejection is hard, but chances are if you do nothing to figure out why you weren’t hired, you may experience it again. Perhaps you talked too much about team accomplishments and not your contributions. Or, maybe you’re not up to speed on the technology the company uses, which you could change by taking online courses. You can’t know what you did wrong or how to improve if no one tells you. 

The best time to ask for feedback is within 24 hours when your interview will still be fresh in their mind. If possible, respond to the HR representative or hiring manager through the same method they used to contact you. If you received an email, respond with a polite “thank you” and ask for interview feedback. If they call you on the phone, ask if you can arrange a time to discuss the interview. That way they can prepare and give more thoughtful answers.

Questions to ask when seeking feedback

In today’s society, many companies fear that giving feedback to a rejected candidate will put them in legal trouble if they indicate a preference toward a certain age, sex, race, or other bias. To make hiring managers feel safe giving you feedback, it’s best to ask questions about how you can personally improve rather than what you did wrong in the interview. That way, they are simply offering advice rather than saying why they didn’t hire you. 

Examples of safe questions to ask include:

Do you have any feedback on my resume or cover letter?

If your resume or cover letter is not strong, chances are they won’t impress the next employer where you apply. A recruiter or hiring manager can share if they saw typos you should fix, or if your cover letter gave misleading information. Who knows? It could even open a new discussion—for example, about how your volunteer work could be beneficial in another available position within the company. 

Are there any skills you recommend I acquire?

Instead of asking if you are missing any requirements for the job, ask what type of professional development could make you a better candidate. The manager could end up explaining that if you just had an additional certification, you’d be a perfect match…which is a good signal to pursue that certificate. Or, they might say that if you had one more year of experience as a team leader, he’d hire you as a manager. Then you’ll know that you didn’t do anything wrong in the interview and that you might be a good fit for a similar opportunity once you have more leadership under your belt.

What could I do better to land a future opportunity with your company?

If you can get advice on two things to improve your chances of being hired for a similar position later, take it. Perhaps you didn’t seem confident enough and should hold your head higher next time. Or, you need better examples of conflicts you’ve resolved at work. Knowing how to present yourself better will allow you to make changes the next time there’s a job opening. 

Asking for feedback after applying for a promotion

Seeking a response regarding your interview is different when it’s within the same walls as your current position. First of all, it’s important to keep performing your best in your current role to demonstrate you’re reliable, deliver quality work, and collaborate well with colleagues. No matter the outcome, you want to make a good impression for future opportunities to climb the ladder.

If you don't get the promotion, asking for interview feedback is the perfect way to demonstrate your ambition. Ask the hiring manager how you could have left a better impression, and what skills or competencies you should work on to become a stronger candidate. Then, ask for help devising a plan to acquire or improve those skills. There may be microlearning sessions you can fit into your current work schedule, and opportunities to gain leadership experience by taking charge of a committee. Or, perhaps there’s a project you can take on that will allow you to prove that you can work autonomously

Chances are, the manager who interviewed you will jump at the chance to help you prepare for a bigger role

Remember, even though asking for feedback after an interview can be scary, the answers you receive can be extremely beneficial. Being able to ask for feedback in every workplace is a valuable skill that will serve you at all points as an employee. 

And if you are in a position to find and/or hire candidates…be open to giving this kind of feedback. It takes no more than a couple of minutes, but it can make a huge difference to the candidate. If everyone adopted this practice, it would make for a better workforce overall—not to mention that it sends a positive message about your company culture and communication.

It pays to build a feedback culture, especially in larger organizations.
HSI Blue Ocean Brain can help your people do just that.