Job seekers are often curious why they weren’t selected for a job, but it can be hard to find out why another candidate was chosen over you. Employers typically won’t share much, if any, meaningful feedback with candidates, especially if they are fearful of litigation. Learning from past experiences is the best way to improve and land the next job. Asking for feedback from a recruiter or interviewer can provide you with valuable information, but it’s not always easy to get a response.
Ask for detailed feedback
The key thing to do after a rejection is to think about what happened, and how you can learn from it. Asking for and listening to feedback is the most valuable thing you can do when faced with a job rejection. Self-analysis alone won’t paint the whole picture of why you weren’t the right person for the role.
So start by gathering all the feedback you can from the recruiter and through them, the employer. If the feedback feels a bit superficial or generic, don’t be afraid to ask for a more detailed assessment. You put a lot into the process, after all, and you’re entitled to get some actionable insights at the end of it.
Listen and apply the feedback
It’s important to listen carefully to the feedback, even if you might disagree with some of it. Be polite and enthusiastic to learn. While it is disappointing not to get the job, think about the setback as a process, a chance to learn and apply the advice in your future applications. Plus, asking for feedback can be seen as a good networking opportunity as you’ll make a good impression on the employer.
Ask specifically what you were lacking
If it’s a skill or experience issue, there’s a high chance you’ll get a nice response and some advice. This will help you tailor your application, resume, and maybe even the type of job you’re applying for. They may even refer you to another position.
Oftentimes, the final decision for the hire is out of the hands of whomever you were speaking with. The job may have gone to someone in their network, or the position could have been canceled. You might find this out as well. No matter what happened, it’s best to seek genuine advice by asking specific, simple questions.
Refine your search
Sometimes the interview and/or feedback process can make you realize that, although it’s disappointing to be rejected, the role didn’t, on reflection, feel like quite the right fit for you either. Look back over the job specification and ask yourself if you could truly see yourself in that role on a day-to-day basis. If there were aspects of the role that didn’t excite you, the interviewer may have been able to see this too.
Use your experience to help you refine future job searches. Are you perhaps looking at keywords that don’t quite match your ambitions and aspirations? Did the role that went with the job title not quite match your expectations? Did the interview make you realize that this is not quite the right sort of job for you?