One of the biggest frustrations in the job search process is being told you didn’t get the job. Getting turned down is disappointing for obvious reasons but also because you are often left wondering “why?” Generally, you’ll probably be told that while you were great, the company moved forward with another candidate. While it would be helpful to get more feedback, there are a few reasons why you are not getting feedback after an interview.
1. Legal risk: A lot of times, hiring is about qualifications plus “chemistry” – basically the “fit” between the company/team and the candidate. Giving this reason (as well as others) may not be a good idea for the employer. Because it is vague, there is lots of room for interpretation, and candidates may feel they were discriminated against or not hired for reasons that are illegal. Because of this, many companies believe the best thing to do here is say as little as possible which is the least risky.
2. It’s uncomfortable: No matter how many times a recruiter has to turn someone down for a job, they still don’t like doing it. In general, telling someone they haven’t met the bar whether it’s on the job, in life, or after an interview is just the worst. Depending on how comfortable or seasoned your recruiter is, they may be able to give you some tough but valuable feedback. They may not.
3. There’s no feedback to give: I do believe this is sort of like the mythical “it’s me, not you” in dating but sometimes you were really great, but someone was a little bit better. I’ve seen this happen, especially when 2 candidates are both in the final rounds. To get to that point in the process you have to be qualified and have meshed well with the team. Sometimes at the end of the process, it’s splitting hairs and the other candidate marginally gets the role. In this case, don’t be surprised if your phone rings about another job in the next few months.
If you do happen to get a recruiter who is willing to give you some feedback over the phone, try to get as much out of it as possible. First of all, take it gracefully. It won’t be really easy to hear (it never is) but it will be SO valuable. Then really think back to the interview and your style/approach and spend some time thinking about how you can improve it.
If you’re finding that you are going on many interviews, yet not getting the job, it may be worth it to do a “mock interview” with either a friend (the free version!) or a trained interviewer/career coach. I love doing this with my own clients (more about my services here) because we are able to go through a true-to-life interview, but then I also have no restrictions on the feedback or suggestions I can give. It is a really helpful process all around.
At the end of the day remember that (feedback or not), it is a really tough job market out there and so competitive. It’s so important to stay positive and to continue to believe in yourself even after you’ve been turned down a few times. You will find the right role and it will most certainly be worth the wait!