How To Get Interview Feedback

As a job seeker, is it unreasonable of me to expect interview feedback?

How did it go?
I guess no news is good news?
I guess no news is bad news?
Was it something I said?
Did I share too much?
Did they hire someone else?
Did I have too much experience?

(Check email. Refresh email. Check email, again.)

The answer is, no, it’s not unreasonable! It’s also not as easy or straightforward as asking for feedback, either.

Let’s break it down!

jason-rosewell-60014-unsplash[photo credit: @jasonrosewell]

Why You Aren’t Getting Interview Feedback

  • They don’t practice structured interviewing. The ability to give meaningful feedback depends heavily on having structured interviewing in place. What we mean by structured interviewing is a thoughtful interview plan where each stage, and meeting, is planned out in advance. Most organizations either do not know how or do not invest the time to do this and meaningful interview feedback is the casualty.
  • They’re afraid, to be honest. Employers are scared to say the wrong thing. Sometimes they don’t have feedback (see above), and sometimes they do but choose not to share it. On the one hand, if they admit they don’t have feedback, it’s a bit of egg on their face. After all, they told you they’re looking for something specific and asked you invest time in their “hiring process.” On the other hand, if they tell you the truth they fear being sued, or even worse, wrong.
  • They’ve moved on. If a company does practice structured interviewing and isn’t afraid, to be honest, then the reason you aren’t getting feedback is you’re no longer their top priority. When hiring teams decide to pass on your candidacy it’s common for their focus to continue looking forward to the next candidate, and rare for them to come back and invest time in feedback. You know this feeling when the process seems excellent all the way until the end, and then you get a new name or face sending you a template email out of line (as if you hadn’t just invested 8 hours of your time in their “hiring process.”)

How To Get Interview Feedback

Implement the structure for them

Remember, it’s your job search, and it’s your job to make the interviewer’s job easy. One way to solicit interview feedback is to provide them with a structure which facilitates input. Here are two examples of questions that provide the structure:

  • What is one thing I can do differently or better in my next interview?
  • Based on my skills and experience am I interviewing for the right job?

Give to get

After your interview, send a follow-up note thanking the team for the time and request a 5-10 minute phone call to exchange feedback. Never send a message without a purpose (e.g., only to thank, checking in). The purpose, in this case, is to give feedback.

Keys To Giving Feedback

  1. Keep it succinct with bullet points rather than a series of short stories.
  2. Keep it balanced. Share what went well, what didn’t go well.
  3. Keep it real. Be honest about your performance and theirs.

Here’s an example of giving good feedback:

My first meeting was with Sarah. We covered data structures. I enjoyed the conversation with Sarah overall. In short, I felt the first part went well, and I was able to work through the problems she gave me quickly. The second part, though, was more challenging and I needed her help. In the end, the interview was useful because I learned how your team uses data structures. Also, I had an opportunity to collaborate with Sarah.

Second I met, Jim. We covered algorithms…

In Conclusion

As a job seeker, wanting interview feedback is reasonable. Expecting it, however, is not. There are several reasons why employers don’t give meaningful feedback to job seekers, some of which are out of your hands. There are steps you can take throughout your job search and after each interview, to increase your chances of getting feedback, but you should not take it personally if you are unable to do so.

In the meantime, if you’re seeking anything from feedback on your resume to developing your interview skills, we’re here to support you at hirepool, free and 100% for the job seeker.