How to Follow-Up After You Didn’t Get the Job
There are few things more discouraging than a phone call or email advising, “Sorry, you didn’t get the job”. It especially stings if you felt you performed well in the interview and it was for a job you really wanted.
So, what went wrong? You don’t have to wonder. In fact, we recommend you follow up with your interviewer and ask for feedback on what you could have done better. Be open to criticism so you can understand how to improve your interviewing skills for the next big job opportunity.
Make sure you initiate the follow-up shortly after your rejection. Keep in mind your interviewer doesn’t owe you an explanation, and may be hesitant to provide criticism or the real reason why you didn’t get the job if they sense you are defensive or upset at not having the job. It’s of utmost importance that your questions are phrased sincerely and diplomatically. Don’t directly ask “why didn’t I get the job?”. Also, don’t ask questions that require an answer that could be construed as a personal insult or evaluation. Ask more specific questions that are centered around your skills and experience related to the job you were interviewing for:
- What were the strongest and weakest parts of my interview from your point of view?
- Were there any essential skills or qualifications that you found I was missing for this particular position?
- Have you hired for the position? If not, is there the possibility for me to be reconsidered if you cannot fill the position?
- What would I have to do in order to be reconsidered?
- Are there any other roles that you believe I would be better suited for or that I should target my career search towards?
These types of questions are more likely to elicit a detailed, helpful critique. Keep in mind that you are more likely to get answers on the phone than by email – employers may be nervous about putting their criticism in writing.
Note: This follow-up process should be seen as a continuation of your interview with this firm, and is your chance to make a further positive impression on the hiring manager. It is crucial that you keep a positive vibe throughout this follow-up.
Keep the Door Open for Future Opportunities
After this positive conversation, follow up with a note or email and thank them for taking the time to answer your questions. Just because they passed on you doesn’t mean that you couldn’t end up working for this company later on. You could have been their second choice: It’s not unheard of for the first chosen candidate to turn down the position or not work out after a couple of months, in which case you could quickly find yourself back on their radar.
Understand the Possibility that It Might Not be You
It’s important to know that the reason you didn’t get the job may not have been because of anything you did or didn’t do in the interview. Perhaps they decided that hiring someone was no longer in the budget, or they hired someone internally, or the candidate that was selected had a skillset that you didn’t. In these situations, just move on with your job search and stay focused on the things you can control. They may be looking for a brain surgeon and you are a rocket scientist!
Unfortunately, hearing “no” is part of the job search process. Rather than letting it affect your confidence, know that it is a step towards finding a position and use it as a learning experience and an opportunity to improve your interviewing skills – then wow your interviewer at the next job opportunity!
Remember that keeping your pipeline of sales search activity full makes you less reliant on each opportunity, keeps the pressure level down at each interview, and increases the odds of your job search being successful sooner.