Steph blog image why didn't I get the job

So you’ve finished the interview, in your opinion it went well and it’s a job you really want, only to receive that dreaded news that you’ve “been unsuccessful” or the company “went with another candidate”.  What went wrong? Why didn't they want you? Will you ever get a job you want?

As a recruiter, I love extending offers and helping people take the next step in their career which can be a big meaningful life change but on the flip side, declining candidates is the worst, so I thought I would share my experiences around this.

Naturally you want to understand the reasons behind the decision and the more the company has got to know you, the more helpful the feedback will be.  If you are rejected after a CV screen or initial telephone interview, chances are the initial fit isn’t quite right which could be down to skill set, culture or a change in the job requirements.  In my experience, the most beneficial feedback is after a 2nd or 3rd round interview but avoid asking for feedback that sounds like a challenge, such as "why wasn't I selected?” or “what did I do wrong?” Instead ask for some tips about how you could improve your interview technique for next time. Ask for just one or two pointers which will enable you to improve your performance.

Be prepared though, as employers are not currently obliged to offer feedback and it can be company policy to mitigate any risks of a discrimination lawsuit. To add to this concern, feedback takes both time and effort, not to mention taking more time to share the feedback to the recruiter or candidate which can seem like very little value-add to the company.

Despite this, it’s still worth asking the question, you have nothing to lose after all and it could be incredibly helpful for your job search.

Interviews are a learning process for the employer, candidate and recruiter to help define the search and in my opinion, companies should take a proactive approach as an applicant that didn't get the job but still had a positive experience is likely to report that experience to others, improving the company reputation.

What are your experiences? Do you accept that feedback is not always possible or support the #FightforFeedback twitter campaign?