“Hello. Why didn’t you hire me?”MGR Accounting Recruiters in
Over the years I’ve done many presentations to soon-to-be college graduates that are starting their job search for the first time. One of the questions that comes up frequently is: “Is it OK for me to call the employer and ask them why I didn’t get the job so that I can improve my interview skills?” It’s always asked with sincerity from someone just wanting to improve their chances. In fact, I remember hearing exactly that advice around the time that I was getting out of college. The problem is, it doesn’t work.
Putting aside the fact that we live in a somewhat litigious society and people are nervous about giving references on someone that actually worked for them, much less telling someone that didn’t get hired what they did wrong, the more practical issue with this approach is that people just aren’t comfortable with the question. Unfortunately the question of “Why didn’t I get the job” is impossible to deliver without it being perceived as confrontational. You may get lucky and find the small percentage of the population that would be comfortable enough to answer with helpful advice, but with most people it makes them extremely uncomfortable to be confronted with such a question.
So how can I get feedback? I’m not sure there is anything you can do to find out from the actual interviewer if there was anything you could have improved, but there are other ways to make the best of a rejection none-the-less. For example, you can write them a note thanking them for their time and asking about other openings within the company. Or, you can write a thank you note or email and ask for referrals to colleagues at other organizations. If the interview process was such that you formed a true bond with the person, you can even add them to your networking list to keep in touch with throughout your search as well as the rest of your career. There are many ways to make the best of the situation and even turn it into a beneficial relationship in the future. You just can’t ask the ‘what did I do wrong’ question.
The next time you find yourself with a rejection letter, just think about what you can learn from the experience and how you can perhaps even continue the relationship in order to still get some benefit.
I wish you the best in your search.