5 practical tips to ask for feedback after job rejection

Updated on September 6, 2023
how to ask for feedback after job rejection

Being rejected after applying for a job can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you have gone through a job interview.

Naturally, you might be curious to find out how come it was decided that you are not a good fit for the role.

Asking for feedback after a job rejection is a good way to get something positive from an unpleasant situation. This way, you might be able to acquire valuable information about key skills and knowledge that you might lack so that you can improve professionally and become a better candidate.

Keep in mind that the odds might not have been in your favor. In the USA, on average, over 100 candidates apply for a single position.

Only about 20% are actually called in for an interview. Still, it won’t hurt if you ask for feedback after a job application rejection.

Can you ask for feedback after job rejection?

Can you ask for feedback after job rejection

It is okay to ask for feedback after a job rejection. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get a response.

Most recruiters are quite busy and eager to move on to other job candidates. Once a candidate is rejected, they might decide to ignore them altogether.

Should you ask for feedback after job rejection?

You should ask for feedback after job rejection because you have nothing to lose from doing so. If you were a strong candidate for the position, the recruiter might take the time to give you adequate feedback out of respect, especially if you’ve done a job interview with them.

When and who to ask for feedback after a rejection

Ask the recruiter for feedback immediately after they give you the news, be it through email or over the phone. Do not hesitate and do not delay the question.

The more you wait, the less likely it is for them to be able to give you an adequate and constructive opinion.

After all, you are far from the only person they have interviewed over the last weeks.

How to respond to a job rejection and ask for feedback

There are certain steps that you can take to increase your chances of getting constructive feedback after a job rejection. Here are some useful tips.

1. Remain calm and collected

It’s painful and frustrating to be rejected like this, especially if you really wanted the job.

But it is what is and the best thing that you can do is move forward.

Do your best not to communicate any negative emotions.

2. Trying to change their mind is probably not a good idea

If they have informed you that you have not made the cut, this means that they have already made up their mind and reached a conclusion.

There really isn’t any point in trying to convince them that they should think about it some more.

3. Show gratitude and appreciation

Make sure to thank the recruiter for taking the time to inform you that they won’t be hiring you. Who knows, some time down the line you might cross paths with the same person.

4. Act while it is still fresh

Make sure to ask for feedback as soon as you get the news. The memory of the recruiter should be still fresh and they should be able to give you a more detailed explanation.

5. Give them permission to be honest

When giving you their feedback, there is a chance that the recruiter might not be entirely honest with you, sparing you some of the details that might be hurtful.

Tell them that is okay to be “brutally honest” if necessary and that “you can take it.”

How to ask for feedback after a job rejection email example

If you get rejected via email, make sure to reply within 24 hours. This will increase your chance of receiving proper feedback.

If you wait longer, your profile will likely have faded in the recruiter's mind, and they will not be able to be constructive.

Email is probably the best way to ask for feedback after job rejection because it does not put the recruiter on the spot and they can take their time to craft a helpful and polite response.

Here is a short and sweet example of a response that you can use to ask for feedback.

Hey (name of the recruiter)

Thank you for taking the time to let me know. Can you please give me a few main points of feedback so that I can improve? I’d really appreciate it! And please don’t spare me any details that you think might hurt!

Thank you in advance!

The main idea is to be short and precise. Also, keep the response free of negativity. The casual friendly tone is something that might actually help you get a response.

This is something that I explain in detail in our post on how to write a compelling email to a company.

How to respond to a job rejection phone call

Thank the recruiter for the opportunity and the time. Be respectful and polite. Before the end of the phone call, ask them if they can give you some feedback and directions for improvement.

This gives you the best chance of getting valuable insights.

What NOT to do when you respond to a job rejection

Here is a helpful summary of what you should avoid doing when responding to a job rejection.

  1. Do not get bitter or hostile
  2. Don’t be disrespectful
  3. Don’t beg for reconsideration
  4. Don’t try to change their mind
  5. Don’t come up with excuses

Remain professional and polite at all times, in all forms of communication. No one likes to be rejected. However, this is bound to happen at one point or another during your career.

In addition, don’t argue with the recruiter. This will make you look desperate. Accept the job rejection with dignity, get the most out of it by asking for feedback, and move on.

How to ask to be considered for another position after rejection

How to ask to be considered for another position after rejection

Ask the recruiter if it is okay to stay in touch and let you know if there is another position that is more suitable for your skills and expertise.

This way you will show an interest in the company, which will certainly make you look good.

In the meantime, you should keep applying for other positions at other companies. Here is a guide on how to increase your chances of getting job interviews through regular job applications.

What if you don't hear back from the interviewer?

If you do not hear back from the interviewer, simply move on. They may have too much work to be able to reply to you on time, and at a certain point, they may no longer be able to provide you with proper feedback.

If this is the case, you have no other choice but to accept the situation for what it is and do your best to improve as a job candidate.

My advice on how to handle a job rejection

It can be soul-crushing to find out that you are no longer being considered for a role that you really wanted. And it can be just as frustrating and hurtful if you don't get a response after asking for feedback.

Unfortunately, this is one of the harsh realities of job searching. In such cases, it is important to not blame yourself and move past self-doubt.

Remember that there is always a next time and you can use this opportunity to prepare really well for your next job interview and absolutely captivate the hiring managers!

In case you get a response and adequate feedback about why you are not being considered for the role, then do your best to improve based on that feedback.

In case you were not provided with any feedback, then think about how you could have messed up your job interview by going over the guide that is linked above and using it as a checklist.

Frequently asked questions

Is it common for companies to provide feedback after a job rejection?

While some companies offer feedback proactively, many do not due to time constraints or legal concerns. However, there's no harm in asking.

How can I ensure my request for feedback doesn't come off as confrontational?

Approach with gratitude and express genuine interest in improving. Avoid sounding accusatory or defensive.

Is there a specific time frame after which it's too late to ask for feedback?

Ideally, request feedback within a week of the rejection. The longer you wait, the less fresh the details will be in the recruiter's mind.

Is it appropriate to ask for feedback if I was rejected before the interview stage?

Yes, it's appropriate. While feedback might be more general at this stage, it can still provide insights into your application or resume.

Written by:
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galin office topics square
co-founder / office worker
Alex has been an office worker for more than 10 years. He is dedicated to helping other office workers to achieve the perfect life-work balance through well-being, effective communication, and building productive habits.

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