Job Interview Tips Professional Development

How to Get Feedback After a Bad Interview

Written by Peter Jones

So you failed your interview. It was a bad interview. Terrible. You know it; your interviewer knows it. You couldn’t run out of that room fast enough. Now, however, rather than hanging your head in shame, wouldn’t it be good to get some honest feedback to see just where it all went wrong—so you can prepare to interview better in the future? And work out the bugs in the system before trying again?

The first thing you want to do is reassure whomever you’re asking for feedback that you won’t argue with the interviewer, the recruiter, or HR about it. Convey the fact that you’re simply hoping to learn from your errors and be able to present yourself better to the next place you interview. Some companies will not share this information with you—either because they’re worried about becoming embroiled in a petty argument, or worse, a law suit—but some will give you the feedback you are asking for. And you’ll never know until you ask.

Here’s what to do.

Step One: Know you must move on

Explicitly and sincerely make it clear that you are not trying to weasel your way into a second chance. Assert your awareness that, at least as far as you’re concerned, the process is closed. In other words: you know you’re not getting this job. End of story.

Step Two: Be polite and honest

Say something like, “Just so I can do better moving forward in my job search, I wanted to see if you might be willing to share one or two things I might have done differently that would have helped me be more successful in the interview?” You may never hear back, but it’s always worth a try.

Step Three: Be humble

No matter what they tell you, if they respond at all, make sure to be gracious and grateful. You’ll know more than you did before you got this feedback. And it can only be of use to you in prepping for your next interview. This interviewer did you a huge favor by responding in the first place, and for giving you some insight that, when made proper use of, might prove to make all the difference in your future job searching.

Say thank you. Leave them alone. Then analyze the feedback you were given and find the places where you can and should improve.

About the author

Peter Jones