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You got the email in your inbox; you didn’t get the job. Finding out why might be the last thing you want right now, but this is the perfect opportunity to ask for feedback.
New York City career coach Nicole Orisich explains why it’s 100 percent worth it to ask: “Feedback, no matter how critical, is the greatest gift a hiring manager could give,” she says. “Welcome whatever it is, because having a glimpse through the lens of a hiring manager will show you what she—and possibly the next hiring manager—is looking for.”
This step-by-step guide will help you gain constructive feedback from the hiring manager so that the next time around, the verdict is, “You got the job!”
1. Come from a place of wanting to improve.
Asking what you did wrong or getting defensive sends the conversation in a counter-productive direction. Try these questions instead: “Would you mind giving me your feedback? I’d like to improve in the areas I may have overlooked.” Or, “I am open to feedback and always aiming to improve. I would love to hear any thoughts you could share with me.” You can also say something like: “Would you have any feedback for me as to what would make me a stronger candidate?” or “Were you seeking experience in a particular area that I didn’t have? I’d appreciate any feedback you that may help me for my next interview.” And remember to always thank the hiring manager for her consideration.
2. Internalize the feedback you’re given.
If the hiring manager says you didn’t illustrate your ability to do the job as much as she would have liked, for example, then go back to your pitch. Did you have a thorough understanding of the job and did you get your point across? Or perhaps you were nervous and used a lot of filler words when answering questions. What can you do next to calm yourself down before the interview?
3. Act on it.
Once you identify how you can improve, start working on a strategy for your next interview and find resources that can help you along the way. Go through exercises that can help you translate the hiring manager’s feedback into an achievable goal and then break it down into baby steps.
PS: Don’t beat yourself up.
Even though a hiring manager’s feedback is super valuable, you shouldn’t overanalyze every word or let it crush you. Finding a job is a job itself. Keeping a positive attitude throughout your job search is imperative!