How to Ask for Feedback after an Interview

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The interview can be grueling, but after its over, it’s your best chance to ask for feedback. Here’s how.
Mar 14, 2024 10 min read

The interview process for any job can be grueling, and this is especially true if you’ve gone to three or more interviews for a position. Even though you may feel exhausted after an interview, it’s also the best time to ask for feedback from a future employer. You can seize the moment by gaining valuable information about how you can better shape your approach to future interviews.

In this article, we’ll give you the means to gather valuable information from feedback, including:

  • How feedback can lead to growth.
  • The best time to ask for feedback.
  • How to handle constructive or negative feedback and grow from it.
  • Examples of feedback requests.

How can feedback contribute to continual growth?

In any workplace, receiving feedback can give you valuable information that you can use to get better at the role that you’re in. Whether it’s from a manager or colleague, receiving feedback can help you learn where you are falling short of expectations.

Some of the smartest people in the world use feedback to refine projects, get better at what they’re doing, and achieve success. According to entrepreneur Elon Musk, creating a feedback loop is “The single best piece of advice” he can offer. Musk states this about feedback:

I think it's very important to have a feedback loop, where you're constantly thinking about what you've done and how you could be doing it better. I think that's the single best piece of advice -- constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.

Elon Musk

Constructive criticism and feedback can be incredibly helpful in reaching your goals because it forces you to think critically about yourself. Feedback allows you to look past the idealized view that you have of yourself and it allows you to see your own flaws and shortcomings. This allows you to adjust, adapt, and grow.

Any feedback can be constructive

No matter what type of feedback you’re receiving, whether it’s constructive or even negative feedback, there are kernels of truth in all forms of criticism. Even if you know that most of the feedback you’re receiving isn’t warranted or true, there’s always one thing that you can grow from and learn from to get better at what you’re doing.

All it takes is a positive mindset to assess the criticism that you receive, intending to grow from it.

When is the best time to ask for feedback after an interview?

It’s important to understand that most recruiters or interviewers won’t provide feedback unless you ask them for it. The simple reason is that they’ve got a lot on their plate and won’t take the initiative to reach out to you. When asking for feedback after an interview, make sure to be polite and respect the interviewer's time. There are many times throughout the interview process where you can ask for feedback, and each time looks different.

It’s best to wait about 24 hours before sending an email to a recruiter.  Twenty-four hours is the perfect amount of time because any fewer and you may look desperate, while any later and the recruiter may have a hard time remembering you.

Asking for feedback after the initial screening interview

Your first interview will likely be a short initial screening interview. You can think of it as kind of a “get to know you” type of interview. In this interview, a recruiter is looking to understand more about you to discover if you are a good fit for the position.

At the end of the initial screening, there is an opportunity for you to ask if you are making it to the next round of interviews. If an interviewer shares that you’ve made it to the next round of interviews, you could ask them, “What are some specific things I should highlight in upcoming interviews that show that I am the ideal candidate for this role?”

Asking for feedback after the second or all other subsequent interviews

Some of the most fruitful feedback you’ll receive will come after the second or third interview that you have. By this time a recruiter has already gotten to know you a bit, learned about your strengths, abilities, and skills, and will be able to give you more focused feedback.

You should ask for feedback after every round of interviewing, focusing on specific questions that you were asked throughout the interview. For example, if your interviewer is focused on the skills that you bring to the table, and continues to ask questions based on your abilities, ask them how your skills and abilities can lead to success in a company.

After every interview, be sure to write a brief email to thank the interviewer for their time. Going the extra mile in this case can allow you to build rapport with a potential hiring manager, as well as show that you will take the initiative.

Asking for feedback after rejection

It can be tough to ask for feedback after you’ve been told that you won’t be receiving a job offer. But it might be one of the best times that you can ask for feedback on the way that you interview.

Throughout the email, you can share that you’re disappointed in not receiving the position, but express gratitude for the opportunity to interview for the position. Below, you can find a step-by-step process to draft an email asking for feedback from a previous interview.

  • Thank the interviewer: No matter what you’re feeling at the time, always express gratitude to an interviewer. They took time out of their day to interview you for a position, and they allowed you to make a case for why you think you’re the best person to fill that spot. So be sure to thank them for that opportunity.
  • Make it clear that you are asking for feedback: Although some people may follow up after a rejection, not every one of them is asking for feedback. Some people who’ve been rejected for a position may try to make a case for why they believe they are the best candidate for the position. Clarify that your goal is to gain feedback to improve your interview skills to be hired for a position in that field. Also, include the word “feedback” in the email subject line.
  • Share that you are disappointed: Do this graciously and appropriately, so that you don’t seem like you’re whining for not getting the position. Instead, you want to express your enthusiasm for the role.
  • Be polite when asking for feedback: Some people may not feel comfortable in providing you with feedback. So be sure to share that it is up to the interviewer whether they feel comfortable sharing feedback. Acknowledge that you don’t want to cross any boundaries, but would greatly benefit from receiving specific criticism to help you get better. A great example is, “If you have any feedback for me, I’d love to hear it.”
  • Express your gratitude again: At the end of the letter, be sure to thank your recruiter for taking the time to provide you with feedback. Including that last “thank you” can increase your chances of receiving a reply.

Things to consider before asking for feedback

Whether a recruiter will provide you with feedback completely depends on the person you’re speaking with. Here are some reasons why a recruiter may choose not to give feedback:

  • Facing time constraints: Recruiters tend to be pretty busy people, and may not have the time to be able to provide you with specific feedback. In addition, there may be lots of other applicants applying for the position, which limits the amount of time that an interviewer has to reach out to each person’s questions
  • Avoiding uncomfortable conversations: it can be uncomfortable to have a conversation where you point out somebody else’s weaknesses. You may never get an answer back on your request for feedback simply because it puts the recruiter in an awkward spot.
  • Staying away from legal risks: Another reason why a recruiter may not answer your request is that they fear legal action. If they share the reason they chose not to hire an applicant, this reason could be used against them in court.

How can you use feedback for future success?

The simple part when you’re looking for feedback is asking the other person; the most difficult part is receiving the feedback and harnessing it to get better. Remember, when you’re receiving feedback, either in person or over the phone or an email, you’re not trying to argue your point and explain why you should get the job. Instead, you are intently listening to what the other person has to say, knowing that you will gain insights that you can use to help you later on.

Below are three ways that you can use feedback to grow:

Maintain a positive mindset

It’s easy to just see feedback as simple criticism, and get your defenses up. You hear yourself start to say in your mind, “I didn’t sound like that during the interview, “or “That’s not what I meant”.

But if you maintain a growth mindset, then you won’t get as down and frustrated when you receive it. Take a second to realize that the other person isn’t judging you and that they’re providing you with something that you need to be able to reach your goals.

Assess your strengths

Whether the person you’re asking for feedback highlights your strengths, you should be keeping them in the back of your brain while you’re listening to the feedback. Maybe you’re not good with problem-solving, but you know that you have hands-on experience with building strong relationships with customers. You may be hearing some of your weaknesses, but be sure to weigh your weaknesses against your strengths.

Constructive self-reflection and goal-setting

Here's the most important part: think about what you’ve heard and create a list of goals. If your interviewer tells you to work on your interview skills, you may realize that you need to research the company more and come up with a more specific list of skills that you bring to the table.

Make sure your goals are SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-sensitive). For example, If you need to work on your interviewing skills, One goal that you could have would be to conduct five mock interviews with friends or family members. You can give your friends or family members a list of questions to ask you, some of which may even be questions that came up in previous interviews.

Examples of asking for feedback after an interview

Subject line: Questions about the computer programmer position at XYZ Robotics

Dear Mrs. Dryer,

I received your email, and I’m frankly disappointed that the position went to another candidate. I believe I did a great job interviewing for the position because I highlighted my skills and expertise really well. Frankly, you’re making a big mistake in not hiring me.

Anyway, I was wondering if you could provide me with some feedback on how the interview went.

All the best,

Jim Waterworth

Why doesn’t this example work?

The author of this email is abrasive pushy, and even downright argumentative with their interviewer. They haven’t said thank you or even tried to build up a bit of trust with the recruiter. They even go so far as to state that the interviewer made a mistake by hiring somebody else. Asking for feedback in an email is not the time to argue your case.

Subject line: Request for Constructive Feedback - Jim Waterworth Interview

Dear Mrs.Dryer,

I really appreciated that you took time out of your busy schedule to interview me last week for the computer programmer position at XYZ Robotics. I was really interested in hearing about your company and the role that it plays in the IT field.

It's sad to hear that the position went to another candidate, but I appreciate that you allowed me to apply for the position. I am really interested in the position, and I hope that if another similar position opens up within your company you’ll consider me for it.

The main reason why I am reaching out to you is that I’d love some feedback on how the interview went, my application, and some growth points for me. I’d love any feedback that you have because it can allow me to grow and get better for the next interview.


Jim Waterworth

What works in this example?

The author of this email is humble and gracious, intent on learning from their mistakes so that they can grow. Not only do they thank the interviewer for taking time out of their schedule to meet with them, but they’re also thankful that they were able to apply for the position. Although it doesn’t seem important, showing gratitude can help you to build rapport and may give you a better chance of having someone provide you with valuable feedback.

Asking for feedback in person after an interview examples

  • Direct Approach: "I appreciate the opportunity to interview for this position. I'm genuinely interested in improving my skills and would love to hear your feedback on how I performed. Are there specific areas you think I excelled in, or areas where I could enhance my performance?"
  • Open-Ended Question: "I value your insights, and I'm eager to improve. Can you share your thoughts on how the interview went from your perspective? I'm open to any feedback or suggestions you may have."
  • Request for Specifics: "I'm always looking to grow and develop in my career. Could you provide specific examples or details about my interview that stood out to you, whether positive or areas for improvement? Your feedback will be invaluable for my future endeavors."

If you’re looking to get help for your next interview, speak with acareer counselor from Enhancv. They’ll point you in the right direction with how to ace your next interview.

Key takeaways

  • Any feedback can be constructive, as long as you have a positive outlook and understand that you can grow from it.
  • Wait a minimum of 24 hours after an interview or receive a rejection email to send out a request for feedback.
  • When asking for feedback, be gracious and thank your interviewer.
  • Be polite when asking for feedback, and acknowledge that it’s up to the interviewer if they want to share some criticism with you.
  • After receiving feedback, write down a list of constructive goals for you to work on so that you are better equipped to handle the next interview.

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Dave Van Kooten
Is a human resource expert that helps passionate jobseekers to put their best foot forward to prepare for an interview. He believes that success can be achieved through going out of your comfort zone.
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