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How to Ask an Employer for Feedback on Why You Didn't Get the Job

Understanding the Most Common Reasons for Rejection and Crafting a Polite Follow-Up Email

It often happens that you think an interview went well, but you did not get the job anyway.

You are not alone, that is a common situation, but what you need to remember is that it is nothing personal.

There are many various reasons why you might not get the job, even if you are a qualified candidate.

However, employers rarely share meaningful feedback for you to understand why you did not get the job.

We are here to help you figure out why you did not get any job, we are going to explore the following questions:

  • Why do employers rarely provide information about why you didn’t get the job?
  • What are the most common reasons to not get the job?
  • How to ask an employer why you didn’t get the job?

And we are going to wrap things up with an example email to help you write your own when asking why you didn’t get the job.

So, if you are ready to learn what went wrong the last time you did not get the job, stick around.

Why do employers rarely provide information about why you didn’t get the job?

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When you finish up an interview and you don’t get the job, you most likely expect some kind of feedback, so that you learn what you should improve.

However, employers can never be absolutely sure in your intentions, and so they prefer not to share much feedback.

That’s because job candidates often file employment discrimination claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), claiming they were rejected for a position due to their gender, race, disability, or religion.

That’s why you need to politely and professionally ask for feedback, so that you can get some useful information for you to work on.

What are the most common reasons to not get the job?

There are countless reasons for not getting a job, even if the interview went perfectly well. As we shared earlier, it is nothing personal.

Let’s go through the most common reasons why candidates don’t get the job they interviewed for.

You are better suited for another position

It often happens that you get rejected not because you are not qualified, but because you are better suited for another position, but there is no opening there.

Take the time and think about your professional background and skill set, so that you can determine if you are actually applying for the right job for you.

Employers often have a specific candidate profile in mind when opening a position and interviewing for it, and you will have better chances to get the job when you apply for jobs within your expertise.

Someone was more qualified

Even if you are qualified enough for the job and fulfill all the requirements, there is no guarantee you will get the job.

The fact is, there is always a chance that there is another candidate for the position who has slightly more experience than you.

You need to be better prepared for the interview

Even though you would want to look natural in your interview, you should still prepare and practice your answers beforehand.

Doing this preparation can help you out during your interview, as you will appear calm and confident, which can only make you look prepared.

If you find it difficult to answer many of the interviewer’s questions, that is a clear sign that you need to prepare more for your next interview.

You need to improve your online presence

After the interview, the recruiter will most likely check out your online profiles.

That’s the reason you need to either make your social media accounts private, or make sure you look professional.

Be mindful of what you post, as well as what you comment on other people’s posts.

How to ask an employer why you didn't get the job?

Now that you understand why employers rarely provide feedback, and what are the most common reasons to not get the job, it is time to understand how you can get their feedback on the topic.

Remember that there is a better chance for you to receive feedback if you present a genuine interest in improving your job search communication. Stay away from asking directly why you weren’t hired.

To get the best result, you just need to follow a few simple steps.

Think about the interview

Before contacting the interviewer for feedback, you need to really think about how the interview actually went.

Think about the following questions:

  • How did you respond to the interviewer’s questions?
  • How did you act throughout the interview?
  • Did you create a good connection with the interviewer?
  • What areas could you improve in?
  • Did the conversation feel natural, and to what extent?
  • How much time did you use to prepare for your interview?

Send a follow-up email, asking about feedback

It might be tough for you to write a professional email after not getting the job you wanted, but that is an important part of growing up professionally.

The employer might have other open positions in the near future, so you would want to continue being polite.

In that follow-up email you need to ask politely about any feedback they can provide you, and get some more information about why you didn’t get the job.

By learning the employer’s honest opinion, you can improve your chances of getting a job in the future.

Reply to their feedback and think about what they are saying

After receiving the employer’s feedback on why you didn’t get the job, make sure you don’t leave them hanging – take the time to write a professional reply.

Of course, don’t feel pressured to answer right away.

You can take up to one week to process their feedback, and reply after that.

In this email, make sure you thank them for providing feedback, and assure them you are going to improve yourself using their feedback, if you want them to consider you for any open positions in the future.

Example email for asking why you didn’t get the job

Now that you know how to ask why you didn’t get the job, it would be useful for you to see some examples of how to do so.

We have ready for you two examples – one for your initial follow-up email asking for feedback, and one for a response to their feedback email.

Example follow-up email asking for feedback

Dear Ms Doe,

Thank you for taking the time to interview me for your marketing specialist position. I appreciated the opportunity to discuss the job with you, along with my qualifications and experience in the field. Although I was eager to work together, I appreciate you letting me know you have selected another candidate for the position.

Since I can see that you have quite the experience in the hiring process, I would like to ask you for any feedback you can give me about why I didn’t get the job, and what I should work on more in the future.

I am open to discuss this feedback over email, or over the phone.

Thanks for your time,

John Doe

Example response to their feedback

Hi Ms Doe,

Thank you for taking the time to give me your thoughtful feedback. I have spent some significant time thinking about your feedback, and I look forward to applying it in the future. I truly appreciate you helping me improve as a candidate. If any other marketing specialist positions open up in your company, I would love to apply.

Thank you again,

John Doe

Takeaways

We are all done, now you know how to ask why you didn’t get the job.

Let’s do a quick recap to make sure you have the greatest chance for receiving a feedback from the employer, you need to:

  • Think about the interview – analyze its different aspects and think about whether you could have done something better
  • Send a follow-up email, asking about feedback – it might be hard, but it is part of growing professionally. Make sure your email is polite and professional
  • Reply to their feedback and think about what they are saying – thank the employer for their feedback and really try to use it to improve yourself in the future

Check out our example emails one last time, and get ready to improve yourself as a candidate.

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Volen Vulkov
Volen Vulkov is a resume expert and the co-founder of Enhancv. He applies his deep knowledge and experience to write about a career change, development, and how to stand out in the job application process.
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