Getting rejected from a job you’d really wanted is never nice. But there is something you can do to make it seem less of a waste; a way to make it into a good thing for your long-term career trajectory. That thing is simple: asking for feedback. It’ll help you learn areas where you (or your application) could stand to be improved. But it can also help you learn what your biggest strengths are, and how best to maximize them for job applications in the future! Here are the best ways to go about receiving that invaluable feedback.
1. Maintain A Positive Attitude
Sounding defensive or overly crushed when asking for application feedback is a huge no-no. It’ll make you seem unprofessional and un-used to the sometimes brutal job application process. Taking it personally is a sure fire way to never learn from your failures. And always remember to thank recruiters for their time – if they feel appreciated, they’re much more likely to want to help you out.
2. Don’t Seem Angry Or Sensitive
If you want honest (and therefore useful and valuable) feedback, it’s important not to come across as overly emotional or intense. If an employer feels put on the spot, they’re more likely to refuse to give feedback or to give an impersonal, vague response. If you genuinely want to learn where you went wrong, try not to seem defensive or too erratic.
3. Do It Quickly
If possible, try to ask for feedback very soon after hearing the news of your rejection. Usually, it’s best to offer thanks for them letting you know, then quickly follow up with a question about what they thought of your application.
4. Have Some Specifics In Mind
When asking for feedback, it’s always a good idea to know exactly what you want to find out. For example, you could ask where the employer thought your biggest weaknesses were, what set the successful candidate apart from yourself, or if there were any big flaws or mistakes you made.
5. Know When It’s Worth It
Sometimes, you may apply for a job knowing you don’t quite have the qualifications they’re looking for. Other times, nerves get the best of you and a potentially successful interview turns disastrous. Before you ask for feedback, ask yourself if you already know where the application fell down. It’ll help you avoid embarrassment, and save everyone some time.
It sounds obvious, but once you’re getting feedback, take it on board. You already don’t have the job, and no amount of clever persuasion will change that. Rather than trying to win your employer round, listen and clarify to make sure you’re getting to most specific and useful feedback possible, to ensure a higher likelihood of success next time.
7. Consider The Long Game
If the feedback you receive seems genuinely positive, and your failure was simply a result of a slightly better fitting candidate also applying, consider trying to keep your foot in the door with the company. Be polite during your feedback, and establish your sense of keenness and enthusiasm for the company. You never know when their next position will become available.
About the author: Annie Walton Doyle writes for Inspiring Interns, which specializes in finding candidates their perfect internship.