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Let say that you went in for an interview for a job. The interview was the best and you have done everything perfectly. You even send a thank you message after the interview. However, in a few days you are told that they have rejected you. Is it a good idea for you to ask the interviewer(through email) about the areas that you should improve on(during interview or resume)?

It would make you seem awkward and desperate and there is probably a better way to phrase it but would it be ok to do so?

marked as duplicate by gnat, David K, DarkCygnus, Keith, jcmack Jun 20 at 22:15

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  • I once had an interview where the recruiter who set it up sat in on the interview. I thought it went well but was told that I didn't get the job. I asked the recruiter for feedback on the interview so that I could improve for future interviews and I received a standard "Other candidates had more experience". She also mentioned a few specifics about subconscious things I did in the interview that could've looked bad. So it's a mixed bag. I don't think it seems awkward, just shows an eagerness to improve yourself. – Steve-o169 Jun 20 at 20:52
  • This question might be a little hard to answer. Your interview performance is unknown to us but if we assume that you did very well, the hiring decision might be as difficult as simply drawing a name out of a hat (figuratively speaking). Sometimes being rejected indicates that you will not be able to demonstrate your skills for what they're looking for. My boss told me that before I got hired, they had a round of interviews before and they literally chose no one because all of them couldn't provide any confidence to show that they were able to contribute to the company. – KingDuken Jun 20 at 21:52
  • What type of job were you applying for? Usually, you can get feedback by doing mock interviews with your friends (or other job-hunters). – Stephan Branczyk Jun 20 at 22:21
  • You should want to know how close you came to getting the job. Whether you were employable and just missed out because of another more experienced candidate, or were completely wide of the mark, helps you know if there was anything you could have done to influence the outcome. – Smock Jun 21 at 8:48
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Keep in mind that employers will usually not be motivated to provide you feedback once they have rejected you - as far as they are concerned, the relationship is over. This isn't as malicious as it may sound, it's just business.

In fact, they may be motivated to not give you feedback - even innocent-sounding feedback can be twisted into discrimination lawsuits, and although this may not be incredibly common, it's a risk that employers typically protect themselves from by not providing feedback. Another dimension of risk-aversion is that the feedback may come off as insulting or brutal, if they were honest. How many people like to hear that they're over-confident, or can't communicate simple ideas, or other soft skills gaps? While you may want that kind of feedback, many people would just be angry about it, and that's a risk for the employer.

It's also important to recognize that they may not actually have anything substantial to say in terms of actionably differentiating you from other candidates. Interviews are (usually) about selecting one person for one role. Not being selected doesn't mean you were a bad fit. It just means that there was someone else who was a better fit. Sometimes the difference is incredibly small and often it's intangible and hard to describe. This may seem unfair, but ultimately the process needs to be practical.

All that said, you have little to lose by asking, and occasionally an employer may actually respond - especially if they liked you (but not for that specific role) and may want to keep you in mind for future roles. You can model your question on that ideal scenario:

Hi Ms. Recruiter,

I want to thank you again for taking the time to interview me for the Software Engineer job. I understand that Acme Co. is very selective in their hiring process, and I'd hope to be considered for future roles with Acme. On that note, I was wondering if you would be able to provide me with any feedback on areas I could improve to help my chances of being hired by Acme in the future?

Thanks Again, wilson zhang

I'm editing to add another dimension to this. You did not mention working with a third party recruiter, but if you choose a recruiter who is well-liked and respected by the types of employers you're going after, this is an area where they can really help. Companies are often more willing to give specific feedback to a recruiter, who can then appropriately filter and communicate that feedback to candidates, and help steer candidates towards opportunities where they would be a better fit. Of course, this is an ideal case, and not all recruiters will be this helpful.

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    the lawsuit risk is why a lot of companies only give standard feedback via email. You might try phone. Some People give you better reasons there. – Benjamin Jun 20 at 20:56
  • I thought it had less to do with lawsuits and more to do with just averting potential (hostile) confrontation. – Dan Jun 21 at 14:12
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You could send them a quick notes similar to:

Again I would like to thank you for taking the time to meet with me a few days ago. I really enjoyed talking with you and your team. If you have the time would you be kind enough to provide me with a little feedback on my resume/CV or the answers I provided during the interview?

Thank you,

Wilson Zhang

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Let say that you went in for an interview for a job. The interview was the best and you have done everything perfectly. You even send a thank you message after the interview. However, in a few days you are told that they have rejected you. Is it a good idea for you to ask the interviewer(through email) about the areas that you should improve on(during interview or resume)?

It would make you seem awkward and desperate and there is probably a better way to phrase it but would it be ok to do so?

Do you want to know? If so, then go ahead and ask. The worst that can happen is they don't give you an answer.

I've done this before when I've wanted to know why I wasn't selected for the job.

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