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Typically, some days after a job interview, the HR person calls you and asks for your opinion on the interview.

  • What are good responding phrases to this?
  • Which aspects should be considered in my answer?

What about if you made a mistake? Should you mention that? Or should you not since if they are calling you then that means you are still in the game. Otherwise, they send would send an e-mail to reject you.

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  • 7
    Are you sure it's the HR and not the recruiter? Commented Sep 28, 2022 at 6:55
  • I think the recruiter is someone of the HR department, or not? Commented Sep 28, 2022 at 10:09
  • 1
    Maybe, may not be. Commented Sep 28, 2022 at 10:12
  • 1
    Only a recruiter would ask this question. An HR person would know the answer, and the same for anyone who was actually in the interview.
    – Davidw
    Commented Oct 1, 2022 at 3:21

9 Answers 9

48

Unless there is a specific unexpected incident that took place during the interview, I think a boilerplate response is just fine. Reply along the lines of:

"Thanks for asking, it was a good conversation we had. I'm looking forward to hear from your side about the next steps."

Keep it short, keep it positive.

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    depending on culture, I might put some stronger words in there. great instead of good in other cultures, good is totaly fine
    – Benjamin
    Commented Sep 28, 2022 at 9:28
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    Agreed. Stay on the same theme as if a work acquaintance in the hallway were asking you how your day is going - "I'm doing great, thanks! And you?".
    – xLeitix
    Commented Sep 29, 2022 at 12:34
  • While I don't disagree that "everything was fine/good/great" may be safe for the interviewee. It may also backfire. The follow-up question may be the vehicle that the company is trying to use to improve the process (and/or gauge your interest). If they believe something went badly (e.g. interruption/schedule conflict), your viability as a candidate may go down as a result of minimizing. The best hires are people who identify and address issues - quickly, concisely and tactfully. Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 22:28
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The purpose of the question is to gauge your level of interest/engagement and to determine whether you are serious about this or just kicking tires. If you are seriously interested in getting the job, I would NOT recommend a cookie cutter answer since it basically signals to the asker that you are ambivalent and non-committal about the opportunity.

A better answer would reference specific details of the interview and any follow up work that you have done as a result of this. Something like

Thanks, I really enjoyed experience, especially taking to Bob about the business outlook which was very exciting. I've since researched some of the competitors business statements and I think that you are in a great place to be successful

That signals, that you are actively engaging and not just sitting on your butt waiting for the next step to happen.

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    "I've since researched some of the competitors business statements and I think that you are in a great place to be successful" - that's really weird though. They're interviewing you for a job, not asking to validate their modus operandi.
    – CodeCaster
    Commented Sep 28, 2022 at 22:08
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    @CodeCaster while you're correct about interviewing for a job, I've found companies to also want their staff to believe in and validate their business, and be switched on enough to understand the competition. So I think it really does help in the hiring process
    – coagmano
    Commented Sep 29, 2022 at 0:28
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    The appropriate answer depends on the job offer. For a technical IT job (the kind I conduct job interviews for), the answer quoted in the question would signal me that the candidate is wanting to move out of technical tasks into business development, at the first opportunity. And that would be a negative for me w.r.t. my objectives when hiring. OTOH, if the candidate tells me that what we discussed was interesting, that they researched that (or just that they finished a test assignment that was given to them and they did not manage to finish, which is a most common outcome), it would be a +.
    – fgrieu
    Commented Sep 29, 2022 at 6:35
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    @Hilmar I get it's an example, it's just oddly specific and not something I'd say to any interviewer, ever. I can't imagine interviewing for any role or situation where that would be an appropriate answer. If someone told me "I looked at how your competitors are doing and I think you are doing a better job than them", I'd think: "Who are you, who are so wise in analyzing businesses' operations based on a few paragraphs of text on their websites, and why would you want to work for us mere mortals?". Most "I would say..." answers on this site look like an exercise in creative writing anyway.
    – CodeCaster
    Commented Sep 29, 2022 at 12:32
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    Agreed, it's not a great example. I should probably edit it at some point
    – Hilmar
    Commented Sep 29, 2022 at 19:15
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If it is someone who works at the company I treat it as an extension of the interview. If I want to work for them I am very positive about the interview, the people I spoke to etc.

If it is an external recruiter I am still positive but very generic in my responses. I know some recruiters will use anything you tell them to feed back to other candidates they might have for the role.

If I want the job I don't intend to give others the advantage of my experience.

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    I did not quite understand the use anything you tell them to feed back to other candidates they might have for the roll. !
    – M.K
    Commented Sep 29, 2022 at 8:25
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    @M.K It means if you tell the recruiter e.g. which questions you were asked in the interview, the recruiter might tell other candidates so they can prepare for those questions. This reduces your own chances.
    – kapex
    Commented Sep 29, 2022 at 8:59
  • Ohh I see! I thought the recruiter just found suitable people for a position and "sent it" to the interviewing process, without further or deeper "contact" with the future interviewee. Thanks! @kapex
    – M.K
    Commented Sep 29, 2022 at 9:21
  • "I don't intend to give others ..." and "the recruiter might tell other candidates so they can prepare for those questions. This reduces your own chances." That's a pretty low self assessment. It may be well that the questioner is trying to improve the experience (and acceptance rate) of interviewees. I probably would not offer "I found Bill abrasive and rude". But might say "I was called 20 minutes later than was scheduled." Or the audio quality was poor, etc. As an interviewer I VALUE assessments like this. Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 21:58
7

In my experience there is often a "vibe" one can sense during the visit, and over the years I have come to trust these impressions. Do people seem friendly in the hallway, or do they seem stressed? Are there personal items on the desks? How is the background chatter (is there any)? How do the employees behave when they see you with their boss? Are they making eye contact, friendly-curious? Do you get a coffee? Do you like the people you talk to as persons? Are they competent? Are their questions obnoxious or relevant? Does the conversation move toward possible specific tasks waiting for you, or are they trying to wind down the conversation in a polite fashion?

I would consider putting that in words, especially if you had a good feeling about the visit, the company and the people, and if you would love to work there. The positive feedback I'd give to a third party recruiter and a company HR person would be similar.

Something like

  • "It was a really nice experience, a friendly, welcoming atmosphere."
  • "I had the feeling that the interview went very well, and I think the feeling was mutual. It would be a great fit."
  • "I liked the team leader. She made a very competent impression to me, her questions were exactly on the spot. I was really glad that I had prepared so well (chuckle)."

If the experience was disappointing I would also communicate that, even though some contributors here seem to prefer nondescript boilerplate answers. But I would be very polite and circumspect to a company person.

To a recruiter I might be more explicit. The reason, besides me being German, is that negative feedback can also be helpful. You may say "The interviewer seemed unprepared so that we had to read through my resume together", or "we were interrupted a couple of times during the interview, I think we could not get to know each other very well", or just "somehow the interview didn't go well, even though I still would like to work there. I can't really pinpoint it, we simply didn't hit it off very well."

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  • I suspect you've exactly described why the question is normally asked. Smart companies realize that an interview is a two-way exploration. It's not enough that the company gets a good perspective on the candidate, the candidate must also get good insight into the prospective employer - the interviewers being the source of that insight. In follow up questions I know my name is mentioned positively and the result is that I am scheduled to conduct more interviews. Less chance of scaring away a potential employee! Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 22:14
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I have a specific experience that can give a different perspective than some of the other answers.

When an in-house recruiter asked this question after a screening interview, I told them honestly that there were some errors in preparation on the part of the interviewer. I did poorly in this phase, and they were going to decline to do a full interview. But, since the recruiter had this specific feedback to ask the interviewer about, they were able to go to bat for me and get me scheduled for a “do-over,” which I then passed. If I had given a warm-yet-vague answer, they wouldn’t have been able to fight on my behalf, and I wouldn’t have gotten the full interview!

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While I think Sourav's answer is the best choice, he did mention, "unexpected incident." I want to expand on that. Whether or not the request comes from internal HR or a recruiter, and depending on your gut feeling, letting them know something was wrong with the interview might be in order. For example, I have been on interviews where the interviewers were unprepared, uninterested, the job description didnt match the interview, and other negative things. Letting them know will hopefully fix these issues going forward.

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    Why do you think giving a boilerplate, pleasing answer to a question is the best choice?
    – CodeCaster
    Commented Sep 28, 2022 at 21:37
  • @CodeCaster Because its the safe choice. However, if you feel like there really was an issue, then you might want to consider pointing out the problem.
    – Keltari
    Commented Sep 28, 2022 at 21:57
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    I don't think it's safe, see Hilmar's answer. While I agree with the rest of your answer, the first half sentence got me commenting. Then again, the question starts with "typically", describing behavior that's not typical at all but very culturally dependent. If the culture in question is one of saying "yes" and "please" to everything, it might be wise to do so. I would be blunt and honest, but then again, that's expected in my culture. The last thing I would answer here was a canned response without knowing anything about how the interview went.
    – CodeCaster
    Commented Sep 28, 2022 at 22:06
2

The more specific the question, the more useful the answer.

If the outreach is done by the HR then this could be an attempt by the employer to solicit feedback from job candidates, as part of an effort to improve the interview process.

A safe yet proactive strategy in this case is to appear open and helpful: "Overall I think it well well, giving me an opportunity to showcase my strengths while also learning more about the company and the potential fit. Are there any aspects in particular you are curious about?"

The last part is key. Yes, you are answering with a question, but this achieves two goals at once:

  1. Gives them an opportunity to 'unpack' their question and make it more specific.
  2. Buys you time to collect your thoughts and memories about the interview.

Even if that's all they wanted to know and have no further questions, they are walking away with an understanding that you had a positive and productive interview experience (assuming that it was).

More importantly, such response communicates that you are open and willing to help while forcing them to be more constructive about the feedback they seek, rather than put you on the spot and sit back.

Instead of a question-answer interaction, it creates a partnership space where both you and the solicitor are now collaborating around their goal of learning more about your interview experience.

It also makes an impression of you as a candidate who thinks before s/he talks. Good luck!

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    Brilliant, insightful answer. It also provides an opportunity for the interviewee to highlight that they are insightful and tactful. And the phrasing is perfect because the person asking may really be trying to find out if any of the interviewers were particularly engaging or off-putting, or if some aspect of the process was thorny or helpful. For example: "I particularly liked the detailed calendar invitation with times, names and places in it. It made it easier for me to manage in my calendar than just an email (or letter) alone." Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 22:53
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    @SteventheEasilyAmused Thanks for the props and the example.
    – A.S
    Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 14:43
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As a general rule, I'd say this question mostly serves a general politeness combined with a check to make sure you're still interested.

If an internal recruiter (or HR) calls you a few days later, 999 times out of a 1000 the decision would already have been made, and it doesn't matter all that much what you say (as long as you don't say anything particularly objectionable).

If a third-party recruiter calls you either immediately afterwards or a few days later, they generally can't influence the decision, so 999 times out of a 1000, it doesn't matter all that much what you say.

If an internal recruiter calls you immediately afterwards, they typically wouldn't have much of a say in the decision 99 times out of a 100, so it doesn't matter all that much what you say.

There is, however, a chance that if you have a good and acceptable explanation for something you did wrong during the interview (that may otherwise be the difference between getting and not getting the job), presenting that explanation may improve your chances of getting the job.

If the hiring manager/your future boss/etc. calls you immediately or after a few days, what you say could very well influence their decision.


In any case, whether it is or is not likely to change their decision, I'd suggest you:

  • Express that you enjoyed the interview and learning about the role and company.
  • Express excitement about the role and the company.
  • Briefly highlight how you'd be a good fit.
  • Maybe briefly touch on some things you could've done better (but don't focus on this too much, nor give too many details, unless they ask more detailed questions about that).
  • Possibly treat this as an alternative to a "thank-you" / follow-up note, but unless you're speaking to someone from the company immediately after the interview, a separate follow-up note is very likely better.
-1

I think you should just answer honestly with how the interview went, instead of trying to calculate the optimal answer based on feedback from comments on the internet.

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  • without an explanation, this answer may become useless in case if someone else posts an opposite opinion. For example, if someone posts a claim like "I think you should not just answer honestly with how the interview went, but instead try to calculate the optimal answer based on feedback from comments on the internet.", how would this answer help reader to pick of two opposing opinions? Consider editing it into a better shape, to meet How to Answer guidelines
    – gnat
    Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 17:53
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    "Answer honestly" may well be the best answer, but you should explain what makes it the best answer. There are wide gradations to "honest" answers. Q: "Do you like my new hairstyle?" Could have many honest answers: "Yes", "Oh dear it's absolutely hideous.", "I prefer your prior hairstyle", "I'm leaning toward no, but give me some time to see if I it grows on me." "I don't want to answer that question" and "No!!!" (or "No!" or "No"). Each of those may be honest, but each phrasing has consequences. Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 22:43

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