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Would it be appropriate, when asked for questions at the end of an interview, to ask what you could have done better in the interview? I'm not sure if this comes off wrong, or how I'd think of it, of being interested in getting feedback and doing everything you can to improve. It's not anything too big, just a grocery store, and maybe some other normal retail places in the future if this one doesn't work out. I'm in the middle of college, and this will be my first job interview so I really would like feedback to help me improve. So what do you think? Good or bad?

  • 1
    Essentially you would be saying something like "How could I do better in the future as I don't think I got this job and therefore would need advice on future interviews". You're basically admitting defeat by asking the above question. – easymoden00b Jun 29 '15 at 19:34
  • I assume you answered all questions put to you to the best of your ability, so you could not have done better. – emory Jul 23 '15 at 22:59
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I would say that the interview is not the right place to ask for this kind of feedback. It just seems wrong to be searching for that kind of feedback at that point, almost if this interview is a practice run or you expect to fail.

What is more common is to ask for feedback if you are unsuccessful for the job, which is the kind of feedback you seem to be looking for. If you are successful in getting the job, you can ask your new boss directly about it casually some time after you start :)

Remember the kind of feedback you receive will most likely differ depending on if you are or are not successful. An interviewer normally needs a little time to put things together in their head, and they also need to have completed their other interviews to gauge how you interviewed against the other applicants.

TL;DR

Nope, not in the interview. Ask for it later, depending on if you are successful or not! :)

  • @BillLeeper I think Mr. Bill Leeper's answer more directly answers this query. His suggestions give some very practical direct steps to take during the interview that are quite leading of the interviewer him/herself, which is kind of what you want to do if you want this kind of feedback. – Andyz Smith Jun 29 '15 at 22:29
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The most important thing to consider here is whether or not the answer you get is usable or even true. There's little point in asking if you're not going to get an answer that is actually helpful. I'll argue that it is very unlikely for you to get a straight answer regardless of when you ask that question.

Also, there's some nuance to the question that needs to be fleshed-out. Do you mean to ask what you could have done better in the formality of the interview itself? Or, do you just want to know if you're still "in the game"?

In either case, you can't reasonably expect the hiring manager to explicitly tell you the truth. Very few people are comfortable telling someone they're rejected to their face, its hard to do that in a way that isn't at least somewhat hurtful. You might be able to "infer" your status if the hiring manager talks to you about "next steps" or subsequent interviews/activities, but that's not a given. Sadly, the way most people find out they're "out" is by not getting any follow-up calls or emails.

If you intend to find out how you could have done better on the details of the interview, you're really not going to get a straight answer. Hiring managers need to use a limited set of questions or observed behaviors to determine whether or not they're going to hire somebody. Asking them how you did on these particular tests is kind of like asking them to give you "the key" to success in their interview process. If you were a hiring manager would you want candidates to try "game" your interview by being able to "cram" the few topics that you choose to evaluate people on?

There is one scenario, however, where you MIGHT actually get useful feedback about your interview: if you got the interview through a 3rd-party recruiter. Recruiters typically call up their client (the hiring manager) after having sent them a candidate for an interview. They usually get a fairly accurate description about how the candidate performed in the interview. If you happen to have good rapport with the recruiter, you may be able to chat him up later and get all kinds of details. What you do with that info and whether or not you can act on it is another question.

  • Getting feedback from your recruiter always happens after the interview, the OP is asking about during the interview :) – Jane S Jun 29 '15 at 21:21
  • @JaneS, The main thing for the OP is getting useable feedback about his performance in the interview. I'm just saying that's unlikely through direct means (regardless of when it occurs). – teego1967 Jun 29 '15 at 21:25
  • I agree, it's also not really the time and place for it. It's just... awkward. – Jane S Jun 29 '15 at 21:26
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The way I learned to phrase this type of question is as follows:

Is there anything that is preventing me from moving on to the next stage?

If you already asked what the next stage is use that in your wording. So it may be:

Is there anything that is preventing me from coming back for the code test?

That allows them to ask further questions or get clarification on something. They may say:

We will meet and decide, but no, you have answered everything you could?

Then that is good. But if they say:

Well the position is a senior level position and you seem to lack some of the skills we look for in a Senior?

Then you know you answered their questions to the best of your ability, you just aren't the individual they are looking for exactly.

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I wouldn't say it is necessarily wrong, but it would be a little strange. It might make you seem a little informal to the interviewer. If you don't get the job then it would seem more reasonable to ask, if the chance comes by. It might also depend on the interviewer, so if they seem cool, go for it.

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