My guess is no because it comes across as pushy/desperate (and in my case, it is). I've never done this. I'm not asking for WHY they didn't hire me. The answer for that is most often they found a candidate who was a better fit for the position.

I want to ask what would it take for a candidate to be hired, what experiences I should have, what specific skills and/or experience are required that I may not have come across during my research, etc. To a degree, I think this is proactive, but my hunch says don't do it.

I have asked these questions on that dreaded phone call when they told me they hired someone else, and they are often speechless or reluctant to share information... but I need to know. Maybe I shouldn't have, let alone contact them myself.


4 Answers 4


You can ask, but I doubt it's worth it. Even in this lawsuit averse time the majority of the time the answer is:

Recruiting is largely a gut instinct thing, they just liked someone for the job more than you, it may not be quantifyable.

You may have done everything right, but someone was just a better fit in the hiring manager's opinion. I liken it to running an Olympic race, you beat the world record by 0.5, great! But in the race also was Usain Bolt, who beat the record by 1 sec, who will remember what you did apart from your family?

Unless you really crashed and burned in your answers, which should be obvious, there may not be a real answer. You may be better speaking to a body language coach to ensure you send out the right signals.


I don't find this inappropriate, and some employer proposed me themselves to give me some advices (especially when I was applying as an intern/junior, many managers like to do mentoring and sharing their vision). However, this might depends of your country/culture...

Anyway, let's look at it pragmatically :

Worst case : They find it inappropriate. They don't answer. I don't think it might harm your relation with them, since they will not remember that call 2 years later if you want to apply again. So nothing.

Best case : They answer to your questions. They might even encourage you to another offer that might be appropriate.

So I encourage you to try, you have nothing to lose there, would it be considered inappropriate.


Is it appropriate?

Yes, it is completely appropriate to ask them about how you can improve yourself.

But, a very few of them generally respond. So, sending a mail requesting mentorship is not appropriate, and would be a huge win if someone decides to mentor you.

And I had a pretty nice experience having interacted with them. I have also written a Quora answer with that experience (I have interviewed for a data science positions, so the mentorship I've got for them is in a similar domain).


I agree that it sounds pushy and desperate and I would avoid doing it. Analyze why you didn't get the job using what info you have. Usually more than one person is involved in the decision of who got hired, and they're not going to have a meeting just so that they can give you an answer. And all else being equal, they might have just flipped a coin on who got the job.

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