How to Ask for Feedback After a Job Rejection

By My Perfect Resume

Dealing with rejection is hard enough. Why would you want to subject yourself to further pain by asking for the details of why you were turned down? To put it simply: learning from mistakes is critical to self-improvement, so rejection-serving recruiters are in a unique position to make you more hirable if you're willing to ask the right questions. That's why it's always a good idea to ask for feedback after a job rejection.

You won't always receive useful answers, and a lawsuit-wary HR rep likely won't provide you with any at all. But the chance to never again repeat your interview mistakes should be seen as too valuable to pass up.


No matter how near or far you were from snagging the job, any feedback after a job rejection should be requested as soon as possible. If you were turned away after only an initial screening, you're unlikely to encounter many useful critiques, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

If you received a rejection by email, do your best reply within 24 hours. If your candidacy was turned down via phone call, take a deep breath and try to politely ask for advice before the call ends. If you missed the call and were left a voicemail, call back before the end of the business day. If you still have no answer, gently leave a voicemail and politely request feedback at their earliest convenience.


If you're left with options for how to respond, it's generally considered safer to opt for email. This leaves recruiters and other interviewers more latitude in their response and succeeds in not putting them on the spot.

Regardless of communication method, always begin by thanking the interviewer for taking the time to look over your application and for considering you as a candidate. Express that, in the interest of improving yourself as a future applicant elsewhere, you would be open to hearing any available feedback regarding what you could have done better.

You may have less experience than another candidate, or you may have committed a more serious interview sin like not having an answer to a crucial question or blatantly not fitting within the workplace culture. Whatever the offense, do your best to avoid sounding bitter and absolutely never argue with their reasoning or perception of your performance.

Thank them for their time and move on. The combination of being gracious and reaching out in the first place will hopefully leave a positive, lasting impression about your interview process and candidacy, which can be important should the company ever review another of your applications.

More Tips

Getting further is better, no matter what. You might feel extra dejected having made it to a later stage only to be rejected, but there is a silver lining. Not only should surviving multiple interview rounds encourage you based on your implied strength as a candidate, but any feedback after a job rejection will be enriched by your extra time spent as an interviewee.

The better an interviewer gets to know you, the more specific advice they'll be able to offer. If you hung on until late in the process, be sure to take advantage and request feedback.

They may not be able to help you. In some cases, no matter how far an applicant makes it in the interview process, no post-rejection advice may be given. Many hiring managers and recruiters fear becoming vulnerable to a lawsuit if the wrong information is divulged and won't want to take the risk.

In a scenario in which you never made it past the initial application or subsequent screening stage, there may not have been enough interaction for useful feedback to be gathered. An HR rep who performed a screening may not be able to offer much, and if you're met with only an automated message from a "do not reply" email address, there might be little to nothing you can do.

Ask, don't demand. We cannot reiterate enough: it's essential that a request for feedback after a job rejection is phrased as a polite question instead of a demand. This gives the interviewer an out, in case they cannot respond or simply don't want to do so. Not only is this just polite, but again, leaving things on a positive note (or impressing them, even) can only help if you're lucky enough to land another interview with the company in the future.

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