How to Ask for Feedback on Your Job Interview

Two Tactics for Asking for Feedback After Job Interviews

There’s no doubt about it: job interviews can feel incredibly transactional, especially if you’ve had several without getting an offer or finding the right fit for your career goals. But like any other learning process, interviewing is a skill easily improved with practice. External feedback after a job interview is important to understand how others perceive your actions and answers. Plus, it helps hone your technique more quickly than by trial and error.

However, asking for feedback is uncomfortable for a lot of people. This is especially true if it’s not something you’ve done before or often. These tips can help you to get the feedback you’re looking for, either during the interview or after you’ve received a response (positive or negative). 

Tactic 1: Asking for feedback during the interview

Some interview experts are big proponents of asking for live feedback, but it’s up to you to judge the situation. Consider your comfort level and whether it’s appropriate in context. 

An obvious consideration before you ask is whether there’s still time in the interview. While interviewers often leave candidates time to ask questions, you’ll need to consider whether there are higher-priority questions you’d like answered before diving into how you performed in the past 30 minutes or so. 

You should also try to gauge whether your interviewer seems like someone who would prefer to give feedback in the moment, as opposed to over email and likely through a recruiter after the fact.

On the one hand, he or she may prefer to get it off their plate as soon as possible and may appreciate your openness to feedback. Conversely, some people may feel uncomfortable giving you direct comments, and would likely deliver more thoughtful feedback if given the time to reflect after the conversation. 

Try this approach:

  • Thank your interviewer for taking the time to meet with you
  • Explain that you’re always looking for opportunities to improve, both in interviews as well as simply figuring out which gaps on your CV need filling
  • Ask politely if they have any feedback they’d be comfortable sharing in the remaining time in the interview
  • Be sure to include that you understand if they’re short on time now and would rather follow-up on email

Getting live feedback may benefit you by helping to establish rapport with your interviewer (as this type of conversation can make it feel almost as if you’re already working alongside them), as well as potentially giving you a chance to address concerns that he or she raises. Of course, tread lightly if you think there’s been a misunderstanding. You don’t want to come off as defensive, instead, able to respond in a levelheaded way. 

Tactic 2: Asking for feedback after the interview

Asking for feedback after an interview is generally in response to a negative result, as chances are there won’t be much negative to say if you end up with a job offer. That said, even if you do receive an offer, there’s nothing to say you can’t ask for feedback in order to improve your interviewing in the future.

Because it’s generally a more difficult ask after a rejection, this section focuses on how to ask for feedback when you haven’t landed the job.

To begin with, the feedback received is generally be more valuable the further along in the interview process. If you’ve only had a phone interview, for example, don’t expect an in-depth response. In a panel interview, or if you’ve been through a few rounds, however, the team will have gotten to know you and your skillset better. They should have some more valuable thoughts to share on why it wasn’t the right fit this time.

If the recruiter or hiring manager delivers the outcome over the phone, it’s generally a good idea to ask for feedback then and there. Over email? Try to respond with your request in a timely fashion so your interview is still fresh. 

You might also consider these questions/tactics:

  • If you haven’t been given a straightforward reason for the rejection, ask for a few specifics how and why they made their decision. Again, keep the tone light and non-defensive. Focus on your wish to improve – not defending your position.
  • Ask if they can share any details about the skillset/background of the successful candidate
  • If there were specific questions or tasks in the interview that stand out in your memory—particularly if you think they went well—see if you can draw out any feedback. You may have missed something, but you won’t know how to improve if you don’t ask
  • If you’re still interested in working for the company, ask them to keep you in mind for future opportunities as a better fit

While it can be daunting to ask for feedback on a job interview regardless of the timing or method, remember the worst they can say is that there’s nothing to share. So, there’s really not much to lose. Give it a try next time you interview. Chances are, it’ll be easier and more insightful than you might expect. 

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Revised 1/5/22

About the Author

Napala Pratini

Napala is a consultant to early-stage technology companies. Prior to going independent, Napala led marketing initiatives across both consumer and B2B fintech for employers including NerdWallet and Earnest. In past lives she was a ballet dancer and a cancer researcher.