So you want feedback; now what?

Ange Connor

It’s a common complaint that I hear from jobseekers; I received no feedback regarding my interview and why I was unsuccessful. It’s a fair complaint. You’ve taken the time to submit an application, invested the time in attending an interview only to be told sorry you were unsuccessful. It is only fair and courteous to be provided with some sort of feedback regarding where you were lacking. So you want feedback, maybe you’ve asked for the feedback; now what?

This week I had a situation where I advised a candidate they were unsuccessful. The phone line was terrible and dropped out. I sent the candidate an email offering for them to call me when they were available if they would like feedback. This candidate contacted me a few days later to ask for that feedback. I proceeded to provide this candidate with feedback regarding their interview and the reasons why another candidate was selected over them for the position. This candidate then responded in a challenging and heated manner by disputing the feedback and examples I had provided and argued on and on about why they had conducted themselves in that manner and taken that approach to answering questions.

If you are going to ask for feedback on an unsuccessful interview, you need to be prepared to take that feedback on board and be aware of how you handle yourself in the situation. I have no issues with you questioning, or asking for further context and giving your perspective on the interview but are you presenting yourself in the best light by arguing the point, getting angry and frustrated and disagreeing with the feedback? I think not.

This candidate ended the conversation by indicating they wanted to be considered for future positions. However, I was left wondering if that’s how you deal with feedback, how are you going to conduct yourself in the workplace in that type of situation with a manager or how are you going to manage a difference of opinion with a co-worker? What I was sure of was that we had been right to select the other candidate for the job.

So if you want feedback you need to be prepared to hear it, it’s up to you to choose to dismiss it or take it on board. Here’s how you can make the most of that feedback:

  • Ask for specifics or examples of what you said or did
  • If there is feedback about where you failed to meet their expectations or criteria, ask for feedback and detail about what kind of response or experience they were seeking
  • Don’t just ask for feedback on what you said and how you responded to questions, ask for feedback on did you provide enough detail, did you explain yourself clearly, how was your body language, how did you come across (nervous, assertive, lacking confidence etc)
  • Ask for feedback on the successful candidate compared to you; what aspects did they score higher in
  • Thank them for their feedback

By asking these questions the feedback you gather will be much more useful in helping you prepare for future interviews. If you are going to ask for feedback the key is to make sure you can do something with that feedback, so you need to gather the detail and context of the feedback. If you don’t agree with the feedback getting in to an argument with the person providing the feedback is going to get you nowhere and it’s certainly not going to change their mind about appointing you for the job. Don’t jeopardise your brand and reputation. Instead, share that feedback with a mentor, career coach or someone close to you that can help you work through that feedback and who is independent to the situation. Just because you don’t agree with the feedback, don’t simply ignore it. Sometimes there will simply be a more experienced and qualified person on the day, however if the feedback is around how you presented, sold yourself, communicated or demonstrated your skills, the only way you’ll nail an interview is through better preparation by practicing and role playing.

About The Author
Ange Connor

Ange is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource (HR) and careers agencies. Ange is an ‘ideas’ person and a ‘big picture’ thinker. She loves to challenge the status quo – in fact, that’s how Inspire HQ began.

Ange has supported hundreds of businesses across Ballarat and regional Victoria to attract, engage, motivate, develop and retain their greatest assets; their people. Ange’s unyielding passion and invaluable knowledge of the recruitment and HR industry ensures she delivers the best solutions for her clients.

Ange has held various board positions and regularly volunteers her time to share her industry and market knowledge. She was recently a Councillor for the Victoria and Tasmania region of the Recruitment Consulting and Staffing Association (RCSA) of Australia and New Zealand, and she is a current Board Director of the Committee for Ballarat.

For more useful information, follow Ange on LinkedIn.

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