How to Ask for Feedback After an Interview

To get the job, you have to ace the interview. Learn how to get a critique of your performance and move ahead.

How to Ask for Feedback After an Interview

How did your interview go?

You know the feeling: that moment in the interview when you realize the opportunity has passed you by. Or perhaps you think you're interviewing well, but you aren't getting any results. You need to figure out what you are doing wrong and fix it ASAP. But where do you start? We have some ideas for how to ask for feedback after an interview.

Third-party headhunters and recruitment agencies often provide invaluable feedback when they interview you or send you on interviews. But there are also ways you can determine how to improve your interview performance if you're going it alone. Use these tips.

Start With the Foundation

Step one of learning how to ask for feedback after an interview is to figure out where you're going astray. Ask yourself:

  • Are you interviewing for the right jobs? Just because you've been chosen for an interview doesn't mean you are a viable candidate.

  • If you are indeed interviewing for the right kinds of jobs, how prepared have you been?

While these two points may seem obvious, they explain a large portion of poor performance in interviews. Also, remember that you are being judged on different facets of your performance, such as:

  • your interviewing manners and interview attire

  • your level of preparedness

  • the quality of your answers and how well they match the job requirements

  • the way you deliver your interview answers, as well as your confidence and poise under pressure

  • your overall package

Three Approaches to Asking for Feedback After an Interview

Other than going directly to the hiring company, there are three ways to get feedback on how well you interview:

  • Self-evaluation: Think about the interview questions and your responses. Look at the list above, and be brutally honest with yourself. Take your self-evaluation a step further by videotaping yourself responding to a series of key questions. Review your performance. What do you see?

  • Peer evaluation: Seek out the eyes and ears of a trusted friend or significant other who will be honest with you. Role-play the interview by giving your helper a specific job posting and a list of questions. Instruct him to ask the questions randomly and to even make up some of his own. You can also ask your helper to watch your self-made video.

    Once you are done, really listen to your helper's comments. Don't be defensive. Take notes. You may hear different sorts of feedback. For example, perhaps you weren't specific enough or didn't sound very interested. Work on these points.

  • Professional evaluation: Some career coaches and other career services firms offer interview training and mock interview practice. While it isn't free, if the provider has real-world recruitment or hiring experience, your financial investment can really pay off.

Ask the Hiring Company

Of course, the ultimate feedback is from the interviewers who have rejected your candidacy. Is it possible to obtain feedback from them? Unfortunately, there's no definitive answer. It depends on the interviewer.

So how do you attempt getting feedback from this valuable source? Here's how to increase your odds:

  • Consider your timing: The best time to ask is when the interviewer tells you the company isn't interested. If you are lucky enough to get a phone call, use this opportunity to ask for feedback. If you receive an email, follow up within 24 hours. They might be more likely to give a candidate feedback if they have interviewed more than twice.

  • Ask the right questions: Don't put the interviewer on the spot by questioning why you weren't offered the job. Accept you weren't successful, and ask a constructive question. Ask how you could improve, what your weak spots were, or if the interviewer has any specific advice for you.

  • Strike the right tone: Hiring managers are likely to give you constructive feedback if the question is asked with the right intent. There should be no hint of you wanting to argue a point about your candidacy or that you feel angry or injured.

If you are lucky enough to get a critique, it will likely be focused around your interviewing skills or the quality of your answers. But don't shoot yourself in the foot. Don't go looking for help if you were late or rude during the interview.

Improve Your Feedback, Free of Charge

Now that you know how to ask for feedback after an interview, remember: It doesn't hurt to ask. In the end, it comes down to how much the interviewer wants to help you. This is more likely when you have shown yourself to be prepared and truly interested in the job and you have followed proper interview etiquette. Could you use some help? When you create a profile on Monster, you'll get valuable interview insights and useful job-search tips sent directly to your inbox. From describing your personality to understanding the company you're interviewing with, Monster can show you how to craft strong, compelling answers that will likely result in better feedback—all at no cost to you.