We’ve all been there. You leave an interview feeling great, expecting that offer to come in the near future, and you’re met with disappointment when you don’t actually land the job. Although it might be tempting to ask why you didn’t get it, most interviewers will be reluctant to share that information with job candidates. However, understanding your strengths and weaknesses in interview techniques is incredibly important for your job searching process.
Here are some tips for seeking out interview feedback:
1. Practice makes perfect
Conducting a mock interview with a recruiting professional or a mentor is a great way to get honest feedback on your interview style, giving you the opportunity to work on your skills before you head out to try to land a job. You want to make sure you’re going through a mock interview process with someone who’s knowledgeable about hiring for your specific skill-set; the goal is to get targeted, honest feedback. The person going through this process with you needs to be completely transparent about how you answered questions, your body language and your interview etiquette. Done correctly, this real-time, constructive and honest process is a great way to get feedback.
It can be difficult to truly be honest with yourself but if you can break down those barriers, you can give yourself constructive critiques. When you leave an interview, be honest with yourself about any areas for improvement. For example: Was I able to answer every question I was asked? Was I actively engaged in the conversation? Was I lacking any previous experience or skills the interviewer asked about? Was I dressed appropriately for the company and position I interviewed for? You can also go one step further and record video or audio of yourself answering mock interview questions. Being able to evaluate your own interview skills also gives you more confidence as you go into each interview.
Networking can be a way to get honest feedback without connecting with an interviewer or hiring manager directly. These conversations can also act as short, mini-interviews. While networking, you will be telling these professionals about your work experience, your skills and your career goals. In this informal setting, individuals will be more likely to give you feedback and constructive criticism. Talking to experts in your field may also provide you with valuable information about getting a job in your industry, whether it’s a specific skill, experience or approach to work. You may then use this information to cross-reference with any interview that you have already attended. You will then be able to analyze the interviews and ask yourself important questions such as: “Did I hit all of those key points?” or “Do I need to emphasize a specific skill or previous job experience moving forward?”. The more knowledgeable you are about what is valued in your industry, the more prepared you will be for a job interview.
4. Build a relationship with your interviewer
Just because you didn’t get a job doesn’t mean you need to completely cut ties with the individuals you spoke to during the job search process. Be polite and respectful but staying in contact with these people can help you get an understanding of why you weren’t chosen for that position, and also keeps you top-of-mind if a more suitable job surfaces. You don’t want to badger someone incessantly, but sending a polite note to check-in, or connecting on social media and chatting at industry events can help to build and maintain that constructive relationship as you move forward in your career.
Although it’s unusual for an interviewer to provide feedback on your interview when you weren’t offered the job, you can still ask. That being said, it’s very important that you do not come across as angry or aggressive in any way. You want to ensure that you’re making it very clear that you just want to continue to learn and improve your skills. You also don’t want to come across as if you’re trying to get them to change their mind. If you do get some feedback, simply listen and say thank you. Interview feedback can be tricky to get but it’s worth practicing and talking to the right people about your skills.