Home > Job Search > Interview Post-Mortems: Worthwhile or Morbid?

Interview Post-Mortems: Worthwhile or Morbid?

OK, you just got the the call on your IDEAL job, the one where you nailed the interview, where the interviewer all but offered you the job with a corner office, 6 weeks of vacation and a 25% raise, and they gave it to someone else!

How do you feel? Disappointed, angry, frustrated, confused and much, much more. Oh, well, these things happen, don’t they? They had their chance to pick you and they dropped the ball! Nothing to see here. You recall that every job hunt is a series of  “No’s” with a “Yes” at the end, so take 2 salt pills and keep on driving!

But wait? Wouldn’t you like to know WHY you weren’t the final candidate? Isn’t there ANY WAY to find out?

Here’s an idea: CALL AND ASK THEM!

Oh, I know what you are thinking: “How do I know they’ll tell me the truth?”

Are you ready for my answer? Are you sure? Here it is: “You don’t! But if you never ask, you will NEVER KNOW.”

There are certainly better ways to pose this question. Try this on for size: “I appreciated the opportunity to apply for this position, and frankly saw myself as an excellent candidate. Can I ask, why was I not the final selection?” The vast majority of organizations are likely to respond positively to such a request.

Allow me to share some excellent reasons why to follow up when you are an “also ran:”

They think of you one more time. Many candidates are likely to turn on their heels and move on in disgust. When you take the time to follow up, express appreciation and seek feedback, you stand out. Anyone seeking information for personal growth and development is bound to look good. Be that person.

If the first candidate opts out of the offer, you may come to mind. Sometimes their No. 1 turns it down, asks for too much more money, gets a better offer, etc. and the position stays open. By following up after the fact, you are near the top when they “go back to the well.” (By the way if you are offended by the fact that you were not their first choice, get over it!)

You may learn that you were bested by someone with more experience, a key certification, or other qualification that you simply don’t have. Somehow your non-selection becomes more palatable when you realize that you simply could not match the pedigree of their first choice. In addition, you may also identify some training or certification that you should consider to improve your chances.

If you are committing any critical faux pas in your presentation, you may learn of it. Perhaps you did not effectively explain your departure from an earlier employer, failed to quantify your experience, had spinach in your teeth, etc. OK, maybe not the last one, but there is no way to improve your performance without getting feedback.

The Morale of this Story:


Categories: Job Search
  1. missdisplaced
    April 24, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    I’ve tried getting some feedback and most companies won’t tell you anything due to legal reasons. The best I got was “we pursued a candidate who better met the qualifications”

    • April 27, 2010 at 8:11 pm

      It can often be the case, missdisplaced, but we must always seek some kind of answer. We need to be sure to phrase our request in a professional, fact finding manner, and then we must live with the response we get.

      It never hurts to ask.

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