You met all of the qualifications for the job (and then some!). You were confident that you completely nailed “What’s your greatest weakness?” And the interviewer even slipped up and said, “See you soon!” as you were leaving.
Then, it arrives. That dreaded form letter rejection email. Your hopes and dreams are dashed with one quick and generic two-sentence message. So, what the heck do you do now?
While your first inclination might be to throw your middle fingers up at your computer monitor or drown your sorrows in a pint (ok, two pints) of Häagen-Dazs, this is a great opportunity to gain some valuable insight into how you can improve your interview skills and your overall job search.
It would look something like this:
Hello [interviewer name],
Thank you for the update. I enjoyed meeting with you and the other members of your team, and I really appreciated the opportunity to learn more about [company name].
If possible, I’d love some feedback about my interview skills and overall qualifications. I’m always looking for ways I can improve, and I would really value your insight as I continue my job search.
Thanks again for your time, [interviewer name].
Not convinced that you should suck up your pride and ask for feedback? Here are five benefits of sending that email that just might change your mind.
1. You’ll Get Added Insight Into How to Improve Your Job Search
Let’s start with the most obvious benefit. Asking for feedback from people who didn’t want to hire you will give you some great information about the specific things you can improve and polish for your next interview.
Maybe you were a super qualified candidate, but your constant fidgeting drove the interviewer crazy. Perhaps there’s a certain skill set the interviewer thought you could expand. Or, maybe he or she just didn’t think you were a great culture fit.
Whatever it is that led to your rejection email, you should want to know. That way, you’ll be armed with the knowledge you need to knock your next interview out of the park.
2. You Might Learn Something New About Yourself
I remember one time in particular when I requested feedback after not getting a position that I was excited about. The interviewer was surprisingly helpful and thorough in her response. So much so that she told me I had an unpleasant habit of completing other people’s sentences.
I was shocked. I had always thought of myself as a skilled and conscientious communicator. So, I decided to be a little more aware of this tendency. Sure enough, I did this a lot. My intentions were good—I was attempting to show agreement and interest in what the other person was saying. But, I’m sure that it only came off as annoying and interruptive to my conversational partners.
Needless to say, asking for advice and opinions following a job rejection might just point out something that you weren’t even aware of. Unlike your friends, mentors, or even dear old mom and dad, the interviewer really has nothing to lose by being brutally honest with you. So, this is likely where you’ll get some of your most valuable feedback.
3. You’ll Prove That You’re Willing to Learn and Grow—Even When It’s Uncomfortable
How many job descriptions have you read that state something like, “Must be willing to accept and learn from constructive criticism?” A bunch, right?
Well, even though you didn’t actually get the position, now is your chance to put your money where your mouth is. Anyone can say that he or she handles constructive criticism well. But, reaching out and proactively asking for feedback proves that you’re always looking for ways that you can develop, learn, and grow. And, that’s a surefire way to impress any interviewer. On that note:
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4. You Open the Door for Future Opportunities
Although it may feel like it at the time, the job you lost out on isn’t the only job that will ever exist.
So, let’s imagine that this company you interviewed with eventually has another related position open up. Who do you think will come to mind when the recruiting team’s brainstorming candidates to interview? Will it be the person who didn’t even bother with a quick “thanks for the opportunity” email after she was turned down? Probably not.
More than likely, the person who reached out with a gracious “thanks” and request for feedback will quickly find himself or herself at the top of the interview list for this new position.
Just because a door is closed right now doesn’t mean it will remain closed forever. So, set yourself up for success with any future opportunities by continuing to impress this interviewer even after you’ve been rejected. You never know what might come of it!
5. You Can Move on Knowing That You Gave it Your All
There are some companies that have a strict “no feedback” policy to save them from any potential lawsuits. So, you might never hear anything back when you request insight into why you didn’t get the job.
However, it’s still definitely worth asking. Even if you don’t ever get a response, you can move forward with the knowledge that you put your best foot forward from start to finish.
Getting rejected is never fun. And, asking for input and advice afterwards can undoubtedly be a little awkward. But, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s the perfect opportunity to gain some useful insight into ways you can better yourself—and your job hunt!
So, swallow your pride and hit “reply” on that dreaded rejection email. You can indulge in that Häagen-Dazs later.
Photo of woman texting courtesy of Shutterstock.
Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer, covering topics related to careers, self-development, and the freelance life. In addition to writing for The Muse, she's also the Career Editor for The Everygirl, a columnist for Inc., and a contributor all over the web. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she's usually babying her rescued terrier mutt or continuing her search for the perfect taco. Say hi on Twitter @kat_boogaard or check out her website.More from this Author