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Seeking Feedback When You're Not Offered the Job

If you discover after a job interview that you lost the position to another candidate — you may wonder where you went wrong. Disappointed job seekers often ask interviewers for the reasons they weren’t selected and for tips on how to do better in the future.

Don’t waste your time looking for feedback on a failed job interview. You almost never will be given the real reason. Employers have no legal or ethical obligation to explain why you weren’t the one. Instead, they’re likely to offer these kinds of innocuous rationales: “We didn’t feel you were the best fit for this job” or “We chose another candidate who had more experience” or “Company policy won’t allow me to comment.”

Why won’t interviewers take you behind the scenes and share the truth? Here are some of the reasons they give.

  • Legal exposure: Companies are extremely wary of lawsuits accusing them of discrimination. The less said, the less to be sued about.

  • Fast-paced world: There’s no profit in wasting prime hours on a dead end.

  • Discomfort factor: Managers dislike giving negative feedback.

  • Scant information: HR (human resources) interviewers may not have enough details from hiring managers to give helpful answers, even if they were inclined to do so.

When you’re not offered the part, assess the possible reasons you didn't get the job. If you have the requisite qualifications and your performance doesn’t need pumping up, the reason you didn’t get an offer may have nothing to do with you. Square your shoulders and get ready for the next interview!

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