Feedback. The Necessary Evil


So I have to ask a very important question.

A little backstory, I make it to the final round of interviews almost every time only to be rejected because I "lack the qualifications for success", or because "another candidate has the experience we were looking for".

The question I ask is, how does a rejected candidate properly reach out for feedback? How do I get the information I need to better prepare myself the next time I interview?



  • PiperWilson
    PiperWilson HLAdmin, Member Posts: 47 Navigator
    GGR Staff First Anniversary 5 Likes 5 Insightfuls

    I suggest simply writing back to the recruiter and asking. Especially the person who said you "lack the qualifications for success." That's such a broad statement.

  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 206 Expert
    First Anniversary Photogenic 5 Insightfuls First Comment

    Keep in mind, job hunting is often a numbers game and can feel like digging into a vast black hole when applying.

    1. Organize your approach:
      • Create three folders:
        A) Opportunities you're keen on
        B) Opportunities you're open to
        C) Opportunities that aren't ideal but feasible. Apply to all three.
      • Tailor your resume and cover letter for each category, incorporating relevant keywords.
      • Aim to apply to a set number per day, perhaps five.
    2. Make the most of responses:
      • When you receive a response, approach interviews with enthusiasm and positivity.
      • Amp up your enthusiasm as much as possible!
    3. Manage expectations:
      • Anticipate that many applications won't garner replies, or you may receive generic responses.
      • Recognize that some roles may already be earmarked for internal candidates.
      • Be aware of automated systems that might filter candidates arbitrarily. (Does not have X years of [defined type] of experience? Drop!)
    4. Prioritize follow-ups:
      • Be diligent in following up on opportunities in categories A and B, with less emphasis on C.
      • Keep applying persistently.
    5. Leverage personal connections:
      • Personal referrals will significantly enhance your chances.

    Regarding feedback:

    • Don't expect meaningful or honest feedback from rejections.
    • Understand that rejection reasons may not necessarily reflect your abilities.

    Additional tips:

    • Refuse requests for unpaid projects as part of the interview process.
    • Decline personality tests. If they use them, who knows what else the consulting team sold them on and what the day to day reality is. Most likely a crappy one.
    • Approach interviews as a game with uncertain outcomes.
    • Evaluate if you can envision yourself working with the team and succeeding in the role.
    • Assess your level of enthusiasm for the job; if lacking, determine why and decide if it's a deal-breaker.

    Wishing you the best of luck.

  • Doug Havlik
    Doug Havlik Member, CS Leader Posts: 21 Thought Leader
    First Anniversary Name Dropper 5 Likes First Comment

    Hi @Ajgruber,

    First of all, congratulations on consistently making it through multiple rounds. If you feel like you are stuck, and it sounds like you feel that way, you could ask something similar to the following in the later rounds, in the second half of the interview:

    • "I'm really enjoying our conversation. From what I've heard from you, I'm confident I'm the right fit and can deliver the desired results.
    • However, if there was one thing that my experience and talent might lead you to not offer me the job, what would that be?"

    Best of luck, @Ajgruber!


  • llitton
    llitton Member, CS Leader Posts: 10 Navigator
    5 Likes First Comment First Anniversary Photogenic

    Agree with Doug on this one. When a candidate asks me during the hiring process something like, "Do you have any concerns with my candidacy?," I'm always honest with anything they may be lacking (especially in comparison to other candidates we're also interviewing).

    I want us both to walk away from the conversation knowing that if we move forward, it will be with the acknowledgment that we're willing to work with their current skill set and grow it in the future.

    But, given this conversation, I now realize I should probably make it standard practice to offer that feedback during each stage of the hiring process without waiting to be asked.