You Didn’t Get the Job — but It Pays to Find Out Why

Looking for work can be a long, time-consuming process, and while the ultimate payoff — a job offer — is worth the effort, it can be a frustrating road along the way. If you’re like most people, there’s a good chance the first interview you attend won’t lead to you getting hired. The same might hold true for the second company you interview with, and the one after that. But rather than just accept those rejections and move on, it might pay to do a little digging and see what caused those employers to choose someone else over you.

The benefit of finding out why you weren’t hired

Why put yourself through the torture of figuring out what you did wrong? It’s simple — to avoid making the same mistakes again, and to take steps to make yourself a more desirable candidate going forward. You might walk out of an interview confident in how it went because you researched the company thoroughly and practiced your answers in advance — things that are generally wise to do. But if you came off as too rehearsed, that could’ve wrecked your chances of landing the offer. And that’s something you’ll want to know about so you can hone your interview skills for the future.


How to find out why you didn’t get an offer

Of course, digging into your rejection is easier said than done, but if you go about it the right way, you might get some answers that’ll help you in the future. Sometimes, companies will send you a courtesy note following an interview letting you know that you weren’t selected for the role in question. If that happens, you can reply to the person who sends that note asking for additional details. Otherwise, you can try reaching out to the person who set up your interview, or the person you actually met with.

From there, it’s a matter of asking for that explanation carefully to get that person to comply. To start, make it absolutely clear that you accept the company’s decision and aren’t asking anyone to reconsider, but rather are seeking input as to what helped another candidate edge you out. Be sure to express your appreciation not just for that person’s willingness to share this information, but for considering you as an applicant in the first place.

Furthermore, rather than simply ask why you didn’t get the job, you might delve into one or two areas you’re iffy on so that you can improve them going forward. For example, if you know there’s a certain skill many people applying for your position have, and you’re not well-versed in it, you might specifically ask if that’s the reason another candidate was chosen. This might help you determine whether it pays to invest some time (and possibly money) into boosting that skill. Along these lines, if you’re not sure how well you came off during the interview, you might ask whether presenting yourself differently might’ve altered the outcome so you know what to work on going forward.

Even though today’s job market is pretty solid, there’s still a lot of competition out there, so it pays to give yourself as much of an advantage as possible. Learning why you were rejected from certain jobs could help increase your chances of landing a different offer, so don’t be shy about following up.

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