Aside from the stress of preparing for and then enduring a job interview, there is one more common, the frustrating part related to the interview process. Rarely do interviewees get feedback from hiring managers or hiring committees on how they did in the interview. You spend days, if not weeks or months, preparing for an interview only to receive a generic letter stating you did not get the job (and that is if you are lucky in receiving such a letter). Many companies and organizations do not inform interviewees that they will not be offered the job, let alone provide feedback on how an interviewee did during the interview. Why does this happen? There are some reasons why this may occur, and many of the reasons make sense, unfortunately.
If you get any feedback… just a side note. If you receive a personal letter or even a form letter stating you did not get the job, the interviewer(s) were likely impressed by your skills, demeanor, and overall presentation. This is especially true if you receive a personal letter, notecard or e-mail. The interview process can be a costly endeavor, and hiring managers truly appreciate candidates who are genuinely qualified for and interested in the job they interviewed for.
There are many candidates. For every job posted, companies or organizations may receive numerous résumés and cover letters from candidates, most of whom are not qualified for the job. No more than five candidates will likely be called in for an interview (it’s usually three). While it will be a courtesy on the employer’s part if they would reach out to those who are not considered for the job, but it does not always happen. The cost to mail out rejection letters to those other candidates could be costly, which is money companies would rather spend on current employees, marketing programs, or supplies. There is also a time cost here as sending out letters requires writing a generic rejection letter, copying it, addressing and stuffing envelopes, and finally mailing it. Sending rejection e-mails is possible, but the hiring managers or administrative assistants may think they have more important things to do than sending out rejection letters or e-mails. Some may avoid sending e-mail rejections because they do not want to get angry e-mail responses from the job candidates. Finally, the five candidates who get interviews are more likely to get feedback after their job interview, whether they are offered the position. That is not always the case, though.
They are nice people. Most hiring committees and hiring managers are caring individuals who hate the fact they have to say no to candidates. Out of the hypothetical five candidates, one to two likely had the best skills and experience. The rest of the candidates are often slightly underqualified or do not have the skills the employers are looking for. For suitable candidates, hiring managers and committees likely won’t give feedback because they do not want to add insult to injury, which the managers often feel they would do if they provided constructive feedback to the candidates.
Legal concerns. We are in a litigious society where people file lawsuits against each other. Hiring managers often do not give feedback (even to those candidates interview) for fear that feedback could come back to haunt them. Many candidates have filed complaints or brought lawsuits against companies or organizations for not getting an interview or getting an interview but not offered a job. Some complaints or lawsuits may have merit, but many are without grounds and boil down to the candidate just being angry at rejection. The rejected letter would likely be generic in form and have been first reviewed and approved by an in-house lawyer or Human Resources Department because companies and organizations want to limit the chance someone will sue them.
Asking for feedback. Should you not receive feedback or just a generic rejection letter, or if you were interviewed but did not receive feedback, you have an alternative. You could contact the hiring manager to ask for feedback. This step is especially effective for candidates who were interviewed. Ask what your application or skills were lacking AND ask what made the difference for the individual who did get the job. Keep in mind that the hiring manager or the committee is likely to feel uncomfortable giving out feedback so they may give you a generic response. Your best move is to go forward and prepare for your next interview. Good luck!
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