Oct 08

Didn’t get the job? Here’s what to do.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


It’s happened to all of us. You interview for an opportunity, but get the call or email saying you’re no longer being considered for the role. What should you do? How should you respond? The steps you take could make a difference.

The first step is to reflect on how you personally feel the interview went. Were you confident in all of your answers, or did you feel like you had to stumble through some of them? Did you feel like you made a good connection with the interviewer, or did they seem cold and distant during the conversation? Did you remember to send a Thank You note? Were any of the interview questions particularly challenging to answer? If so, think of ways you could have answered them differently now that you are no longer in the moment. You can also speak with your Graduate Career Consultant about recommended approaches to answering difficult interview questions, and/or schedule a mock interview to practice them.

The next step depends on what information you received from the employer. Did they give you any feedback as to what you could have done differently or improved on from the interview itself? Did they give you any feedback on the aspects of your background they deemed insufficient for the role? Probably not, because most employers aren’t forthcoming with such feedback, instead relying on the standard “we have many qualified candidates” phrase, but sometimes they do. If they didn’t, you are certainly welcome (and encouraged) to seek such feedback. Here is one approach:

Good afternoon, [INTERVIEWER NAME], and thank you again for your time last week and for confirming my status the other day. I have been reflecting on our conversation, and would greatly appreciate if you might share some feedback on ways I could either improve my interview skills or strengthen my background for future opportunities. Were there any shortcomings in my approach during the interview process? Are their deficiencies in my experience, academics, or skillsets that I can address to make myself a more competitive candidate? Any insights or feedback you can provide would be sincerely and genuinely appreciated as I continue my efforts to make an impact on [THE TOPIC OF THE WORK] in future opportunities with [ORGANIZATION NAME] or elsewhere.


Please revise it into your voice, but your goal is to obtain some feedback that will help you increase your chances for success in future applications. Also, you could reiterate your interest in the opportunity or other jobs that might better fit your background. Sometimes if they liked you as an individual but just couldn’t fit you for that role, such a follow up can lead to either reconsidering you (e.g. moving you to the top of the alternate list) or working to find other opportunities that suit your skillsets now that they know how interested you are and that you’re the kind of person who follows through on matters of importance.

More insights into interview success strategies can be found in the interviews section of our website. We are happy to work with you one-on-one to help strengthen your interview skills or any other aspects of your career development. Please contact your Graduate Career Consultant or schedule an appointment through Handshake.

Have you had success requesting feedback from interviewers after being declined for a job opportunity? Share your stories in the comments below!