Dear People Ops:
I've been on the job hunt for the past six months. I've made it to final round interviews at two companies, and both times was passed over for the offer. I've asked for feedback from the person running the hiring process each time, but they say no or don't respond. Whats up? I just want to learn what I can do better!
After investing weeks, if not months, interviewing at a company I understand the urge to want feedback and feeling frustrated when you hear nothing. But I promise you, hiring manager aren't just being mean when they say no to feedback. Let me share four reasons why you're not hearing back, and one reason why you shouldn't take the advice even if you do hear back.
1. Legal Concerns
When a hiring manager gives a reason, any reason, for not hiring a candidate there is the possibility for legal action against the company. In my past life as a recruiter I prided myself on giving feedback to every final round candidates. But after I told one candidate we were looking for someone with "several more years of experience in specific job function" she threatened an age discrimination lawsuit! Wut? Completely unfounded, but it was enough to scare me off giving feedback in the future.
2. Takes Time
Both collecting feedback from multiple interviewers and than framing it in a constructive way for candidates takes significant time. Internal recruiters or hiring managers are measured primarily by how quickly and efficiently they fill a role, leaving limited time to provide feedback. Unfortunately many shortsighted managers don't see the value of a hiring process focused on providing an excellent candidate experience, especially to candidates that don't land the job.
3. The Bad Apples Ruined It
Hiring is, at the core, subjective. Every recruiter and hiring manager knows that. But candidates frequently use constructive feedback to argue for a second chance, I estimate at least 30% of candidates I gave feedback to fought me. From "Did you count my years of babysitting in high school? That experience should count!" to "I never said that, your interviewers must have misheard me" I've heard every reason in the book for why myself and my interviewers are wrong in our judgement.
4. They Don't Have Any Feedback
Or, more troubling, the hiring manager doesn't have any constructive feedback. This is the sign of a bad hiring manager, when they don't push their interviewers to give clear feedback on why a candidate shouldn't be considered. As a hiring manager, I'd push my interviewers beyond subjective reasons that leave room for bias like "not a culture fit" to deeper and more quantified feedback like "not a fit in our culture because we are very collaborative and they stated they prefer to work alone".
5. Do you really want their feedback?
Listen, they've just passed you over for a job. For whatever reason they didn't recognize the potential inside of you. While I believe in constructive feedback, is the best person to give you feedback someone who wouldn't give you an initial shot? And most likely the feedback isn't going to be helpful, focusing on things you can't change like "we wanted someone with a degree in X" or "someone who has worked in X industry". Instead, skip asking for advice and instead focus on practicing your interview skills with a friend or career coach so you'll nail the next opportunity.
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