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For many job seekers, knowing how to progress in a job search without employer feedback can be frustrating. Interviewing takes practice, and like any skill, how can one improve without constructive criticism? In addition to possessing the knowledge and experience needed to help an employer’s business succeed, the quickest way for job seekers to become employees is to make a great impression in the application and interview process. For those to whom this doesn’t come naturally, or who are up against the stiff competition, feedback may be required in order to land their desired role.

The simple solution to job seekers’ feedback requirement is to just ask for it. After all, employers should respect an applicant who seeks criticism and takes steps toward self-improvement, right? But there are reasons why hiring managers rarely provide feedback to candidates, as well as best practices for obtaining it. Let’s look at a few of each.

Why Are Some Employers Reluctant to Provide Feedback?

First, it’s important to understand why employers may be hesitant to provide feedback to candidates who aren’t hired. One reason involves legal liability. Regardless of why an employer rejects one candidate in favor of another, if the candidate who isn’t hired simply perceives the reason to be unjust and files a discrimination lawsuit, it could result in thousands of dollars in legal fees, months in court fighting the charges, and irreparable damage to the employer brand just to prove innocence. Often, it’s easier to avoid the risk by keeping hiring rationales confidential.

A second reason is the time commitment. An employer may be looking to fill several positions in the company. Depending on the nature of the positions, each may receive dozens, if not hundreds of applications. Providing unsuccessful applicants with feedback on why they were disqualified could add weeks or months to the recruiting process. Even hiring managers with the best intentions can only help candidates if their schedule and workload allow.

How to Ask for Feedback

When requesting feedback from an employer, timing is important. Job seekers should make a point of following up within one day (two days at the most) to reaffirm interest and ensure their application or interview is still fresh in the hiring manager’s mind. Candidates should also respond using the same method of communication that they received the rejection (phone or email).

When posing the initial question to an employer, job seekers should never ask why they weren’t hired. Instead, they should explain that they are looking to improve in their job search, and are seeking constructive criticism. They should then ask if the hiring manager can pinpoint any areas in the application or interview process where they were lacking and if the manager has any recommendations on how to better showcase their skills and experience when applying to future roles.

Ending on a Positive Note

If job seekers speak to or receive an email response from an employer who is willing to provide feedback on their application or interview, they should always keep an open mind and respond positively. Candidates should remember that employers are under no obligation to tell them why they weren’t hired. Managers who offer suggestions on how applicants can improve truly have their best interest at heart.

Under no circumstances should job seekers act defensively or argue with a hiring manager’s feedback. This won’t change the outcome of the hiring decision and could make the manager regret trying to help the candidate in his or her job search. Also, there’s always a chance that the applicant who was hired for the position won’t work out, and the employer will need to choose a second- or third-choice candidate as a replacement. Or, the company may be looking to fill a similar role in the near future. By reacting positively to the hiring manager’s feedback and showing appreciation for his or her time, candidates leave the door open to consideration for future opportunities with the company.

If a job applicant lacks the qualifications and experience a position requires to be successful, no amount of employer feedback regarding interview preparation or self-promotion will change the hiring outcome. However, for candidates who just need a bit of guidance on interview etiquette or how to market themselves for a particular role, a few helpful tips on where they’re lacking could be all that separates a job search that lasts several more months from one that ends shortly after their next application. Though they should be prepared to politely accept “no” for an answer, job seekers shouldn’t be afraid to ask employers for feedback after a rejection and show they are always willing to accept criticism, continue to learn, and better themselves.

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Sally Fletcher
Sally Fletcher

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Sally Fletcher
December 12, 2023

I would highly recommend agilis recruitment to anyone looking for work. I was contacted a few weeks ago by Chris, who matched the skills I have to an opportunity I was unable to refuse. He was professional and knowledgeable, but also friendly and down to earth. With quick response times, he was able to answer every question I had about the role whilst selling my skills and personality to the company before I had even met them. The input form Chris throughout the process, not only made everything easier but also it took the pressure off massively. I am very grateful. Thank you.

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Jon Ives
December 11, 2023

Chris has done a great job for me. It's most refreshing to have a recruiter that both understands the role being recruited and listens to the candidate's requirements and concerns. Top marks!

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Michael-William Kelly
December 2, 2023

It was great to work with Chris at Agilis to find my new role. He was always on hand to guide me through the process and make sure I was fully briefed prior to each interview. I would happily use Chris to find me a job... although I'm very happy where I am now! M-W Kelly

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Eric Edge
October 31, 2023

Had a top experience with Edd. Sorted me 3 interviews with my preference of company, landed a role very quickly after. Professional + Friendly guy, would recommend.

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Edna Atkins
July 17, 2023

An excellent recruitment experience. From the initial contact and throughout the interview process, Chris and his team excelled. I can highly recommend this agency.

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Brendan Dodge
May 15, 2023

Chris from Agilis recruitment was fantastic. Professional and friendly; from providing the role, to the level of contact throughout the process.

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Jen Cummings
May 15, 2023

Edd was great, I had some bad experiences with recruiters whilst looking for a new role but Edd restored my faith!

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Harry
March 29, 2023

Chris at Agilis was professional throughout the entire process and was always available to discuss any concerns. He also made sure to only flag roles that I would have a genuine interest in. Thanks again Chris!

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Mac Beirne
March 1, 2023

Chris Ellsworth was my recruiter and I was greatly impressed with the level of his assistance throughout the process from start to finish. He provided me with job role applications that were personalised to me based on what I told him I was looking for. If there was any confusion, I was always able to contact him throughout the whole process and ask for clarification which he would then, always happily give. Chris genuinely made me feel that he wanted me to get the role as much as I did and helped me with every step on the way.

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subhash d
May 24, 2022

I had a great experience with Ed and Agilis. Found me a job which was the perfect fit and supported me along the way. Thank you so much for the support Ed.

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Jessica Stafford
May 10, 2022

Had a great experience with Agilis Recruitment. Ed helped me find the perfect role for me in a great business. He also was very professional, cooperative but most importantly, understood what was important to me and listened to what I was looking for. Thank you Ed!

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Arthur Guide
February 25, 2022

Amazing experience with Agilis, a professional company. I have no words to thank Edward. He found a great role for me.

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Miles Jarvis
February 5, 2021

I had a great experience with Ed and Agilis. It was great to have a recruiter who understands exactly what his clients are looking for in a candidate. 5 stars!

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Damian Marchewka
February 2, 2021

Ed was great, found me a job which was the perfect fit and supported me along the way, solid agency

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Nadia Mkinsi
May 27, 2020

Laura is a lovely individual and easily the best recruiter I have ever worked with: proactive without being pushy, professional without lacking sincerity, and most importantly, she genuinely cares about her clients. She was incredibly conscientious in understanding my background and aspirations, and matched me with a role I WAS really excited about. I knew I was in good hands from our very first conversation – and I am happy to say I am a month into my new job and loving it!

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Dean Rudge
April 21, 2020

I worked with Ed when securing my role. It was a massive step in the direction I wanted to move my career in and Ed was pivotal in making that happen. I liked that right from the start he was not pushy, he listened to what I had to say and feedback and he kept in regular contact without bombarding me, using the most suitable form of messaging whether it be LinkedIn, Email or a Phone Call. I would highly recommend Ed and the guys at Agilis - keep up the great work guys!

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Paul Stonuary
March 30, 2020

A really nice team to do with. Proactive, prompt and supportive - just what you want, but rarely find in a recruitment agency.

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Chris Harvey
March 23, 2020

Have found Agilis recruiting fantastic. Cannot rate them highly enough! Give them a go for all recruitment needs!

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Harry Ray
March 20, 2020

Laura and Ed at Agilis helped me get placed last year, and Laura was exceptionally accommodating and patient, calling me outside of hours when it was convenient for me and keeping me in the loop about everything that was going on. I'm happy with my role and feel like the guys at Agilis really put time and effort into their work -- thank you!

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Tarnea Garvey
March 20, 2020

My experience with Agilis has been great. I found Laura to be incredible helpful and always ensured she remained in contact with me throughout my job search. Thankfully I managed to find a new job through Agilis and the company has turned out to be everything that they told me the it would be! 5 Stars from me!!

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Alex Dewey
March 19, 2020

Great experience with Agilis. Following relocating to Bristol I’d found myself having conversations with a couple members of the team. I’d expressed how important it was for me to find the right role but also due to circumstance I needed the process to be accelerated as much as possible. Laura was my main point of contact and managed to find me the best role I’ve ever had in what must be record time. I couldn’t rate their work higher and will definitely be my first point of contact when looking for new opportunities. Thanks again!

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Harry Rossiter
March 19, 2020