Illustration for the article titled The Right Way To Ask Why You Didn't Get a JobPhoto: fizkes (Shutterstock)

The application process for a position can feel like a job in itself, especially if it spans weeks or months and you need to focus your attention on completing myriad tasks that you hope will prove valuable.

And when that hopeful pursuit ends in disappointment, you may feel that you deserve an explanation that goes beyond the standard answers, from the negative “We picked a candidate with experience who better suited the position” to the dreaded ” We went in ”. another direction. ”

However, the truth is, you deserve an explanation as to why you weren’t hired. And while you might be embarrassed to ask for one, there are ways you can do so that can help you improve your interview game and land a new gig on the streets.

So you’re asking why you weren’t hired

It goes without saying that you can’t annoy the hiring manager or publicly insult his decision (subtweets or other angry posts on social media are not good to look at when looking for a job).

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Instead, think of the process as an exercise to swallow your pride, especially if the interview process was long and stressful. Your best bet is to send a follow-up email thanking the hiring manager for their time and asking some targeted questions that you think will help you identify gaps in your interviews that you can improve.

Use the following list of suggestions as a starting point; They’re a bit general, but getting solid feedback on these topics will certainly benefit you as you continue your job search:

  • “What were my weaknesses as a candidate?”
  • “What did stronger candidates have that I lacked?”
  • “Are there any ways I can improve my behavior?”
  • “What did you like about me and my application?”
  • “Is there anything I can do to improve my resume and cover letter?”
  • “Is there one thing that I did particularly well at the interview?”

Of course, tailor your questions to match the position you applied for, but don’t make them too complicated. Asking general questions will increase the chances of getting an answer and, hopefully, give you clear, actionable advice.

You may need a feedback session

A company you’ve interviewed with may be cautious about listing your shortcomings in writing for fear of courting legal controversy. If a candidate believes that their application has been discriminated against on the basis of socio-economic, racial or religious origin, they can contact the US Equal Opportunities Commission.

How The balance career notes, more cautious employers could try to avoid this outcome by arranging a feedback session with you. This tiptoe around potential litigation is one reason a company might generally avoid giving interview feedback, but it’s still worth following up even if the outcome is just a phone call.

If you are successful in doing this type of post mortem interview, you can ask the above questions directly. It is a good idea to recognize the hiring manager’s efforts to this end; after all, technically speaking, they don’t have to call you. While the interview process was a tiresome slog full of seizures and mixed signals, technically speaking, the discussion is a favor for you.

AND who knows – you might make a good impression that the next time they hire you, they’ll think of you. Asking for this type of feedback shows your persistence, will to improve, and willingness to learn – traits any competent manager can admire. It’s never a bad idea to ask them to keep an eye on you for future opportunities, and even if that interview doesn’t lead to another interview at the same company, the lessons you learn from them can help you move on to the next one win.