One of the most important areas to improve when you’re looking for a job is your interview performance. Simply going to an interview and answering a few basic questions won’t cut it in the modern job market. The aim of the game is to impress the interviewers to a point where they know you are the right person for the job.
To help you get to this stage you need to be able to look at the job interview feedback you receive from your interviews, understand what it means and understand how to put the feedback into action. Follow us through this article as we share how to turn job interview feedback into offers.
Most recruiters and hiring managers will provide some kind of feedback to you after a job interview. This information can highlight the areas that need improvement ahead of future job interviews.
Job interview feedback can sometimes be subjective and vague and you might not always agree with it, but it is important to at least consider what has been said and then decide what steps you should take.
How to politely ask for interview feedback and follow up with your interviewers
Often if you are unsuccessful in a job interview the feedback will be provided to you automatically either directly from the employer or via any recruitment agents you dealt with in securing the interview.
In the event that feedback isn’t provided but you have received a phone call or email informing you of their decision, this is a great time to ask if they are able to provide any feedback on how they felt the job interview went. Hearing opinions from an employers point of view rather than your own can help in understanding what employers want to hear in a job interview and how you should look to word answers in the future.
If you don’t hear back at all after a fair amount of time from either the interviewer or recruitment agent this could be a sign of a poor interview and also unprofessionalism on the employer’s behalf.
In this instance, you could request feedback by putting together a politely worded email to the contact you have at the business or failing that by locating an email address for the Human Resources department but be sure to include details of the interview you had and who with.
Understand why job interview feedback is important
Job interview feedback can not just give insight into the answers you gave and the impression you left but it can also identify areas within your skills and experience profile that might need strengthening to make you more suitable and employable in particular types of job roles.
When we are completely confident in delivering that awesome first impression, answering any questions that might be thrown our way and knowing we have the skills and experience needed for the job role, we can begin to put together excellent job interviews and secure that dream job.
Understand the job interview feedback
Feedback from a job interview is a valuable tool in your job search. Feedback can help you understand both where to improve and where you’re doing well. The trick to getting the most out of feedback is understanding what the interviewer is actually saying — which isn’t always as clear as it might seem.
Let’s start with your strengths. Receiving positive feedback is always nice to hear and it lets us know we’re at least doing something right, even if we didn’t get the job. Pay attention to what positive was said and give yourself a pat on the back, job interviews aren’t easy, it’s important not to beat ourselves up over the rejections and remain positive in our job hunt.
If praise was given over your qualifications, skills and work history then this is a good sign that the type of jobs and industry you are applying for are still potentially within your reach.
Where praise was given regarding your answers to particular questions, remember what it is you said to impress and look to answer in a similar fashion the next time you are faced with a similar question.
Let’s move on to constructive feedback which is where the most value can be obtained for improving our job interview performances for the future.
There are limited things that an employer can provide feedback to you on and most will look to keep their opinions constructive. Here are some examples and what you should do to address them.
Feedback regarding timekeeping and appearance
Apart from unforeseen last-minute emergencies, there aren’t too many reasons why you shouldn’t arrive early to a job interview and be dressed to impress. If this is the feedback you do receive you need to act on this immediately. Expensive clothing is not required for interviews and timekeeping can be solved by simply planning better ahead of time.
Feedback regarding your skills
If you are returning to work in an industry you haven’t worked in for a long time or are coming off the back of a long time away from work, it is important that your skills are up to date with the latest developments in that industry, or at least that you are knowledgeable of new developments to discuss these in a job interview to show your commitment to sharpening your skills.
For those applying for work in an all-new industry to them or for youngsters applying for jobs fresh out of education, your skills might not be there just yet.
The feedback you receive around your skills can highlight the areas you need to improve on to be in with a realistic chance of securing that type of job role elsewhere. This could mean going away and doing some research and taking advantage of free online learning resources, or it might require going a step further and acquiring acknowledged qualifications. Upon receiving this feedback you might decide to pursue other areas of employment where your existing skills are a closer match to the job requirements.
There are certain professions where having skills in that area are absolutely essential, but there are many where the employer will provide on-the-job training or be willing to send you on the required training courses. Don’t be afraid of applying for jobs where your skills aren’t an exact match, often a willingness to learn and enthusiasm for the job and company can go a long way for you.
Feedback that you might not be a good cultural fit
If the interviewer doesn’t feel like they could work with you, there’s little chance they’ll extend an offer. Personality conflicts, work style differences and even office politics all play into this issue.
Receiving this kind of feedback is extremely tricky to navigate. Whilst you should respect the opinions of the employer, it wouldn’t be advisable to consider changing who you are as a person to fit in with others. Any act you put on during a job interview will be hard to keep up with if you manage to secure a job offer there.
If you should receive feedback along these lines, take a moment to think back to the interview and consider your behaviour, was you aggressive in nature or argumentative? Did you partake in gossip or blame others for past failings? Things like this can go against you in a job interview so always be careful when choosing your words.
Feedback regarding your lack of experience
The debate over experience is as old as time or like the chicken and the egg if you prefer. An employer tells you that you don’t have enough experience, but you wonder how can you gain the experience without being given the job.
When a job description states so many years of experience needed working in a particular field, this is often subjective and based on the opinions of the hiring managers. Someone with 5 years of experience isn’t always going to be a better candidate than someone with 3 years. The person with 3 years of experience might be more enthusiastic, ambitious and well-read on key industry trends.
Securing job interviews for roles where you have less than the desired years of experience is not uncommon. But going into a job interview knowing this you must be prepared to demonstrate that you have the knowledge and capabilities of someone with more experience than you.
Responding to negative job interview feedback
What might seem like criticism and negative feedback now could turn out to be a huge gift in the long run. Do not react angrily or aggressive towards negative feedback. Remain calm and move on with your job search. Sometimes rejection for a promotion or your dream job can sting but we cannot change the past and other people’s decisions. What we can do is use it as a learning experience to improve ourselves for future opportunities.
Getting better at job interviews takes experience and receiving proactive and supportive feedback can assist you in getting better. For further help with improving your job interview performance, check out our articles; 13 Top Job Interview Tips – The Definitive Guide, The Ultimate Guide On How To Prepare For A Job Interview and 7 Things to do Immediately After a Job Interview.
Our performance in job interviews can fluctuate depending on several factors and sometimes we can be assisted by better job interviewers who help to get the information they want out of us. But by taking the feedback we receive and putting it into actionable steps to improve our answers, skills and knowledge we can put ourselves in a much better position to bein receiving job offers.