How to get feedback from an employer if you didn’t get an interview

Trying to figure out on your own why your CV failed to get you an interview can feel like an impossible task. Was it because you didn’t have enough experience? Did the presentation of your CV fall short? Was the font not deemed professional enough?

As you can see from just a few examples above, your CV could have any number of mistakes and you may never know. Or, it could simply come down to the smallest of reasons why you didn’t get an interview. In any case, knowing the reason why will dramatically help you increase your chances for the next time.

Most people are afraid to ask the employer why they didn’t get a job, but if you really want to improve your chances for the next time you apply, why not go straight to the horse’s mouth?

“No one likes being rejected, but if you can obtain honest feedback following the rejection, you can use the information to make some critical changes to your resume and improve your job search,” explains Alesia Benedict of

“While your first inclination might be to throw your middle fingers up at your computer monitor or drown your sorrows in a pint (ok, two pints) of Häagen-Dazs, this is a great opportunity to gain some valuable insight into how you can improve”, suggests Kat Boogaard at The Muse.

Here’s how to ask for feedback from an employer:

Send an email

Your first point of contact to request feedback should be by email. This is a better approach than calling the manager directly, so you don’t to catch them off guard and put them on the spot.

If the manager is happy to provide feedback they would prefer to do it at their own convenience. Sending them an email is a great way to allow them some breathing space during the interview and hiring stage. With lots of CVs to read, interviews to conduct and then finally hire, the manager has clearly been very busy the past few weeks.

Phrase your questions in a positive tone

You should never under any circumstances come across as angry, frustrated, or down beat when you email the employer for feedback. This will not do you any favours and will likely decrease your chances of receiving a reply.

You should always remain completely positive and grateful for the opportunity in all of your communications. Not only will this provide you with a much better chance of getting the valuable feedback you’re after, it could also create a lasting impression for any future opportunities.

There is always a chance that their first choice turns down the role or something else goes wrong. If you were second or even third in line for the job, you could still be contacted at a later date.

If you always remain professional, courteous and positive at every step of the process you will open more doors and create a better reputation. Word of mouth can often create opportunities you never thought would appear and you always want to be the first person anyone thinks about when a head hunter is on the prowl.

Make a phone call

If you do not receive a response to your email after a few weeks, then consider calling the hiring manager. It could be that they have just not yet gotten around to replying to you, or it could be that they have missed your email. If they were not interesting in providing feedback, then your call could just push them into giving it.

Again, always remain completely positive, upbeat and respectful during the phone call. You do not want to burn any future opportunities that may arise. Politely request feedback and state your reasons why this is important to you.

“Try to sound calm and professional. You should already be focusing on other opportunities and applying for other jobs,” explains Bryon Clark at Career Sidekick. “This call or email is all about gathering info to help you get hired by those other employers. So you really need to sound like that.”

Most of the time you should expect a good response to your call if you’ve emailed in advance. It’s highly unlikely that the manager will be annoyed at your call, and even if they are you can quickly end it and move on. You have a lot to gain and nothing to lose!

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