Seeking Feedback as to Why You Didn’t Land the Job? Good Luck!

Ah, the coveted job interview. You leave the interview room thinking you aced it and alas, you hear crickets.

Cue the radio silence.

If you’re one of the job seekers to reach out for feedback for self-improvement, well you probably won’t hear back with an honest reason as to why you didn’t get the job.

According to a piece in The Wall Street Journal, about 10 percent of job seekers ask for feedback and rarely any of them actually receive it. Part of the reason could be due to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Last year the commission identified discrimination in hiring practices as its main priority. 

Many companies are advised against providing specific feedback since it could possibly open a can of worms into a gray area. As pointed out in the piece by an employment law firm, if a potential employer tells a candidate he or she has too much experience, well that could be misconstrued as age discrimination. Or not.

Then there’s the issue of being too busy; hiring managers have their workload on their plate in addition to adding to their short staff. They may not have time to counsel someone.

The issue of discomfort comes into play as well. It could be an uncomfortable situation the hiring manager would rather have the recruiter communicate and by the time the recruiter gets involved, he or she may not know specifics of the candidate’s shortcomings. Plus, the piece pointed out even if a candidate truly says he or she wants honest feedback, as a job seeker in a somewhat vulnerable position, sometimes constructive criticism could be hard to hear.

One suggestion is company-provided software. Since many companies have applicant tracking systems (ATS), John Sullivan, management professor at San Francisco State University, suggested the ATS can send candidates their scores of how they match up to keywords on a job description and the resume.

He told The Wall Street Journal, “If you scored 90 out of 100, you might apply again later. But if you scored a 20, you know you applied for the wrong job.” None of the companies he recommended this to have implemented it, unfortunately. He mentioned they’re concerned it will generate additional questions or possibly reveal too much information about the keyword process.