Q: Is it ok to contact an HR person you found on LinkedIn to ask for feedback as to why you didn't get an interview for a job you thought was a great fit? I found the guy on LinkedIn and he has his personal email address in his title. It's a very big company and they don't post HR contact info on their site. I feel like I'm stalking or being a pest, but feedback would be really helpful as I move forward with my job search. I'm in my 40s, looking for senior-level/mgr/director job.
A: LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool and can be helpful in a job search. It sounds from your question that you are not angry, hostile and irritated. (Well… maybe a little but it doesn’t sound like these emotions are dominating your thoughts.)
Feedback is often helpful as part of the selection process. Sometimes HR professionals are reluctant to share feedback for a number of reasons. Some candidates express the need for feedback and then when you share feedback, these candidates become defensive and even downright nasty. Some candidates began to re-sell their skills and experience to you when, in all honesty, it is too late. The offer has been extended and accepted.
In your situation, you need to be willing and open to feedback before you contact this HR person. You have to be prepared to receive feedback that may be mixed, with some positive feedback but also some negative feedback.
I think you can send him a request to connect on LinkedIn. If he accepts, his acceptance is an encouraging sign that he might be willing to engage in further dialogue. If he ignores your request, I would interpret that as a sign that he is less than enthusiastic about connecting with you on a post-interview basis.
I suppose you could email him too since he has publicized his personal email address on his LinkedIn title. However, if he didn’t share this email address during the interview process, I would be reluctant to use it.
If you do connect with him, be professional, gracious and thank him for re-connecting. He may keep you in mind for other opportunities or refer you to other HR professionals. It is a small world and you want to leave a good impression.
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Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
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