Feedback after an interview

Ask the Job Doc.
Ask the Job Doc. –Boston.com

Q: Everyone once in a while I interview for a role which might be interesting to consider.  I follow-up after the interview with a thank-you email.  It’s odd.  They call me and I never hear back.  I email them a note but I am not sure what happened.  Was the role filled?  How did I interview?  Is there something I can do differently next time?

A: This is probably the number one complaint we hear from job hunters. The old “black hole.”  It is frustrating.  We hear about two types of “black holes.” The first is when a job seeker sends a resume to a company and they never hear anything back.

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The second type is the situation you describe, which I think is of greater concern.  You took time off from your current role (presuming you are employed).  You traveled to the company.  You may have fought traffic, found parking, figured out a new train schedule (or a combination of all three!) to meet with one or more company representatives.  You may have been an ideal candidate or not.  Either way, you should be told if there is a next step or not.  I have a personal rule – anyone that interviews with our client deserves to understand the next step in the process. Maybe there is no next step and sometimes that is the outcome.  However, candidates who take time to interview, deserve to be told if there is a next step (or not).

One question that you raise though are the reasons you did not advance in the process.  What are the reasons for a candidate not advancing in the process?  Sometimes searches are delayed because of travel schedules.  Sometimes a role is put on hold.  Sometimes a company tested the external market and has decided to move forward with an internal candidate.  Sometimes there is someone more qualified.

Honest and candid feedback can be helpful, but not all candidates can truly hear constructive feedback.  Some will argue.  Some will become defensive.  Others will just slam the phone down when feedback is delivered.  There is a risk in sharing feedback with a candidate.

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There are also a handful of candidates with whom we have shared feedback, but they would claim that they never heard back from us.  This is always especially confusing to us.

If you are truly open to hearing feedback, I would email members of the hiring team.  It may be helpful but it also may be difficult to hear.  If we receive an inquiry from a candidate asking for candid feedback, we try to schedule 10 minutes or so to share that feedback.