Not all feedback you get from applications and/or interviews is useful. There it is. I said it.
I have been on the job hunt and have so far experienced: silence, automated replies and interviews that have gone well which I’ve then been rejected from (among other things). It is exhausting and time consuming.
So what do you do if you apply for something you think you’re perfect for or that you matched every point on their job spec with a specific example and it results in rejection?
Thank you for applying for [x] we regret to inform you that you have been unsuccessful …”
bla bla bla
Sometimes you can be left feeling annoyed and disappointed. You take the time to do the application, you’d at least expect a human SOUNDING reply, right? Especially if you’d traveled for the interview.
Providing you’ve had an interview you are more likely to get pointers from the company/organisation you have applied for. They don’t have time to comment on every application they receive if it’s just stage one unfortunately.
If you have had an interview and received an unhelpful response:
Make sure you pick up the phone/send an email.
Make sure you go to the most direct person and ask them (nicely) for more detailed feedback.
Acknowledge that they are very busy and say “if you can’t provide me with detailed feedback for any reason please would you be kind enough to send me a copy of the interview questions?” I don’t know about you but I find I know as soon as I leave the interview room where I could have done better. If you can have the questions you can note down from memory your answers and where you think you could do better in the future. This is especially useful if you are targeted in your approach to job hunting and not using the scatter gun approach of just applying for ALL THE JOBS!
Equally if you feel you are waiting 3/4 weeks in between stages or correspondence don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or email and ask for an update. I thought it had been ages after one deadline had passed and the week they said interviews would happen came and went. I called to ask them about it, left a message and someone called me back to invite me for interview. Things don’t always go to plan, companies schedule interview dates and things get in the way or they end up being overwhelmed by applications so don’t let key dates pass by without saying “HEY! REMEMBER ME?”
But what do you do if you chase it after interview and what they say seems unreasonable, stupid or you just plain don’t agree with it?
This has happened to me and it can make you feel rubbish. They replied with lots of good points (thanks!) and the only negative they mentioned was one sentence of something I said which they chose to read too much into (question about my career path: my use of “thought about”, “maybe”, “possibly” and “some point in the future” made them think I DEFINITELY HAD THAT IDEA SET IN STONE apparently…) it is important not to take it personally…
In this situation it is time to say to yourself “it’s not me, it’s them” consider; they may have had shed loads of applicants and you were lucky to make it to the interview. They could also have an internal candidate lined up and advertising was a formality. Any feedback they do give should be constructive and useful. Again you’re lucky you got the interview and it wasn’t a waste of time! It’s all practice which you can use to your advantage later.