<i>Dear Workforce</i> How Can I Help Employees Get Feedback Following Interviews

December 19, 2001
QDear Workforce:

I am coaching our laid-off employees in the area of job hunting. The questionthese people ask most often is how to get honest feedback following aninterview. HR rarely provides this to candidates for a variety of reasons. Doyou have any ideas that I could share with these employees?

- Trying to help, Director of HR, software/systems, Chicago, Illinois.

A Dear Trying to Help:

Interviews are a mutual exploration to discover if there is a fit betweenwhat you want and what your potential employer wants. They are a series ofconversations in which you have the opportunity to gain an understanding of thecompany values, culture, and business issues you can handle for them. Thecompany, on the other hand, can gain insight into the benefits you could bringand whether you would fit in their culture.

Following an interview, people are often interested to know immediately:"What did they think of me?" One effective way to get honest feedbackfrom an interviewer is to ask for it. At the end of an interview, your closingquestion should be: "Do you have any concerns or hesitations about myability to do this job successfully?"

Because this is a question that most people don't think to ask, you can catchthe interviewer off guard and get a very honest response. If they do haveconcerns, you have the opportunity to refute them on the spot and relieve anydoubt immediately, or you can address them in your follow-up letter (whichshould always be sent within 48 hours of the interview). If the interviewerdoesn't have any concerns, you can say "Great, then what are the nextsteps?"

This type of discourse with the interviewer puts you in a position ofconfidence, one that assures the interviewer you understand that an interview isjust a conversation in which you are both searching for the right fit.

Another effective way to get information from an interviewer, if you havenetworked into the meeting or gone through a search firm, is to ask yourthird-party connection if they have received any feedback about you. Theinterviewer might hesitate to tell you anything directly, but may be moreinclined to tell the person who connected you.

If you went through the interviewing process and didn't get hired for theposition, you can call the interviewer and ask directly what you could have donebetter. Or you can write a letter thanking the interviewer for taking time withyou, and stressing that you value his or her input on how you could havepresented better and improved your interview technique. Then say that you willcall in the next week for recommendations.

Post-interview analysis is important in assessing your need for furtherpractice or training. Not only should you seek advice from the interviewer, butalso you should be honest with yourself and ask yourself what you feel went welland what you would do differently or could improve on. It is possible to investmonths in interview preparation and sacrifice the job in the interview. Learnfrom each experience and use your cumulative learning to continuously improve your interviewing skills.

SOURCE: Leslie Bonagura, managing consultant, Drake Beam Morin, Stamford,Connecticut, July 24, 2001.

LEARN MORE: See "What to Do if You're Out of aJob"

The information contained in thisarticle is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, butshould not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember thatstate laws may differ from the federal law.

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