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Getting Feedback When You Didn’t Get The Job

Posted on by Mac Prichard

Getting feedback when you didn't get the job

After weeks of conversations, interviews, and imagining your life in a new position, you finally find out: you didn’t get the job. It’s tough to lose out, but you can learn from the employer who passed on you. While criticism doesn’t always feel good, the feedback you can get after an unsuccessful interview process can be invaluable. It can give you a clear path to do better on your next opportunity.    

There are proven methods to getting honest feedback after a job interview. Seize the moment to gather the employer’s input on your performance, accept their feedback with grace, and use their comments to help you come out on top next time.

Act on opportunity

You should always frame your request for feedback as a favor. You’re looking to improve and feedback is valuable to you. Tailor your approach depending on the situation to increase your chances of a positive response.

Sometimes the hiring manager will call and let you know they went with another candidate. If you were expecting the call, now’s the time to ask for specifics. If you’ve received an email with the bad news, take a moment to review the email, then craft a respectful response with your feedback request. If your previous interactions were friendly, it’s OK to ask for a followup meeting, but at the very least ask them to provide some honest feedback in an email or phone call.

Once you get the hiring manager to agree to share feedback, ask questions that will generate actionable advice to help you improve next time. Try a few of these to start:

  • Why did you choose to interview me in the first place? What did you like about me?
  • What did you think of my resume? Did it give you an accurate picture of me before the interview?
  • How was my cover letter? Anything I can do to improve?
  • What was your first impression when you met me?
  • Was I qualified to do the job? What skills should I work on developing to improve my chances of getting a similar role?
  • What did you say to your colleague or boss after interviewing me?
  • Tell me a bit about the candidate you chose to hire. How did their qualifications compare to mine, and why did you go with them?

Remain cool and in control

Sometimes, it all comes down to personality. Hiring managers are looking for applicants who can easily adapt to the organization’s culture. In other words, they’ll hire someone they want to work with, whether it’s because they have similar hobbies or the same sense of humor.

There are strategies and tools for professional attitude adjustments, including conducting practice interviews and asking friends for honest feedback. Do you enunciate clearly? Do you stare off into space when other people talk? Do you have nervous knees? These unfortunate habits can be corrected with practice.

If you really want to find out what went wrong in the interview, keep your emotions in check and be prepared to stay calm when things get personal. It’s a small world, after all, and this manager might decide to check back on that promising candidate who’s unafraid of self-improvement.  

Consider your contacts

Go back to your original contact within the company or ask the job recruiter that got you in the door about the possible reasons you were passed over. If you seem genuine in your desire to improve your chances, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting someone to fill you in.

It’s absolutely OK to connect with friends or relatives who work at the company where you interviewed.  It’s not sneaky or underhanded; having someone go to bat for you shows that there are people within the organization who think you’re capable of doing the job and deserve an explanation.

Keep in mind that you might not get the feedback you requested. Sometimes the hiring manager will promise to get back to you and never resurface. Go ahead and follow up once, then let it go. If you approach your request with honesty and openness, you will succeed more often than not. And the next step is the hardest: assess the feedback and start to make changes to improve your performance next time.

What kind of feedback have you gotten from hiring managers who rejected you? How have you used it? Let me know in the comments or join the conversation on Facebook.

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Mac Prichard
Mac Prichard publishes Mac's List and owns and operates Prichard Communications, a public relations agency that serves non-profits, public agencies, and foundations across the United States. He also blogs regularly about job-hunting.
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7 Resilience Tips for a Long-Term Job Search

Posted on by Mac Prichard

You’ve polished your resume, crafted targeted cover letters, and even gotten some interviews. But weeks of unemployment have turned into months – maybe even years – and you haven’t landed a job offer. During a long job search, it’s essential to take steps to stay healthy and resilient.  

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Mac Prichard
Mac Prichard publishes Mac's List and owns and operates Prichard Communications, a public relations agency that serves non-profits, public agencies, and foundations across the United States. He also blogs regularly about job-hunting.
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Don’t Meet All The Job Requirements? Apply Anyway!

Posted on by Ben Forstag

Don't meet the job requirements? Apply anyway.

It’s a common job search experience. You’re browsing through job postings when you stumble on the perfect position. As you read through the description, you get increasingly excited: it’s a great organization with interesting responsibilities, and the pay is awesome. It’s exactly what you want to do. Then you read the job requirements and your excitement fades.

The employer is looking for  someone with decades of professional experience, advanced knowledge in an array of fields, and a valid Ghanaian drivers license. You’ve only got some of those requirements. Is it worth the time and energy to apply? The short answer is yes, you should apply anyway.

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Ben Forstag
Ben Forstag is Managing Director of Mac’s List, where he is responsible for the organization's editorial and business operations. Ben has an extensive background in communications and marketing, primarily in the nonprofit and healthcare sector. Contact Ben at ben@macslist.org.
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Ep. 083: How to Rebuild Your Confidence After a Layoff, with Jane Jackson

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How to Rebuild Your Confidence After a Layoff, with Jane Jackson

Losing your job—under any circumstances—is a painful, embarrassing experience, and it’s natural to be upset. You may feel like you’ve lost control of your life, or that you’ll never find another job.  Plus there’s the stress of managing your financial responsibilities on a diminished income.

While it’s natural to be anxious after a layoff, you shouldn’t let panic drive you to rash decisions. So say this week’s guest, Jane Jackson. Instead, give yourself time to heal and figure out the next step in your career.

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Mac Prichard
Mac Prichard publishes Mac's List and owns and operates Prichard Communications, a public relations agency that serves non-profits, public agencies, and foundations across the United States. He also blogs regularly about job-hunting.
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Uplifting the Community Through Quality Healthcare at PeaceHealth

Posted on by Jessica Black

Mac's List Featured Job of the Week - PeaceHealth Director of Strategic Communications and Engagement - Apply Now

PeaceHealth, a not-for-profit Catholic health system based in Vancouver, Washington, is hiring a Director of Strategic Communications and Engagement. This position is will serve as primary strategic communications advisor to the PeaceHealth network leadership and will develop and implement integrated and comprehensive communications strategies to support the PeaceHealth mission and business strategies.

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Jessica Black
A native Portlander, Jessica Black has an extensive background in nonprofits with a focus on streamlining operations and communications, and producing events. Jessica brings these attributes to the Mac's List team as Community Coordinator, building strong connections with our readers and clients, and is actively involved in the Portland community as a whole. Contact Jessica at jessica@macslist.org.
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How Women Can Make a Successful Return to the Workplace, with Farai Chideya

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How Women Can Make a Successful Return to the Workplace with Farai Chideya

Women are much more likely than men to leave the workforce to raise children or assist elderly family members. Unfortunately, after a prolonged time off, it’s not easy to on-ramp back into full employment. There simply is not much infrastructure to help women step back into the workforce. That’s why it’s so important to be prepared before you take your hiatus.

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Mac Prichard
Mac Prichard publishes Mac's List and owns and operates Prichard Communications, a public relations agency that serves non-profits, public agencies, and foundations across the United States. He also blogs regularly about job-hunting.
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Ep. 082: Deadly Networking Mistakes, with Abby Kohut

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We say it a lot here at Mac’s List: networking is the single best thing you can do for your job search—or your career, in general. But attending a single networking event probably isn’t going to land you a job right away. Networking is about building mutually-beneficial, long-term relationships, not making awkward demands for a job.

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Mac Prichard
Mac Prichard publishes Mac's List and owns and operates Prichard Communications, a public relations agency that serves non-profits, public agencies, and foundations across the United States. He also blogs regularly about job-hunting.
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Join a Team of Progressive Change Makers as Winning Mark’s Digital Operations Specialist

Posted on by Jessica Black

Digital Operations Specialist at Winning Mark

Winning Mark, a political media firm that believes changing the world is not a spectator sport, is hiring a Digital Operations Specialist. This position is responsible for helping with the day-to-day operations of digital media plans for a wide array of progressive candidates, measures, and issue-advocacy organizations. The starting salary for this role is $30,000-$33,000 annually. 

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Jessica Black
A native Portlander, Jessica Black has an extensive background in nonprofits with a focus on streamlining operations and communications, and producing events. Jessica brings these attributes to the Mac's List team as Community Coordinator, building strong connections with our readers and clients, and is actively involved in the Portland community as a whole. Contact Jessica at jessica@macslist.org.
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How to Explain Your Career Transition

Posted on by Mac Prichard

How to Successfully Explain Your Career Transition

One of the constant challenges of job hunting is persuading an interviewer that you are the right person for the position. This task can be even more difficult when you’re trying to transition into a new career.  How do you make the most of the transferrable experience you have to instill confidence in a prospective employer? And how do you separate yourself from applicants with direct industry experience?

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Mac Prichard
Mac Prichard publishes Mac's List and owns and operates Prichard Communications, a public relations agency that serves non-profits, public agencies, and foundations across the United States. He also blogs regularly about job-hunting.
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Finding the Right Fit: A Job Search Success Story

Posted on by Rachel Launchbury

Finding the Right Fit: A Job Search Success Story

Everyone’s job search story is different, but each individual story can inspire and empower others who are on their own unique path. We love to hear how our readers have found rewarding careers. We share these stories to inspire your job search and to help us all better understand the challenges of finding meaningful work!

Name:  Rachel Launchbury

Occupation: Drug Court Counsellor

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Rachel Launchbury on Email
Rachel Launchbury
Rachel Launchbury has an associates degree in alcohol and drug counseling, bachelors in human development, and a masters in social work. She has worked with people who are struggling with addiction, mental health issues and criminality since 2009. Rachel has witnessed people turning their lives around with grace and dignity, and watched others continue to struggle. Every day is a miracle day.
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Introducing Becky Thomas, Mac’s List’s New Digital Marketing Manager

Posted on by Mac Prichard

Introducing Becky Thomas, Mac's List's New Digital Marketing Manager

I’m excited to announce a new addition to the Mac’s List team! This week we welcomed Becky Thomas as our new digital marketing manager. Becky brings extensive experience, both in marketing and journalism, to our organization. She’ll use her skills to help us further improve the products and services we provide to our readers.

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Mac Prichard
Mac Prichard publishes Mac's List and owns and operates Prichard Communications, a public relations agency that serves non-profits, public agencies, and foundations across the United States. He also blogs regularly about job-hunting.
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Ep. 081: Break the Rules To Get the Job You Deserve, with 
Liz Ryan

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Break the Rules To Get the Job You Deserve, with 
Liz Ryan

The traditional hiring process is broken and everyone knows it–both job seekers and hiring managers. The over-automated, keyword-driven, impersonal way most organizations hire is a relic of software systems built 40+ years ago. As such, playing by the rules is more likely to land you a stress headache than a job offer.

This week’s guest, Liz Ryan, offers a ray of hope, with strategies and techniques that will help you rise above the rest when reaching out to employers. She encourages job seekers to break the rules of the system. Instead, she urges people to proactively reach out to the organizations where they most want to work–and where they can create the most value.

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Mac Prichard
Mac Prichard publishes Mac's List and owns and operates Prichard Communications, a public relations agency that serves non-profits, public agencies, and foundations across the United States. He also blogs regularly about job-hunting.
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Help Homeless Youth Grow as the Medical Director at Outside In

Posted on by Ben Forstag

Help Homeless Youth Grow as the Medical Director at Outside In

Outside In, one of Portland’s oldest and most successful nonprofits serving homeless youth and other marginalized populations, is hiring a new Medical Director. This position joins a dynamic leadership team and supervises clinical services that provide 28,000 medical visits each year to the most vulnerable members of the community.

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Ben Forstag
Ben Forstag is Managing Director of Mac’s List, where he is responsible for the organization's editorial and business operations. Ben has an extensive background in communications and marketing, primarily in the nonprofit and healthcare sector. Contact Ben at ben@macslist.org.
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The 20-Minute Networking Meeting, with Nathan Perez

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The 20-Minute Networking Meeting, with Nathan Perez

Often, when busy professionals receive a request for a networking meeting, time is the deciding factor as to whether or not they accept it. If you want to improve your chances of meeting an important contact, make it clear that you only want twenty minutes of his or her time.

In this bonus podcast episode, Nathan Perez, executive career and job search coach, as well as co-author of the 20-Minute Networking Meeting, shares his advice on how to organize and execute a short, focused informational interview.

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Mac Prichard
Mac Prichard publishes Mac's List and owns and operates Prichard Communications, a public relations agency that serves non-profits, public agencies, and foundations across the United States. He also blogs regularly about job-hunting.
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Not a Wall, but a Bridge Nonprofit to For-Profit Career Change

Posted on by Lisa Faust

If you ask most people around Portland about Mac’s List, they will almost all say, “oh yeah, that’s the job board for nonprofit careers.” Yet, my company, Pacific Continental Bank, and many other for-profit organizations also advertise here as well. Why?

Because good employees are good employees regardless of a company’s tax exempt status, and we’ve found over and over again that quality nonprofit professionals can translate their skills rather seamlessly to the for-profit world.

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Lisa Faust
Lisa Faust is Pacific Continental Bank’s senior vice president and relationship banking officer. She can be reached at lisa.faust@therightbank.com
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Cover Letter Hacks for Out-of-Town Jobs

Posted on by Ben Forstag

Cover Letter Hacks for Out-of-Town Jobs

It’s a challenge many job seekers face. You want to move to a new city, but you need a guaranteed paycheck before you make the big jump. So you look for opportunities on local job boards and send out applications.

But here’s the problem. Employers have a distinct bias against long-distance job candidates.

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Ben Forstag
Ben Forstag is Managing Director of Mac’s List, where he is responsible for the organization's editorial and business operations. Ben has an extensive background in communications and marketing, primarily in the nonprofit and healthcare sector. Contact Ben at ben@macslist.org.
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Ep. 080: How Volunteering Can Help You Get a Job, with Mark Anthony Dyson

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Ep. 080: How Volunteering Can Help You Get a Job, with Mark Anthony Dyson

Volunteering is an important component to any job search and can benefit the job seeker in myriad ways. So says this week’s guest, Mark Anthony Dyson. While most volunteer gigs won’t lead to a formal job offer, Mark argues that giving your time and energy as a volunteer helps you stand out from the crowded field of job seekers.

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Ben Forstag
Ben Forstag is Managing Director of Mac’s List, where he is responsible for the organization's editorial and business operations. Ben has an extensive background in communications and marketing, primarily in the nonprofit and healthcare sector. Contact Ben at ben@macslist.org.
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Strategies for Building a Nonprofit Career in Oregon

Posted on by Ben Forstag

 

Did you miss our last educational and networking event, Piloting Your Nonprofit Career in Oregon? Fear not! We recorded the presentation for you!

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Ben Forstag
Ben Forstag is Managing Director of Mac’s List, where he is responsible for the organization's editorial and business operations. Ben has an extensive background in communications and marketing, primarily in the nonprofit and healthcare sector. Contact Ben at ben@macslist.org.
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How to Network in a New City Before You Move

Posted on by Mac Prichard

How To Network in a New City Before You Move

We live in a highly mobile society, with people frequently moving hundreds—and sometimes thousands—of miles for family, work, or lifestyle needs.

For many people the desire to relocate often crashes headlong into the reality of needing financial resources for such a move. You end up with a chicken-or-the-egg problem… What comes first: the move or the job?

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Mac Prichard
Mac Prichard publishes Mac's List and owns and operates Prichard Communications, a public relations agency that serves non-profits, public agencies, and foundations across the United States. He also blogs regularly about job-hunting.
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Telecommuting: No Longer a Remote Possibility

Posted on by Mac Prichard

Telecommuting: No Longer a Remote Possibility

As any frazzled commuter will attest, having the option to telecommute—to work remotely home or any other location—is a major perk. Not only do you get to skip the daily rush hour commute, but you may also get extra flexibility in your work schedule. Need to transport your kids to soccer practice? No sweat. Have a dentist appointment? You’re there. Scared of the bug that’s going around the office? You’re safe.

All in all, telecommuting and remote work options can help you maintain a better work-life balance.

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Mac Prichard
Mac Prichard publishes Mac's List and owns and operates Prichard Communications, a public relations agency that serves non-profits, public agencies, and foundations across the United States. He also blogs regularly about job-hunting.
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