Thursday 30 April 2009

Interview Feedback: Learning from it

So, you’re walking out of the interview room – what happens next?

Sometimes the results will be known within hours. Sometimes, it may take days or even weeks to get ‘the result’; be that a refusal, being shortlisted for further consideration, the time/date for a second interview or perhaps, the verbal or written job offer itself. Either way, the company (or recruitment consultant) should be able to give you some indication of the timescale of their decision and tell you how the results will be coming; phone, fax or email. You may want to check – and confirm – which it will be.

If you’re that way inclined – you may want to consider some self analysis at this stage. As well as congratulating yourself for ‘getting through it’, take some time to think through what went well, what didn’t and what – if anything – you’d do differently if you went through it all over again……
  • Did I get there on time? Should I have done a dry run beforehand to find out where to park?
  • Was I prepared? What more could I have done?
  • Did I have spinach on my teeth?
  • Did I say everything I needed to? What did I miss out? Did I say too much?
  • Did I run through my work history adequately? Or, did the interviewer fall asleep?
Though it would be great to get an instant interview feedback on the interview, it seldom happens. Every interviewee has the same question in their mind at this time - 'did I make it through?' That being said, your head and heart may already be telling you how well (or badly) you did. With this in hand, you’ll have the chance to change or tweak your delivery next time around – should you need to. After all, interviewing is often a very stressful experience and anything you can do improve your technique is a good thing.

When it arrives, you should be prepared for the interview feedback as it can be – sometimes - very frustrating; 'not experienced enough’, ‘too much experience’, ‘not the right attitude', 'found someone more suitable', 'some criteria do not match requirements' and so on. It is painful enough to hear about rejection; it is even more painful to be summarily rejected.

Be careful not to ignore this feedback however unfair you think it is at that time. The fact that someone else was chosen over you shows that somebody else did a better job at convincing that they were the best match. You cannot identify this point accurately, but you at least could be aware about what they were looking at when they rejected your application. Hence, accept the feedback with the seriousness it is due. Write it down if possible, and go through it a couple of days later when you are able to be more objective about the whole affair.

Learn from it. Move on. Do not dwell on near-misses even if it is your dream job. Once it is gone, it is gone. You can still prepare for a next opportunity in the same place later when the next opportunity arises.

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