How to handle negative feedback

Feedback in the interview process is great right?  Maybe, it all depends on how you react to it.  One of the things I tell clients to do is to ask for feedback during and after the interview process.   This can be helpful for a few reasons, if they are willing to share.  Many do not because they are either worried of getting sued or they want to avoid an argument.  Yes, candidates do argue with recruiters and / or hiring managers.  Here are a couple of reasons you might hear with a suggestion on how to handle them:

We really need someone with more experience.  Ask if they have any lower level positions that could lead to this position or what type of position you would be qualified for.

You are overqualified.  What they really mean is that you won’t stay in that position.  You will either quit or immediately start looking at other opportunities.  You can either try to reassure them that this is the position you want and why, or you can ask if there are any other positions that they feel you would be a better match for.

We don’t feel that you are a good fit.  Ask if there is something specifically that they feel is an issue and / or if they know of a different position or department that may be a better fit.

The short answer is that if they give you ANY reason you should do a couple of things.

  • Don’t dismiss their feedback, even if you think it is stupid.
  • If you disagree it is OK to have a rebuttal that starts something like “I can understand your concern with that but…”
  • Stay positive and don’t get angry.
  • Still follow-up with a thank you email and work on staying in touch.

Even if they won’t hire you maybe they can become a resource for you. I have on more than one occasion helped out people outside of work.  Smart recruiters are also looking to expand their networks and you want to stay in touch with them.

The Man

If someone doesn’t hire you, then you are unqualified.  It is impossible to be unqualified and overqualified at the same time.
Al Pollard

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