Feedback can be hard to hear sometimes but ignore it at your peril. It’s one of the most useful tools we have for learning, growing and improving ourselves and our work. It is crucial to our careers, whether that’s when applying for a job, starting a new role or succeeding at one.
Before asking for feedback, however, you must make sure you are in a place to receive it, hear it, absorb it and decide whether you value it. It might not all be good, so be prepared to keep an open mind. Conversely, if you find that you always ignore good feedback, consider how you start to accept the positives.
Feedback- When applying for a new role
Job hunting can feel endless. Not getting feedback from employers can make the process harder, not knowing where you are going wrong or right. Make the most of any opportunity for feedback.
Feedback advice: Ask yourself
Take a break from looking at your application and try to look at it with fresh eyes. Time away can give you a new perspective and an opportunity to consider all the angles.
Give yourself some feedback on the application, how would you rate it from an employer’s perspective? Would you employ yourself? Can you see any weaker areas against the requirements and how can you make the most of your experience and skills?
Feedback Advice: Ask your friends or family
Use the resources that you have handy – get feedback from people you know.
If you have a friend who’s really good at written English or a family member who can point out what you might not have thought about, ask them to read your application. Also ask them to be brutal!
Applications can be awkward as it’s not always natural to ‘sell yourself’. Showing your application to someone else can be uncomfortable but helps make your application stronger.
Feedback Advice: Ask for feedback when it might not automatically be given
If you have not been shortlisted for the role and you do not receive any feedback – ask for it. It could give you insights that will help you improve future applications.
Most companies will not automatically give feedback to every applicant, potentially due to the volume of applicants, lack of time and also because they are wary of repercussions. However, this should not deter you from asking for it! Some will give feedback to a candidate that makes the effort to ask.
Feedback at interview:
Once you get to the interview stage you will normally be given feedback if you are not selected for the position.
Interview feedback is important as you are less likely to have been to as many interviews as the number of applications you have sent (unless you are really fab at applications)!
If you have a string of unsuccessful interviews, it is even more crucial to get some feedback.
Feedback advice: Ask about what you did well, not just what you didn’t
Knowing what you did well at interview is just as important as knowing why you didn’t get the job. If you present yourself well, were really warm and friendly, then maybe it is your experience or actual answers that didn’t work for the employer. All this feedback can help target areas for improvement.
Importantly, even if you get the job you can still ask for feedback. Obviously you did a great job at interview but it’s worth getting feedback as it might help you down the line when you are potentially looking for another role.
Feedback advice: Ask for application feedback as well as interview feedback
When receiving feedback after interview, it can focus on just the interview. However any additional feedback about your application is valuable: such as what they liked about the application, what made them invite you to interview and what potential weaknesses they saw in your application as a whole?
Feedback in the job:
Starting a new role can be daunting. Asking for feedback is an important part of your development and ability to succeed.
Make the most of any opportunities to receive feedback, whether it’s from your line manager, your co-workers or from asking about your performance.