My response to job rejections has always been much the same.
I replay the interview in my head until eventually I’ve figured out why the company rejected me: I wore an ugly outfit. I talked too much. I’m a generally terrible person and no company would ever want me as an employee.
It’s never occurred to me that I could actually find out why the company turned me down.
According to Alexandra Cavoulacos and Kathryn Minshew, authors of “The New Rules of Work,” it’s not only possible to find out why the company turned you down — it’s often advisable.
Cavoulacos and Minshew are the cofounders — and COO and CEO, respectively, of careers advice and job listings site The Muse. In the book, they recommend following up with the hiring manager to ask for feedback on your interview skills.
Business Insider spoke with Cavoulacos and she recalled one woman she rejected for a job at The Muse. The woman followed up with an email asking: “Is there anything that I could have done differently?” Cavoulacos told her she could have been more prepared.
The woman later applied for a different role and showed up to the interview much more prepared and impressive. She got the job.
Asking what you could have done better is especially useful, Cavoulacos said, when you really have no idea why you didn’t get the job or you thought you nailed the interview.
Cavoulacos said she always answers this question with a few pieces of feedback, but she added that you might not get a response at all. If you receive the rejection in a phone call, she said, you’re more likely to get some feedback.
Cavoulacos’ team at The Muse has reached out to people again about roles that would be a better fit. That’s why it’s helpful to add a line that says something like: “I always welcome the opportunity to speak about roles in the future.”
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