Gathering feedback is an essential component of any job search. It is the element of the hunt that can change everything and transform you from an average Joe into a top prospect. It can be brutal, but it can also give you a competitive edge.
You won't always receive feedback, however, so it is vital to go out of your way and get the information you need. There is always room for improvement! Here are some ways to collect feedback and use it constructively in your job search.
There are many sources of insight for job search feedback, but it will not always be given to you directly. Hiring managers do not always respond to jobseekers after applications or interviews. Known as the 'resume black hole', job searchers are often left wondering what went wrong. You can try a self-assessment, but that doesn't always cut the mustard. Everyone has blind spots when picturing themselves.
Seek out the reasons you were not selected. Be active and find an appropriate time to ask for feedback. Remember that it doesn't always have to be at the end of an interview, but if it is, make sure to ask soon after you find out you were unsuccessful.
Strategize your approach: be specific, respectful, and professional. Prepare questions to ask that will aid self-improvement. If the questions aren't relevant, you are wasting your and the hiring manager's time.
Other sources of insight are friends, references, tests, assessments, and benchmarks. Friends and references know you better than anyone else and their understanding of you can help you understand yourself. Tests, assessments, and benchmarks give you quantifiable results that can help you find areas of weakness to improve on.
Persist with asking for feedback from multiple sources to earn valuable information about yourself. Don't ask for general feedback or rely on email. Be courageous and make the leap.
Job search feedback is a useful tool but often it can only be acquired in a professional manner. As mentioned earlier, feedback can sometimes be brutal. Recruiters sometimes hesitate to give feedback out of the fear that they will say something that could be considered discriminatory or non-inclusive. Delivering negative feedback is hard. Be sure to let them know that you won't argue. You want the feedback in order to improve yourself, not challenge their decisions.
Construct a clear request for feedback. Communicate you are looking only for ways to improve as a candidate in the future to remove any worry from a recruiter. Respect the recruiter and have genuine intent for wanting a productive conversation.
If you follow these steps, the feedback you get may still feel like a slap in the face. Have thick skin and don't take offense. Focus on the constructive elements of the conversation rather than taking to heart what was said. Don't argue or complain. Listen and learn.
Take notes to keep track of your job search feedback. Get sufficient detail. If it's not enough, don't be afraid to ask probing questions. At the end of the discussion, always say thank you for their time, no matter the outcome.
The most important part of receiving feedback is what you do with it. Don't disregard areas of feedback as false. Address them, self-reflect, and establish whether you make adjustments or not.
Adjustments may concern you, your approach, or both. Learn how to improve from feedback and implement changes into your job search. One piece of information could make all the difference.
Handling constructive criticism is a transferrable skill itself. Your attitude and positivity can twig the interest of a recruiter and make you memorable. Even if you don't get the job this time round, they may remember you and invite you back for another position in the future.
As time progresses, continue to be active in asking for feedback. Any opportunity to gain experience and knowledge about yourself is one that you should seize. Have a positive attitude and home in on what you really want to know. The more you ask, the easier it gets.