How To Ask Why You Didn’t Get the Job (With Sample Emails)

1. Think it over first

First things first. After your application or job interview, it’s important to take some time to reflect on why you may not have been given the position.

Ask yourself:

  • Did I meet all of the requirements (ie skills and experience) listed in the job posting?
  • Does my cover letter or CV need some work?
  • Did I answer the interview questions to the best of your ability?
  • Did I show enthusiasm for the company and the role?
  • If I could go back in time, what would I do differently?

3. Ask for feedback

Once you’ve said thanks, you can then politely ask for feedback on your application. You should send an email requesting a short phone call with the employer. If they decide not to do a phone call, they might consider answering a few questions by email.

Here is a sample email you could adapt and send:

Subject: {Job role position}

Dear Ms/Mr LastName,

Thank you for taking the time to interview me for the {insert job role} position on {insert date}. I also appreciate you letting me know that I wasn’t selected for this position.

While I’m disappointed I wasn’t chosen, I would appreciate the chance to get some honest feedback as I am still very interested to work with you in the future. Would you be available for a brief telephone call to discuss how I could improve upon my candidacy for employment? Any detailed feedback you could share would be much appreciated and would help me improve in future interviews.

Again, thank you for your time and consideration.

Best regards,

FirstName LastNamePhoneEmail


How to ask why you didnt get the job

Follow these steps to professionally ask an employer why you didn’t get a job offer:

1. Think about the interview

After learning that you didn’t get the job, start to reflect on how your interview went. Think about the following things:

  • Your responses to the interviewer’s questions

  • How you acted throughout the interview

  • How you connected with the interviewer

  • Areas that you could improve

  • How natural the conversation felt

  • How much you prepared for the interview

Being conscious that you could improve your interview skills is the first step in becoming a more qualified candidate. Try to remember what questions they asked and write them down. This way, you can prepare your responses for another interview since employers in the same profession typically ask similar interview questions. If you’re already great at interviews, then you may want to work on becoming more qualified for the position.

Related: Steps To Take When You’re Rejected From Your Dream Job

2. Send a follow-up email

Although it may be challenging to write a professional email after not getting a job offer, it’s an important part of growing in your career. It gives you a chance to continue to maintain a good impression. In the future, this business may have more job opportunities, so it’s good to continue to be polite.

3. Politely ask for feedback

When sending the follow-up email, ask if they would be willing to provide you with some feedback. You can also politely ask why you didn’t get the job. Asking these questions can help you learn what you can improve moving forward. Cognitive bias may make you believe your interview went perfectly while getting feedback can help you see the situation more realistically. By learning an employer’s honest opinion, you can improve your chances of getting a job offer in the future.

4. Reply to their feedback

After reading through their feedback and giving yourself time to think about it, it’s professional to send them a response. You can take a week to process what they say before replying. In the email, thank them for taking the time to provide you with feedback. If you want a chance to work for them in the future, make it clear that you will work toward these areas of improvement. Say that you hope to stay in touch and are open to future opportunities.

5. Reflect on what they say

When it’s time to continue your job search, start to apply their feedback. For example, if they said you need better responses, start practicing for your interviews. Research what interview questions employers commonly ask for your role and come up with potential answers. Even doing a mock interview with a family member or friend can boost your confidence. Over time, you can become better at interviews and learn how to showcase your talents.

6. Try applying to another job in the future

Now that you know what to work on, start applying to new jobs. Rather than seeing this as a setback, see it as an opportunity to be a better candidate. Continue to practice your responses and add to your resume as you gain more experience. Be prepared for the job application process to take some time. Often, you need to apply to a large pool of jobs in order to get a job offer you want to accept.

Related: How To Prepare for an Interview

How to Ask Why You Werent Hired

Occasionally, employers will share some feedback with candidates who represent a genuine interest in improving their job search communications. You’ll have better luck if you don’t ask directly why you weren’t hired.

Instead, frame some specific questions for input such as:

  • “Did you identify any key qualifications for this job that were missing in my background?”
  • “Do you have any suggestions regarding how I might improve upon my resume and cover letter?”
  • “Did you feel like my job references could have been stronger?”

Employers are generally more likely to share feedback verbally than via email due to concerns that any written response may be used as evidence against them if a hiring decision were to be legally contested.

One way to get feedback is to initiate a conversation by sending a brief email or LinkedIn message asking if you could talk on the phone to get some constructive input to enhance your skills.

If you’re concerned that the hiring manager may prefer to avoid a phone call, you can also ask if they would be willing to share feedback either via email or phone.

Step 2: Send a Follow-up Email

Now that you’ve come to terms with the fact that your interview didn’t go as perfectly as you once thought, it’s time to swallow your pride and reach out to the interviewer. It’s going to be painful, but you’ll be able to improve yourself as a candidate in the future, and it may open the door to more job opportunities.

Send a follow-up email to your interviewer about a week after you received the bad news. In your email, thank them for their time and the opportunity, acknowledge their decision to hire another candidate, and request that they reach out to you for future job openings.

By sending this email, you’re letting the employer know that you’re not holding any grudges against their company and that you’re still interested in working with them in the future — and that’s much better than telling them that they’re a big dumb jerk who doesn’t recognize a good thing when they see it.

Example Email Message Asking for Feedback by Email or Phone

Subject: Administrative Assistant Position Dear Mr. Singh, Thank you so much for meeting with me April 9 to discuss the position of Administrative Assistant at Singh, Inc. I really enjoyed hearing about the company and your plans for expansion over the coming months. I also appreciate you taking the time to let me know that the position has been filled. It was kind of you to message me so quickly after you’d made your decision. If I’m not taking up too much of your time, I wonder if you’d be willing to share some feedback with me. I’d love to hear your thoughts, either via email or a brief phone chat, about where I can add to my skillset to make myself competitive for future roles. Thank you again for your consideration. Best regards, Ryan Jones 555-321-0089

What to Do Next in Your Job Search:

Whether you think your interview went well or badly, the best thing you can do is keep job searching and applying to positions (after sending a thank you note, of course).

Keep your momentum going.

The biggest mistake I see job seekers make is they get one or two interviews scheduled and stop applying for jobs, and they just hope those first couple of employers that they talk to will be interested.

This is a big gamble and often leads to job seekers going months without a job, because they’re waiting and doing nothing each time one employer seems interested.

So keep sending out your resume to employers and applying to relevant positions. Don’t stop applying for jobs until you’re sure you’re being offered a role that you will accept.

This will lead to a faster job search and help you feel much more relaxed, too. You’ll have more prospects and more interviews, meaning less pressure with each one. You don’t need one single interviewer to be interested when you’re going on five interviews in a week.

You’ll seem much more confident in each interview because of this. So that’s why I encourage you to keep sending out your resume.

You can always cancel an interview or two if you decide to accept an offer, but it’s better to have too many opportunities than too few.


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