two men shaking hands after a job interview

How to deal with Negative Job Interview Feedback

Written on September 29, 2019 by Jonathon Webley

​When you are on a job hunt, you will be eager and impatient to hear these two simple words: ‘You’re hired’ – it becomes an obsession. Unfortunately, it may be that your last interviews didn’t turn out so well. You may have been rejected, maybe for the first time or for too many times, either way, it hurts.

You need to break the circle! You need to know how to deal with any negative interview feedback and get the job. We can help.

Seek more information and understanding

Facing rejection is never agreeable, although, it can help you to grow. For this, you need to have a full understanding of what went wrong.

Dig deeper to get full feedback

Your first objective should be to get full feedback. Recruiters are often short of time and so will be reluctant to invest their time in something that doesn’t concern them anymore. It, therefore, becomes your responsibility to hunt for it to ensure you benefit from the feedback.

Often in the IT and Data sector interviews are organised via recruiters. If this is the case, you can contact them directly and ask for more detailed feedback as they will have a stronger relationship with their clients than you do. However, don’t be surprised at your consultant if you feel that this feedback is still not ‘enough’, or they took a look time to get back to you. It can be a tedious task for them, too, as clients are not always easy to handle.

Ask for advice

Recruiters are also consultants, and so they should be there to advise and guide you. After all tomorrow, they may have another job opportunity for you, and so it is to their advantage that you grow from your interview experience.

Ask them to spend 5 minutes on the phone with you and go over what went wrong. You could also ask them for advice and the industry you are trying to get into.

Work on yourself

Those knockbacks are a wake-up call to help you win your next role. Think of yourself as a boxer – you have to train to be ready for the next fight and be smarter. You now understand why you failed last time, and now you are going to change that.

How can you make sure you won’t receive the same negative feedback anymore?

Make a list! Make a list of the negative feedback you received on one side and on the other list the good feedback. Then, reflect on the two lists and try to find a way to prevent negative feedback from happening again.

For example, if you were told that you were too nervous, then maybe next time you could listen to relaxing music or have a walk before the interview. Are communication skills your issue? Do some vocal warm-ups before your next interview or join a debate or theatre group to help you to practice conveying your point articulately and with confidence.

Did you fail on a test or skill question? Brush-up your knowledge and revise. Act as if you are the only expert in the room.

What can you do if you come across as ‘too laid-back’, were late or didn’t wear the appropriate outfit? Get organised. Expect the unexpected to happen and be ready in advance. Try to be at the place at least 45 minutes early. An accident, traffic, a problem at home or with relatives can happen, and you might end up arriving only 5 minutes early or on the dot! Ask what clothing style would be recommended for the interview beforehand? Business attire, casual business, smart casual? If you are still not too sure about what to wear, then look for pictures of existing employees on the website or social media. What companies share with the public is often how they want to portray themselves and when they are at their best.  If in doubt always over-dress rather than under.


* Interviews are a sales exercise, whatever your position is

* Prevention is better than cure

Thanks to the work you have done on yourself after reading this article, you are finally ready to tackle your next interview! You know how to fix what went wrong last time. There are also a few things you can do to increase your chance even more:

* Organise a 5-10 minutes preparation meeting with your recruiter.

* Use this time to ask them questions about the company and its culture, why have the other candidates been rejected, and what are they looking for? See if they will share questions, they think candidates will be asked or if they know whether there is any skillset their client is looking for.

* Also, ask about getting to the interview – especially if you need to drive there.  Do they know if you can park easily and if you need to bring some change for the parking meter? Is public transport practical?

* Run through the questions you prepared for the interview with them as they have built a relationship with their client. They may have an idea if the interviewer would appreciate the questions or not.

Job hunting can be a challenge, and as with every challenge, it can push you outside of your comfort zone. Think of it as a way to help you to grow and work on yourself, to better yourself. Be patient and take the time to learn from it.

If you need consultants to guide you all along your journey and provide honest feedback, contact the team at Agile Recruit today.