Here's How to Ask Why You Didn't Get the Job

Here's how to ask why you didn't get the job. There may be a period in your career when you felt like a job interview went well, yet you didn't obtain a job offer. Even if you're a good candidate, there are many reasons why an employer might opt to hire someone else. One thing to remember is that several elements play into the decision-making process, many of which aren't personal.

how to ask why you didnt get the job

Common reasons for not getting a job

These are some of the most prevalent reasons job seekers may not get a job offer:

You're better equipped for other work

Sometimes an employer sees you as a better fit for a different role but cannot now grant you a job offer. By focusing on your professional past and skill set, you can begin to apply to positions that are more relevant to your qualifications. Employers frequently have a specific candidate in mind, so you may have a better chance of being considered if you apply to jobs in your field of expertise.

how to ask why you didnt get the job

Someone was slightly more qualified

Even though you satisfied all the requirements on the job application, there may have been another candidate with somewhat more experience. While it's probable that your interview went well and you'd be an excellent fit for the post, someone else's qualifications may have stuck out more. If you're still interested in a similar career, you can continue to construct your résumé and apply elsewhere.

You should increase your preparation

Although you should aim to give natural responses to interview questions, preparing for your responses might make you feel more secure during an interview. If you found it tough to answer many of the interviewer's questions, this may signal that you need to prepare for your next interview more.

Another component of looking prepared is to appear to be calm and assured. This can be accomplished by planning your interview wardrobe well in advance, sleeping well the night before, and arriving a few minutes early.

The employer's instructions were ambiguous

A misunderstanding could have cost you the job. For instance, your employer may have given you particular instructions that you found difficult to follow or were unaware of. When an employer contacts you, always reread everything they send.

If you ever have a question, be sure to ask for clarification gently. They will gladly assist you in following the directions correctly if you are a qualified candidate.

They enlisted the assistance of an internal employee

Even after interviewing a number of prospects, a company may choose to promote an existing employee. They may have had this candidate in mind before the hiring process but were still required to publish the job publicly. Employers typically prefer to hire internally because they already know their employees' work ethic and personalities. Additionally, onboarding existing employees is typically easier because they are already familiar with the company's policies and may be familiar with the position.

how to ask why you didnt get the job

You can enhance your online visibility

Employers may have reviewed your internet profiles following the interview. That is why it is critical to keep all personal social media accounts secret or to maintain a professional presence. When sharing photographs and links online, share only those that are appropriate. Similarly, exercise caution when commenting on other people's blogs.

If your profession requires you to have a sizable online following, your employer may believe you require increased follower engagement. Investigate the company's website's team page to discover how existing personnel presents themselves online.

how to ask why you didnt get the job

You need to choose more appropriate references

When selecting work references, it's critical to select individuals whom you trust to give you glowing praise. Consider what a past employer is likely to say about you when making your selection. Request references from employers only if you succeeded in your employment and departed on good terms. It's best to choose folks with whom you have a positive relationship.

The business is constrained by financial restrictions

Due to budget constraints, the company may be unable to pay your desired compensation or may have discontinued the employment process entirely. Hiring new staff may be low on their priority list, which is why you may not receive a response in these instances. They may be busy discovering new strategies to improve their earnings and get the business back to normal.

Related: How to write a professional follow-up email

how to ask why you didnt get the job

How to ask why you didn't get the job

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

Consider the interview

After realizing that you didn't receive the job, start to think on how your interview went. Consider the following:

  • Your responses to the questions posed by the interviewer
  • How you conducted yourself during the interview
  • How did you make contact with the interviewer?
  • Areas for improvement
  • The chat felt entirely natural.
  • How much time did you spend preparing for the interview?

Being aware that your interview abilities could be improved is the first step in becoming a more competent candidate. Make a mental note of the questions they asked and jot them down. This manner, you can practice responding to similar interview questions for a subsequent interview, as employers in the same profession frequently ask similar interview questions. If you're already exceptional in interviews, then you may want to work on becoming more qualified for the position.

Follow-up via email

Although writing a professional email in response to not receiving a job offer can be tough, it is an essential element of career growth. It allows you to keep a positive impression. As this firm may expand in the future, it is prudent to maintain a pleasant demeanor.

Related: Thank you email after phone interview

how to ask why you didnt get the job

Request feedback politely

In your follow-up email, inquire whether they would be willing to provide you with feedback. Additionally, you might gently inquire as to why you were not hired. By posing these questions, you can determine what areas you can improve going forward. While cognitive bias may lead you to assume that your interview went great, receiving feedback might help you see things more realistically. By obtaining an employer's candid assessment, you can increase your future prospects of receiving a job offer.

Respond to their comments/feedback

After reading their remarks and deliberating, it's professional to respond. You can wait a week before responding to what they say. Thank them in the email for taking the time to share feedback. If you wish to work for them in the future, demonstrate that you will endeavor to improve these areas. Indicate your want to maintain contact and your openness to potential prospects.

Related: Thank you email after interview

Consider what they say

When the time comes to resume your job hunt, begin using their feedback. For instance, if they stated that you require improved responses, begin practicing for your interviews. Conduct research about the types of interview questions that companies frequently ask for your position and prepare viable responses. Even practicing your interview skills with a family member or friend might help enhance your confidence. You can improve your interview skills and learn how to highlight your talents over time.

In the future, consider applying for another position

Now that you've determined what to work on, you may begin looking for new jobs. Rather than viewing this as a setback, view it as a chance to improve your candidacy. As you gain experience, continue to practice your responses and build your résumé. Prepare yourself for a lengthy job application procedure. Often, you must apply to a big number of jobs before receiving an offer you wish to accept.

Related: Follow up email after interview

Email follow-up example

Utilize the following sample email to explain to an employer why you were not hired:

Hi Jeff,

We appreciate your consideration of my application for the junior graphic design job post. I appreciate your time in learning about my background and motivation for this position. Although I was excited to be considered for this position, I appreciate you informing me of your decision.

Given that I can tell you are extremely experienced in the hiring process, I'd want to enquire as to why I was not hired. I'd love some comments to determine which areas I should focus on in the future. Because graphic design is my passion, I want to do all possible to advance my job prospects in this industry.

I am willing to address this feedback with you over the phone, but I would also appreciate an email response.

I appreciate you,


A response email for when someone didn't get the job

When an employer explains why you were not hired and provides feedback, utilize the following sample email to assist you in writing your response:

Hi John,

How are you?

We appreciate you taking the time to provide insightful comments. I've given careful consideration to everything you said, and I'm looking forward to implementing your suggestions. Because interviews are not my strong suit, I will work to prepare my responses and boost my confidence.

I'm extremely grateful for your assistance in helping me progress as a candidate. I'd love to apply for any future graphic design openings at your agency.

Thank you so much,


How do you politely ask why you weren't hired?

Here's how to politely ask why you didn't get the job:

  • Think about what feedback you want.
  • Send an email saying thank you.
  • Ask for feedback.
  • Ask the right questions.
  • Listen to the feedback.

Many times, a hiring manager won't share why you didn't get the job during the interview process. Interview feedback is generally shared only to internal parties during the job search.

What should I ask if I didn't get the job?

Here are questions to ask if you didn't get the job. Remember that hiring managers are less likely to share honest feedback with job seekers as it can cause disagreements. If the hiring manager is willing to share feedback with you. Here are questions to ask:

  • Do you have any comments or suggestions on my resume or cover letter?
  • Was there anything I was missing in terms of relevant skills or experience?
  • Would there be any future opportunities with you or your company?
  • Are there any other job opportunities that could be a better fit for my key qualifications?
  • Was there anything I could improve regarding my interview performance?

Continue to develop your interviewing skills over time. Practice with friends and family.

What to say when you are told you didn't get the job?

Here's a template to use:

"Dear [Name of Hiring Manager], We appreciate your contacting me regarding your hiring decision. While I am unhappy that I was not chosen for the [Job Title] position, I am really grateful for the opportunity to interview for the position and meet some of your team members."

What should I do if I didn't get my dream job?

Remember that the job search process can be difficult. Consider practicing your interviewing skills and gather more job references. Job rejections can be disheartening. Remember, they are one small step toward landing a new job.

Review your professional background and consider whether it's a fit for the jobs you're applying for.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo,, SparkHire,,, FairyGodBoss,, St. Edwards University, NC State University,, Thrive Global,, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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