There was an article in The Wall Street Journal in 2013 titled: “Didn’t Get the Job? You’ll Never Know Why” by Lauren Weber. The direct link is: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324423904578523683173841190.html and it is still available.
I hope that all of you will take the time to read it.
I have often said that when the answer is no, the likelihood of there being any useful information passed to you is close to zero. Lauren goes into almost all of the issues that I have discussed in editorials over the years, and I thought you would enjoy knowing that these are “truths” and not just “one man’s opinion.”
Although Lauren covered the issues very well, I thought I would add an insidious aspect that was left unmentioned. I call it “the excuse you can’t cure.”
Again, the lips are moving and words are coming out, but what are the words and how do they affect you? There are so many limitations on what can be said. However, the answer you get has to have a ring of truth and has to be satisfactory enough that you will walk away, but not be angry with them. (It’s called “blame shifting.”)
The excuse you can’t cure runs along the lines of “If only you had a CPA.” Of course they knew that when you applied. The insidious part is if you are declined jobs several times and the “pat solutions” are played on you often enough, you will begin to think that they are “true,” and you will play them back in your mind causing you to lose energy in your search.
Whenever you are told the reasons why you didn’t get hired, I would like you to substitute them saying: “If only you were taller. We have these reports we keep on high shelves and we have no ladders.” Yes, the explanations you get are THAT stupid and THAT irrelevant to your employability.
Your best approach is not to even ask. If you think about it, you’re only going to get a dumb answer anyway that is designed to make you feel bad about yourself.
What I suggest you do instead is when you find out you didn’t get the job is to immediately thank them for considering you. Tell them you thought the company was great and you very much enjoyed meeting all the folks you interviewed with. You can also add that you hope the individual they selected works out well.
Yes, I know it is all a lie, but hey, they started it.
Remember, those few companies that DO tell you that you didn’t get the job are always braced for an argument as to how you would have been a better selection. Don’t give them the satisfaction.
In any case, lots of new hires don’t work out. By letting them off easy you save yourself the aggravation of hearing a bunch of lies AND you leave the door open for them to come back to you when they again have a need.
You always want to be someone who everyone wants to do business with. Being nice costs you nothing and pays big dividends. Honest, you can’t lose.