Throughout the process of getting a job, you will have many opportunities to receive feedback—sometimes without asking! Whether you feel particular feedback is positive or negative, it is still how someone else perceives you. It is an essential part of the process—it ensures that any potential issues with you in the role are detected now, and also allows you to tune yourself to fit the image that you want to present.

If you aren’t receiving feedback, then ask for it. The safest way to do this initially is with family and close friends—but ask them to be honest, and don’t be defensive if you don’t agree. This is not about what you think, it is about how you are coming across to others.

You also need to get feedback from your recruitment agents and potential employers. This may be harder to hear, but is an essential part of the process of ensuring that the job is suitable for you. Following each interview, write an e-mail to the interviewer that thanks them for their time, confirms your interest in the role, and states that you look forward to hearing from them. If the introduction was via a recruitment agent, make sure that you speak with the agent within one hour of the interview completing. As well as assisting the agent with selling you , the agent will also then be able to verbally express your impressions to the employer.

With the recruitment agent, use the opportunity also to provide feedback about the potential employer. While you will have a buffer zone for negative feedback, prudence is still recommended. Of course, any positive feedback about the employer should be mentioned.

With feedback about you, you need to give yourself time to reflect and change your approach or attitude if necessary. Perhaps characterise each element as either a strength or weakness. Prioritising each of these elements can then allow you to focus your energy on what you need to improve upon—as well as reminding yourself of your strengths.

Use the feedback to go through all aspects of how you’re presenting yourself, including your CV, cover letters, phone conversations, and interviews. Family members and close friends can be excellent allies to present improvements, eg. phone call practice.

Other feedback will relate to more than just communication. Are you pitching yourself at the right level of work? The right type of work? Are you excited about a particular job just because the employer is interested in you? Potential employers are not there to do you a favour, they are looking to get a skills or labour shortage resolved. Accepting a “lower” position may be a prudent step for you—if you are capable of a better position, it should come soon enough once you’ve joined the employer.

Using job search feedback to help you succeed

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