«For a normal person, with at least a tiny hint of morale and ethics about him / her, it is natural to think that all job seekers, whom by the way have spent time and money in terms of attending an interview, receives detailed feedback as to why him or her was not successful. Unfortunately, this is not the case here in Norway and many other parts of the world.”

For those of you who have been following my blog you know that I am highly passionate about the fact that all job seekers should receive feedback when applying for a position. You also know that, here in Norway and other parts of the world, we have become incredibly poor at doing so and in particular the recruitment industry itself. Believe it or not, I have decided to put his debate on the shelf for the time being, but rest assured I will be picking it down from the same shelf in the not too distant future.

Today I have however decided to write about the lack of feedback after a job seeker has attended an interview. For a normal person with at least a tiny hint of morale and ethics about him / her it is natural to think that all job seekers, whom by the way have spent time and money in terms of attending an interview, receives detailed feedback as to why him or her was not successful. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case here in Norway and many other parts of the world. So whom do we have to thank for this? Those companies that works with recruitment or out-hire who would be much better suited to a part time job in a zoo where they can work with animals as opposed to humans. Companies such as Centric Professionals, Kelly Services, Manpower, Jobzone and many more.

Today I received a nice email from a woman in my network here in Norway. She had managed to secure herself three interviews during the course of the summer holidays and felt she had done the best she could. All three interviews had been arranged through a recruitment company but took place on their client site. Now six weeks later she had still not had any feedback from her contact person at the recruitment company apart from being told that she was unsuccessful due to many good candidates. Why she did not quite make it, what she had done wrong, what she could have done different or in what areas she needed to improve was something she still didn’t know.

What I find particularly sad with a situation like this is as follows: Job seekers, who in all likelihood are on benefits, spends several days and high amounts of money on attending interviews either with the recruitment company or their customers. In this case, the woman had spent a good amount of time reading up on the businesses, spent significant amount of time tailoring her CV and application letter and not at least, a significant amount of time and money travelling to and from these interviews. You know the picture…. Isn’t then a big disgrace that the recruitment company cannot be bothered to give her an ever so short message with why she didn’t make it all the way? I will give you the answer. Yes, it is a big disgrace but also much more: Embarrassing, immoral, untechnical, ignorant, rude and we could carry on to make this text as long as the holy bible.


This time, I will therefore give some advice to those of you who find themselves in a similar situation to this woman. I could, I suppose, try to also convince these recruiters to become better at this but hard to teach and old dog new tricks and all that.

What can you do if you have not received detailed feedback after attending an interview?

Scenario 1: Have attended interview on behalf of a recruitment company on client site.

First of all, you should call the recruiter and ask for some detailed feedback as to why you didn’t make it all the way through. If you are told that he or she don’t have any more detailed information other than that you weren’t good enough then tell the recruiter you expect more than this. Give him or her a 48-hour deadline and explain that unless you hear anything within this deadline you will call the client yourself. I tend to think that you will then receive the feedback you deserve.

If you still don’t receive the feedback you are entitled to, then simply call or email the client yourself.  You are likely to have received their business cards in the interview so shouldn’t be a problem in terms of picking up the phone or hitting the email. Explain to them that you have tried to gain some feedback from the recruiter but without any success. You are disappointed with this and continue to say that you are keen to learn what you could have done different, and that that you were hoping that they could give you some more feedback. In all likelihood, they will give you this information (it is in their interest to keep a good reputation) and you can now move on. If they don’t want to give you the information then you can crack open the champagne and celebrate that you avoided getting a job with a company with no moral fibre.

Scenario 2: You have been for an interview with a company without any recruitment company in the middle

Simply just call or email. From experience, it is highly unlikely that you will find yourself in this position but it could be that the company have simply made an error. When you call, you can thank them again for their time and explain that you are looking for a bit of feedback. They will be open to this and again if they are not (very few) crack open the champagne.

Scenario 3: Interview with a recruitment company

As in scenario 2, simply just call or email them. They should give you this feedback providing you are a candidate they want to work with and irrespective of this; you are entitled to this feedback. Some may stop me here and say «Erik, that is easier said than done, when I simply can’t get hold of my contact person» I appreciate this as I receive several emails a day from job seekers having problems getting hold of their recruiter. If it was me I would therefore do as follows:

Call them 5 times a day on their direct line or mobile. Call their colleagues 5 times a day asking to be put through. Email them every day and perhaps also turn up unannounced. You be surprised how quickly they answer you.

What is incredibly important to get across in this text is that you as a job seeker are doing nothing wrong when chasing for feedback after an interview. You are entitled to this feedback and should expect nothing else. Therefore, don’t be scared of chasing. As with everything in life, we all learn from our mistakes and can only become better at something if we understand what areas we need to develop. That is also the case for job seekers.

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