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*Personal and company names redacted*

Dear Applicant,

We regret to inform you that we have decided to move forward with other candidates.

Best of luck,

-AUTOMATED SYSTEM

Generic, impersonal, cut and dry. An email informing you that you are no longer in the running for a job but also forgoing any positive or negative feedback on the hiring team’s analysis of how your interview(s) went.

Casually browsing LinkedIn (acting as if it isn’t just as much as of a time waste as Facebook or Instagram) I’m constantly overwhelmed reading of job applicants voicing their disapproval of these nondescript, templated emails – informing candidates that the dreary days of job hunting will not be coming to an end that particular day. In an ostensibly sarcastic tone, the posts usually read something like this:

“Thank you for personalizing your cover letter, filling out a fifteen minute questionnaire, and taking the time for four rounds of interviews over three weeks. Due to our prehistoric hiring process and lack of compassion, we cannot make a phone call or send you any personalized, genuine feedback to assist the rest of your job search.”

Fake Happy GIFs | Tenor

After undertaking multiple rounds interviews, there’s no question that it would be of great help to be informed on what went well, and what did not. However, from an employers perspective, sending a polite “We have moved on” email is likely intentional in an attempt to upset the least amount of people. So why is the default assumption that companies are sending these copy and pasted messages because they don’t care to provide individual feedback? Before moving directly to defeatism, feeling like we’re owed something and clinging onto a fictitious grudge, why not first try asking for the feedback we desire?

“I think that’s an important thing to do, to really pay attention to negative feedback, and solicit it…this may sound like simple advice, but hardly anyone does that, and it’s incredibly helpful.” – Elon Musk

However, if you ask for criticism, be careful…you just might get it.

Well, no better time to objectively take a look at yourself than after reading that.

Learning of your flaws after an interview is never fun, and particularly not in this context. The information I was provided turned out to be irreplaceable in learning and growing from the experience, yet it is imperative to treat advice from a stranger on a video call as such. Do we really expect someones depiction of us to be flawless after a thirty minute zoom call?

All the while, it’s important to remember, potential employers turning your application down are not insulting you as a human, they’re simply saying that the role is not a good fit for you. If that is their discernment towards the situation , it’s likely that you would not have wanted to work for the company anyways. Although it may not be the most pleasant experience, it is necessary to take negative feedback in stride, focus on improving what shortcomings were illuminated and working on growing upon what you do well.

Unfortunately it seems that it is becoming all too common today to shy away from anything that may leave us in a position of discomfort. Evading discussions that may result in being told you are not proficient in any manner spares our feelings in the short run, but when discomfort is avoided entirely, what potential lessons are we missing out on? How could that knowledge have assisted us in making fewer mistakes in the long term? In an age of participation trophies, echo chambers, and entitlement, being knocked off a high horse once in a blue moon can do a world of good.

I also find no harm in respectfully responding and explaining any contextual issues that may have been highlighted

A simple change of perception when things inevitably don’t go our way can be just what the doctor ordered. For me that usually happens after watching a Jocko Willink motivational video and reminding myself, I’ll be fine. Readjust, recalibrate, re-evaluate, find a new route and start moving.

Fortunately during my next interviews I was able to mitigate most every problem (aka: talking less), eventually landing a more fitting role, with a great company, and I couldn’t be more ecstatic about it. Had I never went out of my way to ask for criticism, who is to say whether or not I would have been able to shut my yapper enough to land the job I so desired?

If for some unimaginable reason the Jocko video didn’t quite do it for you, just remember: the NFL season has commenced, some of college football is back (as we await the Big Ten announcement tonight), LeBron is eight games away from the most emotional rollercoaster of championship runs in Lakers history (RIP Kobe), and if you prefer to elevate your serotonin levels outside of sports – Oracle is making a move to try and prevent my ever-so-loved TikTok ban from coming to fruition. It’s all about perspective.

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