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Rejected Job Seekers Shouldn't Expect Feedback

By Kenneth Bredemeier
Special to washingtonpost.com
Friday, June 29, 2007 2:11 AM

If you've been rejected for a job you sought, chances are the company didn't tell you the reason why.

That frustrates this job seeker, who'd like some feedback:

When you are rejected for an open position, why is it that hiring managers rarely ever offer an explanation as to why you weren't the right candidate?

You suffer through a long interview process and in most cases all you get is a letter saying "Thanks, but no thanks."

How are applicants supposed to improve and tailor themselves to appropriate job openings without more information?

Don't expect rejection letters to include tips on how to improve anytime soon, says Steven Darien, chairman of the Cabot Advisory Group, a human resources consulting firm in Bedminster, N.J.

Under strict advisory from corporate lawyers, explains Darien, most hiring agents -- managers and recruiters -- are not allowed to share details about hiring decisions with losing candidates. Disclosing such information is potentially problematic, especially if the person does not like the explanation he gets.

Many employers, he continues, know from experience that they could be sued for slander or defamation.

Instead, Darien suggests a concerted effort to find out on your own. Ask a trusted colleague, a professional peer in the industry or friend for pointers -- perhaps including a mock interview and critique of your interviewing skills, resume and cover letter.

For those willing to pay a fee, concludes Darien, career counselors are always willing to provide help and advice.

Kenneth Bredemeier has six years of experience writing about the workplace. On the Job, a column addressing real worker questions about office relationships, corporate policies and workplace law, is written exclusively for washingtonpost.com. To submit a question, e-mail onthejob@washingtonpost.com. We reserve the right to edit submitted questions for length and clarity and cannot guarantee that all questions will be answered.

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