If you're cut from the interview process, it's reasonable to ask why; however, take into consideration the level of role you're interviewing for, who you're interviewing with and how far along in the process you were.
If you meet with HR in a first-round interview and don't hear back, realize that may have been part of the company's screening process. However, if you meet with the hiring manager and maybe even their boss, and don't get the job, it's understandable to want to know why.
Reach out to the recruiter and acknowledge the situation by saying, I realize I didn't get the job and understand there was a candidate that you felt was better than me for the role (if you received that feedback!), however, I want to improve and do better in my interviews to follow. Would you be willing to share with me the areas the manager or team felt I was lacking, or where my interview fell short?
Typically, the feedback will be that they found someone who had certain skills you didn't have...using a specific software, client servicing experience, or industry experience. However, another reason that's a bit more difficult to swallow is they just didn't like your personality, although most hiring managers and recruiters won't give you that feedback outright. They may provide a sugarcoated version of that saying a different candidate was a better fit. It's your job to read between the lines.
That doesn't necessarily mean they didn't like you. It just means that for the role they're looking to fill and the team they have in place, your personality didn't match up compared to someone else's.
The issue is that people never want to assume it was due to something they're lacking and instead want to believe the hiring manager made the wrong decision. When asking for feedback, approach the conversation with an open mind so you can do better the next time around, and be sincere! If you don't want to know, don't ask, because hiring managers can sniff out BS.
When you get the feedback, don't fight it. So often people try to overcome the feedback and explain how the hiring manager got it wrong. Don't get defensive. Communicate in an unassuming, non-confrontational way, and do it from a place of wanting to learn and grow. It will benefit you in the long-term.
At the end of the day, you want to be in a job where they feel you're the right person, but it's always good to ask in order to improve.
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