is it appropriate to ask my interviewer for pointers for the next interview round?

A reader writes:

I’ve had two phone interviews with a company, then went in for an interview loop and interviewed with five different people. I heard from my recruiter today, and the fifth person I met with, the hiring manager, wants me to come in to meet with her again (we were a little rushed the first time), as well as meet with someone else on the team.

Would it be appropriate for me to contact the fourth interviewer from my first loop, to give me some pointers on what I can do better this time around? While she was taking me to meet with the hiring manager, she stopped me and told me how much she liked me, and gave me a couple tips, so I feel like it wouldn’t be completely weird to ask her for help.

What do you think? Would this be wildly inappropriate?

I don’t think you should contact her for “help” or pointers — she’s presumably interested in hiring the best person for the job, rather helping one particular candidate. It’s one thing for her to have said to you, “By the way, Joe really loves X, so you might make sure he knows the extent of your experience in that” or whatever type of spur of the moment tips she offered you in your interview, but you seeking her out to ask for pointers for the next round is a bit different. It potentially feels a little icky; you risk coming across as trying to sell your way into the job (rather than earning it on the merits of being the best candidate) and/or making her feel you’ve put her in an awkward position.

However, you could definitely email her to thank her for her time, reiterate your interest in the job, and tell her that you’d love any feedback she’s able to offer. You never know — she might take you up on that. Or she might not — but you won’t be taking as much of a risk by wording it this way. Good luck!

{ 3 comments… read them below }

  1. Sara*

    I’ve been in a panel interview before, and after 7 rounds was offered the job… my approach to this method when the HR manager wrapped up the end of our interview (on the 2nd one) I politely inquired if there were any concerns they might have about me as a candidate as I understand they were interviewing quite a few people. She did express that the direct manager I’d be working for had a concern, and I was able to use that to my advantage and provide more detailed examples to overcome this area.

    I think this would only work in person as the tone and rapport you may have would greatly affect how this comes across, and not sure how it would work in an email.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’m a big fan of asking this toward the end of the interview, but I agree it works best in person and that it’s a bit different from asking for advice/pointers!

  2. Rebecca*

    thanks for the input and I was told by a family member to ask why I wasn’t doing so well in my interviews, but it was a panel interview and would have to try and contact 5 schools and 5 teachers for this input and I feel that would be a little aquard? But the question about concerns or any other questions would lead us into a need to know basis. Frustrated about not making the first cut but now on to round 2.

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