When I was in graduate school, I applied for a competitive summer internship. The application process was intensive: a cover letter, multiple recommendations, a work sample, and a series of assessments and interviews. The entire process took nearly a month to get through. I made it to the final round and I was feeling fairly optimistic about my chances, until I received a generic rejection email from the human resources department. Just like that, my chances were over—and worst of all, I had no idea what their rationale was. Not only was I disappointed, I was frustrated: what had gone wrong?
Most people have a similar story of applying for a job that they didn’t get. It’s not a great feeling, and one of the toughest parts is the uncertainty of why exactly we weren’t selected. Did we mess up the interview? Or was it our testing score? Did we ever stand a chance? During times like these, it may seem downright cruel that most organizations do not provide any sort of follow-up feedback on a candidate’s performance throughout the hiring process. But now that I’m on the other side of the equation, I’d like to defend this trend and shed some light on its rationale.