I have recently applied to a postdoctoral position, I reached the interview stage (which took place by video conferencing with the group leader and a postdoc), and was ultimately rejected.
I would like to ask for some brief feedback so that I might be able to improve my future applications, but the only email exchanges I have had were with the HR/recruitment people during the application process (it is a nameless 'recruitment' office that got back to me with the outcome of the application).
Which route would be best for asking for feedback: -
(i) email the HR/recruitment people to ask if the group leader would be willing to provide some brief feedback
(ii) email the group leader directly (as I have no previous email contact with them, I would need to find the email address from their website)
Some pitfalls I can see to asking the HR people are: (a) that they may just not pass on the message if they are busy; (b) it could be more work for the group leader if not done directly with them; (c) they could ask the group leader in person who then forgets; (d) I am also a little worried that the HR office may pass on the message in a not very kind way (e.g. "X candidate wants to know if you can send feedback" - rather than the more polite email I could send directly thanking them for their time); (e) if there is any policy of not allowing panels to provide feedback.
Some pitfalls I can see to asking the group leader directly are: (a) it may not be taken very well since there is an online system in place and a recruitment person who manages the application process; (b) they may be even more busy than usual and dislike the direct interruption; (c) as I don't have their email address I would have to find this online, which doesn't look very casual - I would prefer not to come across as someone angrily looking for an explanation for why they have been rejected, I am genuinely just trying to improve my future chances of finding a position.
I am sure there are many other factors I haven't considered.
Finally, please can someone suggest any tips they may have for writing a request for feedback? What format of email would be least irritating for an interviewer aside from just being brief? Does anyone have direct experience of this (from either side)? Even anecdotes of things you may have received in the past that were particularly good/bad may be helpful.