How to Give Feedback to Your Unsuccessful Job Candidates

Feedback to Unsuccessful Candidates Marks You As an Employer of Choice

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Feedback to Unsuccessful Candidates Marks You As an Employer of Choice

Are you interested in providing feedback to an unsuccessful candidate for your job? Candidates appreciate feedback because they are anxious to improve their chances of getting the next job for which they apply. Some candidates are also genuinely interested in improving their skills and interaction in an interview setting.

In "Must Employers Tell Applicants Why They Weren’t Hired?" why the majority of employers don’t provide feedback to their unsuccessful candidates was covered. The article also suggested several reasons why you might want to provide feedback.

One study, from the “The 2018 North American Talent Board Candidate Experience Benchmark Research Report," found that 69.7%% of candidates receive no feedback after being rejected during the screening and interviewing stages of their job candidacy. Another 53.5% of job candidates do not receive feedback after the interviewing stage.

Keep in mind that if you want to become an employer of choice who attracts and retains the best candidates you will want to avoid statistics like these. Why not avoid the negative feedback and reputation loss with job searchers by treating your job candidates with dignity and respect? They deserve feedback.

10 Tips to Provide Helpful Feedback Following a Job Interview

If you’re in the 30% of employers who will provide feedback, these ten tips will help you provide feedback most effectively following an interview.

1. Tell the truth.

If you hide your feedback in a feedback sandwich or minimize, trivialize, or downplay the importance of your feedback and its impact on your hiring decision in any way, you dilute your words. Your candidate may not benefit from your graciousness and kindness in providing the feedback.

2. Treat your candidate with respect.

Even if the smell of the candidate’s perfume flooded your company with an unwanted odor or the individual dressed for the interview in a clubbing outfit, you owe the person respectful treatment. If your interview committee’s reaction was, “Oh my, whatever was she thinking,” rise to the occasion, don’t sink when you talk with the applicant. The dig you might secretly like to toss out might be on target, but don’t cheapen your company or your own position.

3. Provide the feedback out of a genuine desire to offer assistance.

Feedback is not something that you are required to provide for candidates; you offer the feedback to help improve his chances of getting a job offer. The candidate will appreciate genuineness and sincerity. And, he will remember how he was treated and share this on social media and with his friends.

4. Correlate your feedback with the job description, job posting, and job analysis that you created for the position.

When you keep the feedback directly related to the job, you most effectively help your candidate.

5. Make your feedback as constructive and as clear as possible.

Candidates need actionable, constructive feedback that they can immediately incorporate into their skill set. Don’t beat around the bush or obfuscate; the candidate may never get your message. Remember that successful communication is about shared meaning.

6. Candidates need examples so that they can incorporate the feedback you provide.

For example, tell the candidate for marketing director that his answers to questions about what he’d recommend your company consider to broaden your marketing approach (after knowing you for six weeks, exploring the website, and experiencing two sets of interviews) did not indicate that he’d thought about your needs.

For example, responding that he’d begin to take a look at that and interview department members about their recommendations when he started the job, was a wrong answer.) Tell the candidate that their failure to look at the product you sell or your company website before the interview irreparably hurt their chances compared to other candidates. (A customer service applicant who has not taken a look can’t effectively answer interview questions about how they’d contribute.)

7. Stick with factual feedback.

Stay away from offering opinions and feelings. These comments will most likely spark controversy and arguments. You don’t need to tell the abrasive candidate who became prickly during the interview that your interviewers doubted he’d have the ability to work efficiently with an upset customer.

8. If a skill test was part of the interview process, tell the candidate how they did on the test.

For example, if the candidate had to create a writing sample during the interview for a documentation position, tell the candidate how they did. If grammatical and spelling errors and incoherent sentences were present, the candidate needs this information. If a developer is asked to do a whiteboard test so that you can assess their coding skill and problem-solving approach, tell the candidate how they did on the test compared to the skills exhibited by your last few hires.

9. Restrict your feedback to activities, responses, and experience that the candidate can change.

For example, if an individual is employed, you might suggest the areas that he or she needs to obtain experience in to qualify for jobs similar to yours in the future. While employed, the candidate may have the opportunity to pursue your recommendations. If your candidate’s responses to questions during the interview were weaker than the competition’s, point out a few questions and answers that he can strengthen. Tell the candidate if they did not do a good job of highlighting for the interview committee the match between their skills and experience and what they sought.

10. In many cases, your hiring decision had little to do with anything that your candidate could improve in the short term.

Sometimes, the appropriate feedback is that you had stronger applicants with more experience and knowledge in areas that you perceive as most important for the job. If you can, tell the candidate the areas they should strive to improve. Be prepared, though, because, if you use this response, and you've chosen to provide feedback, the candidate will ask which areas he or she needs to improve.

The Bottom Line

Decisions about whether—and how much—feedback you can supply an applicant must also depend on your sense of how the candidate is likely to react based on your experience of his candidacy.

When you can detail a few simple, solid reasons and suggestions, rather than express feelings, assumptions, or opinions, you have a much stronger case for providing much desired and needed feedback. But, create a policy for your organization and ask interviewers and hiring managers to abide by it, too.

Please note that the information provided, while authoritative, is not guaranteed for accuracy and legality. The site is read by a world-wide audience and ​employment laws and regulations vary from state to state and country to country. Please seek legal assistance, or assistance from State, Federal, or International governmental resources, to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct for your location. This information is for guidance, ideas, and assistance.