Below is our simple guide to providing candidates with quality feedback. If you’re wondering why give feedback to candidates after job interviews please check out our article “The value of giving candidates quality feedback”. This is our curation of what we liked when recruiting for dozens of companies in the past combined with some of the newer trends in HR tech, which can help you give feedback to more of your candidates when hiring. It is not necessarily the perfect, all questions answered, bullet proof guide to how you should give feedback, but it will give you a framework to work from.
Feedback best practices
Thank candidates for their time – they’ve come a long way to get here. Thank them for it and make sure you value their effort and the time they’ve given up to meet you
Praise them like you should – too many times I’ve seen overly negative and direct feedback given to candidates, which can cause offence. Use some tact and make sure you highlight the positives so that they can build on that for future job applications
Give constructive developmental feedback – keep it professional and word your feedback in a constructive way that not only allows candidates to improve but inspires them to take action. You can do this with the right tone for your company and using an advisory approach on what steps they should take next to improve
Remind them what you assessed them on – set out exactly what you were scoring them against and base your feedback on that. Your job advert, job specification and interview process need to align, otherwise this process can be quite hard. If you give feedback completely unrelated to the interview or what they were being scored on you’re going to struggle, i.e. saying “Not enough customer service experience” when there was no customer service requirement, question or score
Quick, but not rapid – you shouldn’t leave candidates waiting for weeks to receive feedback, but don’t ping them a rejection with generic feedback 30 minutes after they’ve left the room, that’s bad etiquette, wait at least one day.
Phone or written feedback – most people are usually more appreciative of a call and it lets you tailor your approach to each candidate. The advantage of providing written feedback allows candidates to refer to it for future applications, note be careful what you put in writing*
What not to say or do
Don’t just compare and contrast – saying “there was someone else with more experience” is not where the bar should be set for feedback. Tell the person what more they could have done to get the role. Why did this other person inspire you with more confidence that they’d be able to succeed in the role? Work out what that is and let the other candidate know
Don’t be too generic – make sure you give the candidates specific details that they can work on. If it’s all generic they will call you out. Don’t just rely on repeating your scoring criteria and interview framework use examples of what they said during the interview so they actually know what you’re talking about
And don’t make it out that you’re just too busy – don’t say “Sorry, due to the high volume of applicants we’re unable to provide you with any feedback”
How to improve your feedback process
Good interviewers – get buy in from your team on the value of good feedback. Google’s research on it’s internal hiring practices showed that interviewers were the top mentioned factor by candidates; good interviewers give good feedback. Train them, coach them and give them the tools they need to provide a great interview experience
Improved interview process – detailed note taking is an absolute must, it’s what you base your feedback on. If you are not doing this digitally with audio recording and transcription, with a tool like the Equitas app, then you need to make sure you are taking detailed manual notes. It forms the basis of your decision and feedback and needs to be accurate. It will also protect you against any potential claims from candidates
Feedback works both ways – ask candidates for feedback on your hiring process and encourage honest feedback
Allocate enough feedback time – you should aim to have a smooth and structured interview process in place, that allows you enough time to type up your notes. Auto-generated feedback is now a reality with interview apps and will speed you up, but you will still need time to personalise for each candidate
If you take these steps you will build a pipeline of engaged brand advocates and potential hires for the future. Even if they aren’t right for the role, they will be willing to refer other people within their network, if you leave them with a lasting positive impression.
At Equitas we are helping companies to make better hiring decisions with our interview app. It can be challenging to hire the right people for key roles, ensure a diverse workforce and find the time to deliver a consistent and engaging candidate experience. Our app makes your interviews more accurate, efficient and fair, empowering you to make better hiring decisions.
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* Please be careful when providing written feedback to candidates. You should never discriminate against candidates and if you don’t word your feedback the right way they might think that you did. If you’re ever unsure about the feedback you’re providing please get in touch