The value of giving candidates quality feedback
Updated: Apr 7
Everyone knows the golden rule “Treat people as you’d want to be treated yourself” but when it comes to giving feedback to candidates after interviews it can quite quickly be forgotten and we tell ourselves “I don’t have the time to give detailed, quality feedback to every candidate”.
Feedback can be the last thing interviewers think about when they have packed schedules, seeing numerous candidates back to back and barely given enough time to score before having to switch back to their day to day role. Lack of time is usually the main reason people use for not providing feedback.
But why should you take the time to give detailed quality feedback to candidates? Quality feedback can lead to talented candidates who have just missed out on a role reapplying in the future when other roles become available. Every candidate you interview can become a brand advocate sharing their positive experience with others and most importantly it’s what you would want if you were in the same situation.
Most companies I’ve interviewed for throughout my career had a different approach to feedback. I’ve seen everything from detailed 1-2-1 feedback calls to “Sorry, due to the high volume of applicants we’re unable to provide you with any feedback” or worse yet… nothing, not even a rejection email, leaving people to assume they haven’t been selected.
I’ve met candidates who applied numerous times to their dream employers and they were distraught because they kept failing, not knowing why. This type of experience is awful and it means unsuccessful candidates often tell their family and friends about their experience. Word of mouth is a powerful tool and could have a serious negative impact on your employer brand.
Few candidates would consider reapplying after being rejected for a role, especially if there were not given any feedback. One candidate I spoke to at a previous employer had failed the same part of the recruitment process 6 times. They never received any feedback, saying the experience was debilitating and made them look at the company in a different light.
Giving honest and actionable feedback massively boosts your employer brand and can help you build a talented pool of advocates and potential future employees. They might not be right for the company at the minute, but if you’re growing let them know about upcoming opportunities and keep them engaged.
Poor feedback can lead to poor candidate experience and the negative impact on employer brand is huge, Graeme Johnson worked out a cost of £4.4m per year for Virgin Media due to poor candidate experience. Johnson summarised it by saying “We’re not living up to the brand values by giving that type of experience [...] We need to support them in their lives and help them find a job”*. Feedback is now a core part of what Virgin offer to all candidates.
But the main reason you should give candidates feedback is because you know it’s the right thing to do. I’ve given hundreds of people feedback and interview advice; it’s one of the most rewarding things when they get back in touch and tell you they’ve got another job or better yet when they reapply and get the same job you previously rejected them for.
Providing all candidates with feedback could become a legal requirement in the future, the Telegraph highlighted that Generation Z candidates want feedback to be mandatory. If you want to make sure you’re giving your candidates quality feedback check out our useful feedback guide here. If interviewers still feel they lack the resources and time to provide quality feedback there are tools that can help. Using a digital approach to interviews and assessments provides a quicker and more convenient way for interviewers to give feedback to candidates. There are also time savings when interviewing candidates which can be reinvested in providing quality feedback. Auto generated feedback provided by interview apps can give your interviewers a good base and a consistent writing style for feedback, saving even more time. There’s no longer a need for hand writing reams of indecipherable notes to try and feedback to candidates. 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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* The Commercial Impact of Candidate Experience - Graeme Johnson - Talent Connect 2016