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Why it’s vital to give post-interview feedback

Why it's vital to give post interview feedback

Imagine you are a jobseeker who’s just finished interviewing with your company. You’re excited about the role and eager to find out if you’ve made the grade, but you don’t hear anything back for several weeks. Eventually, you may get a generic email telling you that the job has been offered to another candidate, but no useful information on why they rejected you or how you can improve your performance.

As you can imagine, this is a very frustrating experience for candidates, so why don’t employers give better feedback and what’s the best way to do so?

Why employers don’t give feedback

The most common reason for companies failing to give their interviewees constructive feedback is that it makes extra work for the interviewers, who are likely to have already spent lots of time on the recruitment process, as well as managing their own jobs. It takes time to carefully put together tactful feedback, and many interviewers are unable or unwilling to invest this time.

Many employers are also wary of upsetting candidates with negative feedback and want to avoid having a difficult conversation at all costs. They may feel that giving a rejected candidate feedback is inviting further conversation, as the interviewee may seek to dispute their opinions. Many companies also fear opening themselves up to charges of discrimination, even if completely unfounded, as candidates seek to justify themselves.

Worst of all, some interviewers don’t supply detailed feedback because they simply can’t remember enough about the interview or why they chose to reject a candidate.

Why giving feedback is so important

There is a very competitive market for the best candidates right now, and employers are constantly seeking ways to improve their employer branding and make themselves stand out from the competition. A major part of building your employer brand is giving candidates a positive recruitment experience. Candidates are desperate for good feedback to help them improve their performance in future interviews – 94% of jobseekers want interview feedback, but only 41% have ever received it.

Even if a jobseeker is not right for the current role, the same candidate may be perfect for a future vacancy. After all, they were good enough to invite to interview. Giving a rejected candidate detailed feedback and advice allows you to give them a good recruitment experience, keeping the door open for future roles. According to LinkedIn Hiring Stats, candidates are 4 times more likely to consider your company for a future opportunity when you offer them constructive feedback.

Plus, in an era when social media is making communication fast and easy, candidates can and will share a bad experience with others. 83% of jobseekers said they would tell friends and family, while 64% would share on social media. The rise of employer review websites like Glassdoor, also encourage interviewees to share their recruitment experience. Negative reviews of your business’ recruitment practices can harm your ability to hire the best candidates in the future and can even have a negative effect on your relationships with customers. This example shows how bad candidate experiences cost Virgin Media $5 million a year, so it can significantly affect your company’s bottom line.

The flipside of this is that if you can make the candidate experience a positive one, even if they don’t get the job, interviewees will be left with a good impression of your company and are likely to share that with family and friends. Candidates really appreciate you taking the time to give them constructive feedback that can help them improve their interview performance in the future.

What’s the best way to give feedback?

Here are our top tips for giving candidates feedback while keeping a positive relationship with them:

  • Taking notes in the interview and comparing notes afterwards is essential to ensure you remember exactly what the candidate said.
  • Don’t make a candidate wait. If you know you won’t be offering them the job, let them know straight away, even if you haven’t yet filled the vacancy.
  • Make sure you start and end with positive feedback and discuss any negatives in the middle of the conversation. Talking about what they did well will keep the discussion upbeat.
  • Limit any criticism to purely job-related criteria and steer clear of talking about personal attributes, even if they affected your opinion of someone. Make sure you give advice on areas they can improve, not things they are unable to change.
  • Don’t compare them to other candidates – focus purely on what they said and did.
  • Don’t raise false hopes – if you’re never going to employ them, don’t say you’ll be in touch for future roles
  • Don’t leave yourself open to litigation – steer well clear of anything related to protected characteristics, even indirectly. For example, if a candidate is unable to work late due to family commitments, rejecting them for a vacancy based on this reason would be discrimination.
  • Don’t forget to thank them for taking the time to attend the interview!

Or shortcut the process by using a recruitment consultant

Of course, giving thoughtful tailored feedback on every candidate takes time, especially if you talk to each one on the phone, and this time will have to come out of the your working hours.

However, if you use a recruitment consultancy to find new hires you can shortcut this whole process. It’s still important to give feedback on each candidate, but you can be completely honest without worrying about hurting anyone’s feelings. Your consultant will do the work of talking it through with the candidate, helping them to improve their interview performance while leaving them with a really positive impression of your company.

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