Employer Branding Talent Acquisition

How to Give Honest Feedback to Candidates

Job-seekers are routinely advised to seek feedback when they are not successful in securing a role for which they have interviewed.  Feedback is the communication to an applicant who has been unsuccessful in securing an offer of employment for which they have applied, with information about the reasons they have been unsuccessful. It may also include suggestions as to how the candidate may improve their interview technique.

Feedback may be provided on request from an applicant or given automatically to all unsuccessful applicants. If a candidate seeks feedback you don’t have to oblige but given the importance of the employer brand, you may choose to do this for at least some candidates. Providing relevant interview feedback is the final part of the recruitment exercise is and should leave a positive impression of the company.

Candidate experience

The candidate experience is key and social media could mean that reports will be posted far and wide by interviewees. Some of the people interviewed will work for competitors or go on to work for them, or for customers. You don’t know where a candidate will find their new role but you do want them to speak well of your organization.

Interviewing managers may be busy but the candidate took time to interview and will be disappointed if there is no personal feedback. Constructive feedback may make all the difference for their next interview. Bear in mind that some candidates may be suitable for future vacancies so keeping them in the loop is useful.

Disappointed candidates make well post about their interview experience and if they perceive their experience to have been negative the comments they make may leave an adverse impression of the organization to be found by other candidates doing pre-interview research.

Three top tips

Depending on the role and how they performed at an interview, feedback is likely to be based around:

  • How well the candidate met the job requirements – mention strengths, as well as weaknesses and stress the particular areas the organization is seeking to cover
  • How the interviewer thought the candidate would fit into the team/culture
  • How the candidate rated alongside other applicants – let the unsuccessful applicant understand that they were less successful in a strong field

Try to offer constructive feedback on skills or interview technique as these are things that the candidate can aim to improve. Honesty is important and tries to be specific and realistic. If a candidate was not as strong as others who interviewed then give that as feedback. Good feedback provides the applicant with the means to move forward with their career plan.

If you decide not to provide feedback, for some reason, it is important to be transparent; give the reason why it will not be provided.

Moving forward

Some applicants may seek detailed personal feedback to assist them with future applications; an interviewer may feel that they cannot meet such expectations due to the pressure of resources and time, but efforts to offer comprehensive feedback as far as possible will be appreciated.

You may be able to give advice on how an applicant could improve in any future applications, may be able to suggest alternative routes by which the applicant could secure a suitable role or information about other vacancies.

10Eighty would advise that feedback should be offered which states the reason for rejection and what the applicant needs to do to move forward. Good feedback will enhance the reputation of the organization and improve the applicant experience.

By Liz Sebag-Montefiore

Liz Sebag-Montefiore is a Co-Founder and Director of 10Eighty. With over 10yrs of business experience, I have an extensive and impressive blue chip client base. I have worked with numerous firms working in partnership with the client to understand their needs.

My current role involves managing relationships with clients, developing new business, and coaching individuals in their career. I really enjoy meeting new people and have strong client relationship and networking skills.