94% of job applicants want feedback but 59% have never recieved feedback in their lives. (Source: LinkedIn Global Talent Report)
Without feedback, most candidates would not know how they can perform better. As a result, due to the traditional vacuum of quality interview feedback, many fantastic candidates keep repeating the same mistakes and are left behind.
This is unfortunate for them and even more unfortunate for businesses.
It is also true that poor feedback can cause more harm than good, as well. Therefore, in this blog, we will look into what great feedback may look like from candidates’ perspective. After all, candidates are the primary consumers of interview feedback.
When preparing interview feedback, recruiters or interviewers should take into consideration three key elements:
1) TIMING Give feedback as soon as possible without compromising on the quality.
- The sooner the applicants receive your feedback, the more meaningful it will be for them. Their memories will still be fresh and they will be able to relate to your evaluation more easily
- Prepare feedback as soon as possible after the interview before your observations fade away
- This does not mean that you should rush to give feedback. It is good practice to take a bit of time to reflect on the context and the conversation
- If you need to combine your feedback with the feedback from other colleagues, make sure everybody is aligned about the timeline and the format so you do not delay the process awaiting their input
Do your homework. Timeliness and good style cannot make up for poor content.
Nail the "job description" or "job requirements" -You need to understand the basis for candidate evaluation. As with any measurement, what are your reference points? What are your units? -Make sure you have a “job description” and you familiarise yourself with it -If you cannot obtain or create a concrete job description for any reason, make sure you understand the “job requirements” very well and use them as your reference points when evaluating candidate responses -At least have a checklist with which to compare the applicant responses
During the interview take notes on the spot and capture additional insights where you review your notes after the interview
Make sure you prepare a clear, well structured and factual assessment with specific reasons -Refer to the applicant’s specific arguments or examples of job experiences against the job requirements
Share your feedback verbally or in writing depending on your preference: -Writing may help to document it so that other colleagues can read and contribute to fill in the gaps -Even if you prefer to share it verbally with candidates, writing down the feedback before sharing it can help you validate your assessment
Make sure to offer specific advice about how they can do better in areas of improvement
If there is feedback from multiple interviewers or observers, make sure one dedicated person collates these inputs and gives the combined feedback to the candidate avoiding any inconsistencies
Remember that today’s candidates can be tomorrow’s colleagues, customers or investors. Make sure you are clear and constructive.
- Starting with the positives (assuming there are some:), mentioning what did not work well and wrapping up with a positive tone is a good way to keep the candidate engaged and receptive
- Communicate in a professional manner: -Avoid using vague or emotional statements -Keep your feedback concise -Do not repeat or paraphrase the feedback elements that you have already shared -Be clear and direct in your criticism so that your message is received accurately
- Don’t be apologetic about your criticism or why the candidate is not a good fit
- Show that you appreciate the candidate's time and effort
- Where possible, try to leave the door open for future positions
- Answer follow up questions as quickly as possible
Feedback is a gift - as long as it is timely, meaningful and constructive.
P.S: Clearly, there are various reasons why recruiters may not give interview feedback. How to address these challenges is a subject for other blogs though.