It isn’t easy giving candidates feedback after an interview, especially if they didn’t get the job. But it’s important to know that the way in which you deliver the news can define a company’s professionalism.
Usually, there are two ways to notify the candidate. You can either contact them via the phone or with an email or letter. How you decide to do this will depend on how far the candidate is into the interview process.
If it’s the early stages of the interview process, then an email is perfectly acceptable. If, however, someone has gone through a series of stages, then you may want to consider calling and giving them direct feedback.
Providing feedback after an interview will paint you in a positive light and the candidate will appreciate you taking the time to help them. If you’re not sure where to start, here’s our advice on how to give feedback after an interview.
Make sure feedback is prompt
You should never leave it too long before letting a candidate know the outcome of the interview. Looking for a job can be stressful enough and failing to respond could cause further stress and anxiety.
The sooner applicants know the outcome, the sooner they can continue their job search. It also puts the company in a bad light if you leave your applicants feeling unsure of their position.
Not only this, but you may struggle to give constructive feedback if you’ve left it too late. Therefore, the best practice is to let candidates know if you will need longer to decide and that they haven’t been forgotten.
Your interviewee will always respect your honesty, so long as you strike the right balance. Sugar coating your answers will seem disingenuous and being overly critical can come across as unprofessional. Be constructive and keep your feedback relevant to the job requirements.
Constructive feedback should always focus on the areas the person can improve upon, so you may want to highlight the skills that they need to work on, rather than list any personality traits that you find unsuitable.
Sometimes we have our own personal preference as to how someone should conduct themselves or act. But if these aren’t necessarily out of line with the goals of the company then it’s not worth pointing out. Just because you personally don’t like something, it doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
Phrase your feedback in the right way
Choosing how you phrase your feedback means you can be honest without seeming rude. For example, instead of saying, ‘you’re not suitable for the job’, you can say ‘while it’s great you have experience in XYZ, we’re looking for someone who understands how to do ABC’.
That way, they can benefit from the information provided and hopefully improve in the future. You never know, it may even help them to land their dream job.
Another important point to note is that you shouldn’t make false promises. So if you aren’t going to consider the candidate in the future, don’t tell them you will.
Have a notepad and provide examples
Having a notepad in the interview allows you to write any important details or feedback that you can then relay back to the candidate afterwards. If you get into the practice of writing up your notes straight after an interview, you’re less likely to forget any important details.
This means that you can not only catch-up with the hiring manager and speed up the process for the candidate, but when it comes to speaking to them post-interview, you’ll have plenty of constructive feedback to refer to and can provide examples based on your notes.
Praise when you can
Feedback doesn’t have to be all about the negative. If there were times when the candidate really stood out then make sure you tell them!
Positive feedback not only softens the blow, it can be also be extremely useful and a confidence boost if they didn’t get the job. People need to and like to know what they did well, so they can keep doing it.
Overall, however you decide to give feedback, be sure that it’s constructive and can act as a learning curve for the interviewee. Giving candidates carefully constructed feedback will present your company as professional and compassionate.
It also gives them a useful takeaway from the interview so they can work on their technique, or brush up on their skills for next time, to help land their dream career.
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