Jul 14, 2022
5 Tips for giving effective candidate interview feedback
Candidate feedback is often overlooked during the recruitment process, but it really is important. When done well, it can help to improve the candidate experience – whether or not they get the job. It also gives you the opportunity to mould unsuccessful candidates for future roles, helping them to improve in weaker areas the next time round.
And crucially, candidates really want feedback. According to a survey by Debut of 70,000 job hunters between the ages of 18 and 23, a huge 77% thought that feedback should be a legal requirement. 80% of those asked had never received interview feedback.
But giving meaningful, valuable candidate feedback can be tricky. There’s an art to delivering critical feedback and tips for improvement, without causing offense or demoralizing a candidate.
Here are a few tips to help you provide useful interview feedback:
Make notes throughout the interview, and type them up immediately afterwards.
Taking notes during the interview and typing them up immediately afterwards ensures that all the key points of the interview are fresh in your mind. This can help you provide clear and concise feedback to the candidate, as well as accurately comparing how different candidates performed.
By taking detailed notes you can focus on the candidate's strengths and weaknesses, as well as specific areas where they may need improvement. This can help you provide more specific feedback which a candidate can use in other interview processes, should they ultimately fail to secure a position with your organization
Keep feedback professional and adopt a non-confrontational tone.
Feedback should always be professional and delivered in a non-confrontational tone. It's important to adopt an approach that is "honest but kind," where you are clear and direct with your feedback but also considerate of the candidate's feelings.
It should go without saying that you should avoid making personal attacks or judgments about the candidate. Instead, focus on their performance and how they can improve in specific areas. Be respectful and empathetic, ensuring your feedback is constructive and helpful.
Make sure everything you say is constructive.
When giving candidate interview feedback, make sure that everything you say or write is constructive.
For example, if you noticed someone struggling with a particular question during the interview, provide them with specific guidance on how to answer similar questions in the future. This can include tips on what kind of information you were looking for, and what to avoid.
Be specific and include context.
Be specific and include context. Share examples for everything you’re saying, referring to specific questions and answers from the interview. This can help the candidate understand exactly what you're talking about and where they need to improve.
Providing specific examples can also help the candidate see their performance from your perspective. This can help them understand how their behavior or responses may have come across and provide them with a clearer picture of how to improve.
Include positive feedback as well as areas for improvement.
Don’t forget to include both positive comments as well as areas for improvement in your interview feedback. This can help build the candidate's confidence and make it easier for them to accept more critical points.
Make sure your positive feedback is genuine and specific. For example, you could praise the candidate for their professionalism or for their ability to think on their feet during the interview. This can help to balance any criticism and ensures the candidate feels encouraged to improve.
The timing of interview feedback is also important. It’s fine to take time to organize your thoughts and deliver criticism sensitively, but waiting too long is bad for all involved. Lastly, don’t forget to ask for feedback on your performance from the candidate too. It can be hugely valuable to get their thoughts on your process, the interview in general as well as your business’s Employee Value Proposition.
This can help you to understand how to improve your recruitment process. as well as highlight any issues such as delays and waiting times, inconsistent candidate experiences, and overly complex processes.
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