How to Give Feedback to Candidates

How to give feedback to candidates

In the ever-twisting labyrinth of recruitment, feedback to candidates stands like a beacon of hope – or despair, depending on who’s asking and who’s telling. Jokes aside, giving feedback after an interview isn’t just a courteous nod to the time and effort candidates have invested; it’s an art form that, when done right, can elevate your employer brand to the stratosphere.

Why Giving Feedback to Candidates After an Interview is Important

It’s Not You, It’s Us: Building a Positive Employer Brand

Let’s face it – nobody enjoys the “thanks, but no thanks” conversation. But here’s a little secret: how you deliver this message can significantly impact your company’s reputation. Providing constructive interview feedback helps candidates understand where they fell short, turning a potentially negative experience into a positive one. It’s like giving a participation trophy, but with actual value. This approach not only softens the blow for the candidate but also enhances your employer brand. Think of it as public relations, but for your hiring process.

A Learning Curve for Both Parties

When you give tailored feedback after an interview, you’re not just helping candidates; you’re also gathering insights about your hiring process. Are candidates consistently missing the mark on a particular skill or quality? Maybe it’s time to reevaluate that job requirement or clarify it in your job ads. It’s akin to realizing you’ve been walking around with your shirt misbuttoned – a little embarrassing, perhaps, but better to know so you can correct it.

Fostering Future Fit: Turning Today’s No Into Tomorrow’s Yes

Sometimes, the journey of a candidate with your company is more of a marathon than a sprint. Today’s “no” might very well morph into tomorrow’s “yes.” By providing clear, constructive feedback, you’re not just closing a door; you’re subtly leaving it unlocked for future possibilities.

Consider this: a candidate who lacks certain technical skills today could, with your pointed feedback, embark on a journey of professional development. Imagine them returning to your talent pool, skills honed and ready to contribute, all thanks to the seeds of growth you planted with your feedback. It’s an investment in your future talent pool that can yield high returns.

Moreover, when candidates feel respected and valued even when receiving a rejection email, they are more likely to reapply or even refer others to your company. It’s a ripple effect where your thoughtful feedback not only fosters individual growth but also enhances your reputation in the job market. In essence, you’re not just sowing seeds for a future talent garden; you’re cultivating a lush ecosystem of potential candidates.

Learn how to Better Manage your Talent Pool

Legal and Ethical Considerations: Navigating the Tightrope with Transparency

In the intricate dance of recruitment, transparency and fairness are the music to which all steps are choreographed. Providing feedback is more than a nicety; it’s a strategic move in maintaining a fair and unbiased hiring process. Think of it as a friendly neighbourhood spider-web, delicately woven to catch any potential flies of bias or legal missteps.

In an era where candidates are increasingly aware of their rights and the importance of diversity and inclusion, your feedback process can act as a testament to your company’s commitment to these values. By ensuring that your feedback is objective, focusing on specific aspects of the candidate’s interview performance and qualifications, you’re not only protecting your company from potential legal issues but also reinforcing a culture of fairness.

Moreover, clear and honest feedback can help shield against misunderstandings or grievances that could escalate into legal challenges. It demonstrates that your hiring decisions are based on merit and job fit, rather than any prohibited considerations. By navigating this legal and ethical tightrope with care and transparency, you strengthen your employer brand and establish trust in your recruitment process.

See Diversity Recruitment Tools in Action

How to Give Feedback to a Candidate After an Unsuccessful Interview

The Sandwich Technique: Constructive Criticism with a Side of Praise

The feedback sandwich technique, a staple in the pantry of communication skills, is all about balance. It’s like making a gourmet sandwich – the right mix of ingredients is key. Start with a slice of positive feedback, something genuine that the candidate did well during the interview. This could be their enthusiasm, specific knowledge, or a particularly insightful answer they gave.

Next, layer on the constructive criticism – the meat of the sandwich. This part is crucial and should be handled with care. Focus on areas where the candidate can improve, such as certain skills that need sharpening or aspects of their interview technique that could be refined. It’s important to be as constructive as possible, offering suggestions for improvement rather than just pointing out flaws.

Finally, top it off with another slice of positive feedback. This could be a reinforcement of their potential, an encouragement to apply for future roles, or a comment on a strong aspect of their background. The goal is to ensure that the candidate leaves the conversation feeling acknowledged and empowered, not deflated.

How to give feedback to candidates after an interview

Be Specific, Not Shakespearean

When it comes to feedback, clarity is king. It might be tempting to be overly verbose or indirect, perhaps in an attempt to soften the blow. However, candidates appreciate straight talk. Being specific about what aspects of their interview were strong and which areas need improvement is far more helpful than a flowery but vague critique.

For instance, instead of saying “You could improve your communication skills,” try “In future interviews, it might be helpful to provide more specific examples of your project management experience.” This gives the candidate a clear idea of what to work on and how to improve. Remember, the goal of feedback is to guide, not to befuddle.

Tailor Your Feedback

Generic feedback is about as useful as a one-size-fits-all hat – rarely a perfect fit and often leaving much to be desired. Each candidate brings their own unique set of skills, experiences, and personality to the table. Your feedback should reflect this individuality.

By customising your feedback, you demonstrate that you have paid attention to the candidate’s specific attributes and value their individual contribution to the interview process. This not only makes the feedback more useful for the candidate but also reinforces your company’s commitment to treating each candidate as a valued individual. Tailored feedback can be a powerful tool in building a positive employer brand and establishing a reputation for thoughtful and respectful hiring practices.

Timing is Everything: Strike While the Iron’s Hot

In the world of candidate feedback, timing can be as crucial as the feedback itself. Delaying feedback is akin to waiting until after the party to tell someone they had spinach in their teeth – it’s well-intentioned but ultimately not very helpful. The ideal time to provide feedback is when the interview is still a fresh memory.

This not only shows your respect for the candidate’s time and interest but also enhances the relevance and impact of your feedback. Quick feedback can also help maintain the candidate’s positive perception of your company, reinforcing your reputation as an efficient and considerate employer. So, aim to strike while the iron is hot – timely feedback can make all the difference.

Encourage and Inspire: Fueling Future Endeavours

The final note of your feedback should be like a launchpad, propelling candidates forward in their job search journey with renewed vigour and insight. A dash of empathy and encouragement can transform an otherwise disappointing experience into a stepping stone for growth. Remember, today’s unsuccessful candidate could very well be tomorrow’s perfect fit.

Encouraging them to continue honing their skills and to consider future openings at your company can leave the door open for potential opportunities. This approach not only benefits the candidates but also nurtures a pool of increasingly qualified applicants for your future hiring needs. It’s about building bridges, not burning them.

The Fine Line Between Honesty and Diplomacy: The Art of Gentle Truth

Navigating the tightrope between honesty and diplomacy in feedback is an art form. It’s crucial to be truthful – candidates deserve to know where they stand and how they can improve. However, the delivery of this truth should be cushioned with tact and consideration. The goal is to be direct yet kind, providing constructive criticism that focuses on specific behaviours or skills rather than personal traits.

This approach not only preserves the candidate’s dignity but also maintains a positive image of your company. Think of it as a surgeon’s precision – cutting to the heart of the matter without unnecessary damage.

Data-Driven Feedback: Beyond the Buzzword

In a world awash with the term “data-driven”, it’s time to bring its power into the realm of candidate feedback. Utilising data from interview scorecards or specific performance metrics not only injects precision into your feedback but also elevates its objectivity. By grounding your comments in tangible data, you’re demonstrating that your feedback is not just a subjective opinion but a well-considered assessment based on clear criteria.

This approach not only enhances the credibility of your feedback but also helps candidates understand exactly where they stand and what specific areas they need to work on. It’s about replacing ambiguity with clarity, transforming feedback from a routine exercise into a strategic tool for candidate development.

Have you tried Scorecards? See them in Action

Legal Compliance: Navigating with Caution and Care

When providing feedback, it’s essential to tread carefully on the tightrope of legal compliance. This aspect of the feedback process is often invisible but crucial. Every word and point of critique should be meticulously considered to avoid any discriminatory undertones. Feedback should strictly pertain to the candidate’s performance and their alignment with the role’s requirements.

By ensuring that your feedback is fair, job-related, and non-discriminatory, you’re not just avoiding potential legal pitfalls; you’re also upholding the integrity and ethical standards of your company’s recruitment process. This careful navigation reflects a commitment to fair and respectful hiring practices, safeguarding your company’s reputation and legal standing.

Candidate Feedback Examples and Templates

The Classic Rejection Turned Constructive

“Dear [Candidate’s Name],

Thank you for taking the time to interview with us for the [Job Title] position. We were impressed with your [specific positive trait or skill], but we have decided to move forward with a candidate whose experience more closely aligns with our current needs.

We noticed that your experience in [specific area] could be further developed. Focusing on this area could greatly enhance your skill set for similar roles in the future. We truly appreciate your interest in our company and wish you all the best in your job search.

Kind regards,

[Your Name]”

How to give feedback to candidates after interview

The “Not Now, But Maybe Later” Template

“Dear [Candidate’s Name],

Thank you for interviewing for the [Job Title] position. We were particularly impressed with your [specific positive trait or skill]. However, at this time, we are looking for someone with more experience in [specific area].

We encourage you to apply for future positions as your career progresses, particularly in [specific area]. Your potential in [aspect they were strong in] was evident, and we would be open to considering your application again in the future.

Best wishes,

[Your Name]”

The Feedback Request Response

“Dear [Candidate’s Name],

Thank you for reaching out for feedback regarding your interview for the [Job Title] position. One area for improvement that stood out was [specific area]. Enhancing your skills in this area could significantly improve your candidacy for similar roles.

We appreciated your questions about [specific aspect of the interview or company], showing your genuine interest in the role. We wish you success in your career and thank you for considering a position with us.


[Your Name]”

Embracing the Digital Era: Feedback in the Age of Automation

In a world where automation is king, personalization remains queen. Tools like Teamdash’s recruitment automation can streamline the feedback process, but remember, a robot can’t replicate human empathy. Use technology to manage the logistics, but keep the human touch in your responses. It’s like getting a birthday card – an automated email is nice, but a handwritten note? That’s memorable.

Would you like to Easily Automate Emails?

The Bigger Picture: Feedback as a Continuous Dialogue

Feedback shouldn’t be a one-off event; it’s part of an ongoing dialogue with your talent pool. Encourage candidates to seek out development opportunities and reapply in the future. This approach nurtures a relationship with potential talent, turning today’s “no” into tomorrow’s “maybe” or even “yes.”

Feedback: Not Just a Checkbox

Remember, giving feedback to candidates is more than a task to tick off your to-do list. It’s a crucial component of the candidate experience and a reflection of your company’s values. By providing thoughtful, constructive feedback, you’re not only helping candidates grow but also strengthening your employer brand.

Wrapping It Up: Teamdash’s Role in Enhancing Candidate Feedback

While we’ve spent a good deal of time not overtly selling Teamdash, it’s hard to ignore how our platform can transform your feedback process. With features like customizable application forms, interview scorecards, and recruitment automation tools, Teamdash makes providing personalised, timely, and effective feedback simpler than ever. Think of us as your recruitment Swiss Army knife – versatile, efficient, and always handy.

So, whether you’re a hiring manager in healthcare or a recruitment lead in retail, remember: good feedback is an investment in your brand, your process, and your future talent. And with Teamdash, you’re not just investing in technology; you’re investing in a more effective, empathetic, and efficient recruitment journey.

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Marie Evart

Co-founder & Community Manager

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