Giving Interview Feedback – Is It Still Worthwhile?

Giving Interview FeedbackInterview feedback has become an increasingly fraught area over recent years, and as a result many employers have now stopped giving it. A survey by the charity Business in the Community found that 24% of young people did not receive any feedback after interviews, while only 41% of those who did receive feedback found it helpful.

Of course, it is never a pleasant task to tell people they haven’t got the job, but there are also other reasons why recruiters are increasingly wary about contacting unsuccessful applicants.

One factor is simply the pressures of work, as when you are trying to keep track of a lot of applications it can be hard to find the time to send an acknowledgement or contact a candidate. However, recruitment software can help to streamline the processes and ensure you can make the time to add a human touch.

The fear of legal action is another reason why some recruiters are wary about giving feedback. In an increasingly litigious age, many recruiters have become nervous that they could lay themselves open to discrimination claims if they say the wrong thing.

Reasons to Give Feedback

All the evidence shows that there is still a demand for feedback from candidates. Many will have taken a day off work for interviews and spent a lot of time preparing, as well as paying for transport and new clothes. After an interview, they understandably want to know of any shortcomings, to ensure that they can improve their performance in the future.

However, it isn’t just candidates who can benefit from feedback. Recruiters also stand to gain from taking the time to follow-up with applicants. If you give constructive feedback, it may encourage candidates to work with you again in the future, hopefully after more thorough preparation.

Conversely, if you don’t get back to a candidate on one occasion, they might avoid you in future and tell their friends and colleagues not to bother contacting you either. This applies both to in-house recruiters and agencies who manage many job applications.

Ways of Giving Feedback

Using a sophisticated recruitment CRM makes it easier to keep track of the interview process and all interactions between clients and candidates. This means you can send timely feedback and keep lines of communication open.

It may not be practical to email everyone individually at every stage, but recruitment software can be used to send out automated responses, for example when people send in their CV or apply. Sending an acknowledgement email after a first contact can assure a candidate that they haven’t been forgotten and their efforts are appreciated.

An automated response does not have to sound impersonal. It can still have a warm, friendly tone and encourage candidates to apply for future vacancies, as well as linking to useful resources. For instance, these could include a link to a section on your website containing careers advice, or a way to sign up to newsletters and social media feeds.

After an interview or brief initial face-to-face meeting, the personal touch is important. Candidates will usually appreciate some individual feedback, whether this is via an individual email, phone call or other channels such as social media. However, it is best to avoid calling people at their current job with interview feedback.

Making a summary of key points straight after a full job interview makes it easier to remember details about particular candidates which you can refer to when giving them feedback. Notes on this can also be recorded in the staffing CRM.

What to Include – and Leave Out

Very bland feedback might not give offence, but it doesn’t really benefit candidates. For instance, just saying that all the candidates were very good, but someone else had better qualifications for the job, is not the type of feedback which can actually help someone. While legally safe, this won’t help a job applicant to prepare better for future interviews or know where they went wrong on this occasion. 

For feedback to be more worthwhile than this, it needs to be honest but kind, pointing out the main reasons why a candidate was not successful. This will give them something to build on for the future.

Comments need to be tactfully worded, however, and avoid being too blunt, as job interviews are very stressful at the best of times. Feelings can easily be hurt, while the risk of litigation is also a reality.  Employment lawyers advise recruiters to avoid what could be seen as personal comments and keep things fairly general, but there is a balance to strike between being general and bland.   

An important element of feedback is to let candidates know the things they did right as well as those which missed the mark. For instance, you could let them know if their CV has an especially good section which they could build on, or if their answers in a particular section of the interview were impressive.

Using Adapt recruitment software can make it easier to manage the whole application process. Adapt streamlines applications and makes all the information received from candidates easily accessible and searchable by recruiters. This frees you up to concentrate on interacting with both candidates and clients, without having to spend a lot of time on admin tasks.  For more details of Adapt, please get in touch.

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