Don’t shoot the messenger! How to give interview feedback

It is common knowledge that one of the most difficult parts of recruiting people for your business is smashing the hopes and dreams of potential, but unsuccessful, candidates when you reject them after interview. It is a thankless task and one that only the most sadistic take any pleasure in.

But what is the best way to let candidates down without leaving them feeling hollow and useless? Here we present our top tips for delivering negative feedback to unsuccessful candidates. Whilst this is an important tool however, we would of course much prefer you to make our candidates an offer.

3 is most definitely the magic number

Structuring your feedback when handing it to recruiters or directly to candidates is a fantastic way of making sure that you don’t miss anything. You need to make sure that you cover all of the important points whilst not vaporising your candidate’s confidence and self-belief.  The best way of doing this is to always give 3 pieces of positive feedback, swiftly followed by 3 reasons why the candidate was not entirely suitable. This should leave even those that you reject feeling as though they have gained at least some useful feedback from the experience.

Silence is certainly not golden

So your candidate has met you, they’ve left with that familiar post interview feeling of adrenaline and worrying about what they could have done better. So imagine being left without feedback or indication as to how things for days and days, or sometimes even weeks. The candidate starts to worry about the professionalism of the business and will most certainly start to look for other opportunities. So make sure that you give your feedback as soon as you can after the interview, no matter what the result. It stops the candidate worrying and ticks yet another thing off of your to do list. And the longer you leave it, the worse it will get.

Honesty is the best policy

Role filled by internal candidate? Headcount figures altered? Change in the business’s requirements? Let the recruiter and the candidate know. Giving this sort of information is the sort of thing that will ensure that a candidate does not feel unnecessarily rejected and will ensure that the recruitment team you have working for you feels as though they are being treated as a valued partner in the recruitment of new staff, which ultimately will mean that they are more likely to want to work with you going forward.

Do a good deed

For someone on interview the interviewer and/or the HR team are a respected and professional source of information and knowledge about the business and the job.  Sadly, if negative feedback is poorly delivered this is an illusion that is easily shattered. Why not use your skills to make sure that the candidate leaves with that respect intact and your recruiter is left in awe of your profound understanding and willingness to help candidates help. On top of feedback, give the candidate some ideas as to what they could do to improve their interview technique or their application in general. This sort of information is gold dust for job hunters and will be greatly valued. And why not give some hints and tips to your recruiter? It’ll mean they understand the requirement better and will hopefully mean one less open role to work on by the end of the week.