How to Give Positive and Effective Candidate Feedback

April 25, 2018

Simon shares his tips on how to give positive and effective candidate feedback.

By Simon Underwood.

Most of us, at some point in our lives, have been rejected for a job. You read the generic letter that says something along the lines of; ‘We regret to inform you that you have been unsuccessful on this occasion, we wish you every success in the future…’ Thanks! I’ve spent hours researching your company, I’ve taken holiday leave to go to the interview and hired or bought a smart outfit! Not to mention spending the previous week dreaming about my new life working for your business.

Candidates expect more. I appreciate giving feedback can be time consuming, however it’s important to maintain good public relations (especially considering the reach of social media) and to encourage future applicants. In addition to this, rejected candidates are far more likely to share their positive experiences if they receive feedback.

The art of positive and effective feedback:

Be Truthful.

Employers can be overly concerned about offending a rejected candidate, but providing the feedback is factual, it needs to be said. “Without this qualification or X years of experience we really can’t use you in this role at this time.”

Be Tactful.

Don’t make personal comments like “I’m sorry you came across as a bit boring!”. Instead try “You need work on engaging the interview panel and showing your passion for the role. Through your tone of voice and body language.”

Praise when you can.

Highlight the positives. It’s good to open with these to help break the ice, then highlight areas for improvement afterwards so the candidate will finish knowing clearly where they need to improve.

Don’t raise false hopes.

“You would have been our second choice, jobs come up here all the time, I expect you to be in this role within 6 months!” Don’t say these sorts of statements unless they are true, it will lead to disheartened candidates over time.

Don’t invite litigation.

 Avoid discrimination in terms of race, sex, sexuality, religion and cultural background. “I don’t think someone like you would fit in with our team.” What do you mean by this, what could be inferred? Be very careful with these terms.

Correlate the feedback with the job description.

Show where the candidate does not match the job description “It says the ability to speak Spanish is essential in the job description and you can’t speak Spanish!”

Stick with the facts.

Try to avoid opinions such as “In my view you were not as commanding as the other candidate.” Or “Personally, I think you came across as disorganised.” These aren’t facts they are your own opinion!

Only comment on the things that the candidate can change.

Experience, qualifications, interview style and presentation are all thing the candidate can change. Avoid personality, accent and appearance comments.

Most importantly though; respect your candidate!

They have taken the time and trouble to want to become a part of your team. Ensure that when they’ve come through this process they still feel the same way.

If you’d like any help or more information on candidate feedback, just get in touch with the team!

Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.

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