As overworked recruiters and hiring managers, there seems to be plenty of pressing reasons to not provide feedback to every unsuccessful job candidate that comes through the door. For example, it’s an administrative burden and/or there may be legal issues and reprisals, especially if feedback is bad.
The whole topic of providing candidate feedback can feel like ankle biting. But, with the pressure to prove candidate feedback is not a simple nuisance, there are real costs to not providing employee feedback such as employer brand damage which will negatively affect your attraction and retention capabilities. But, this is a shame as it is possible to provide feedback to candidates in a progressive, highly manageable way and with minimal administrative burden – and we have given some tips on how to do this below.
Provide three Levels of feedback
For example, why not do an initial first level of feedback, which occurs after you have done your initial round of short-listing. This can be a generalized feedback that explains where the bar was set for this role based on the applicant quality and list the selection criteria in order of significance so rejected candidates can see on a general level why they were not successful. This is better than no reply or simply saying thanks but no thanks.
Then, consider doing a second-stage feedback following the first round interviews, but making this a little more individualized, by providing a letter of rejection with more personalized feedback. If you want to minimize the administrative burden, don’t provide feedback in the rejection letter; simply make an offer to provide feedback. Research shows that only 10 percent of people request feedback anyway, so your administration burden will drop with this approach.
Then why not develop a third-level feedback for rejected candidates who make it to second round interviews – and who start to form a relationship with the business. These candidates who have put in so much effort can find an impersonal, generalized rejection especially hard to swallow, especially if they feel they did well at interview. These candidates really do deserve individualized, personal feedback, and because it may only be two or three people, you can and should provide personalized feedback, ideally on the phone and ideally by the person interviewing them. Be prepared to answer their questions and provide tips and support on how they can make themselves more attractive to your business. This coaching and mentoring can help them become the candidate you need them to be, meaning you could employ them in 6 month’s time should an opening become available.
Of course, when providing feedback, you need to make sure that you justify your decision to reject by clarifying the candidate’s shortcomings, ideally in relation to the successful candidate rather than presenting them as standalone shortcomings, which may be a more accurate picture of what is occurring anyway. It is often an easier pill to swallow.
Also, make sure to take a constructive view on proceedings and give them tips and advice on how they can develop in these particular areas or whether there are other related roles where their skill set makes them more suited.
Also, don’t let them leave without clearly outlining their strengths, ensuring to provide examples, and always invite them to apply to your company again as this will leave them with hope and a goal for the future.
A special thank you goes out this month’s Leadership Sponsors: Zoho, TheLadders, and Linium Staffing. Please visit their sites to understand how these quality services can elevate your interviewing and assessment.