Interviews are a crucial part of the hiring process, but if you’re not getting feedback to your hiring managers, candidates, and team members, you’re missing out.
There are five basic types of feedback that should result from any interview. Here’s how to make the most of each:
1. Decision-Making Feedback
To: Hiring Team or Hiring Manager
The interviewer isn’t the sole decision-maker in the hiring process, but it is their job to communicate how the interview went to the rest of the hiring team. A thoroughly documented interview is a must, and structured interviews will help you record the information you’ll need to help the hiring team make an informed decision.
Structured interviews evaluate each candidate on the same criteria, using the same scale or feedback method so that each member of the hiring team is comparing apples to apples. The data recorded during a structured interview is also based on competencies, which makes it less likely that bias will sneak its way into the decision-making process.
To Do: Give the hiring team feedback on candidates’ relevant competencies so an informed decision can be made. Look at internal performance data to understand the successful employees in your organization, and map the skills and characteristics these employees have in common. Use this data to shape questions for your structured interviews. That way, you’ll be gauging candidates against current top performers to see if they’ll be a fit. Ask hiring managers if they’d like numerical scores or written notes on competencies.
2. Performance Feedback for the Interviewer
From: Hiring Team or Hiring Manager
Interviewing is both a skill and an art, and there is always room for improvement. Even for interviewers with years of experience, the interview game is always changing. For example, it used to be frowned upon to share questions with candidates before the interview. Now, employers find it best to prepare candidates by sharing discussion topics and/or questions in advance.
As interview tactics change, so do the nuances of compliance. It’s smart to keep track of the interviewer’s performance and offer them feedback to help them constantly improve.
To Do: Send a survey to the candidate asking them to rate the interviewer. When reading these surveys, consider whether or not the candidate was selected, as that may have an effect on their answers. You may want to have the hiring team fill out a similar survey, if they watched the interviewer’s performance themselves. This kind of feedback should be collected after every interview to increase interviewer performance, better the candidate experience, and prevent bias during the process.
3. Feedback for a More Positive Candidate Experience
Candidates want to know where they stand in the process, so don’t keep them in the dark. Give them feedback at all stages of the process so they aren’t left guessing. A lack of information is one of the top drivers of negative candidate experiences.
To Do: Thirty-three percent of job seekers want an automated email sent to them after applying, so why not give it to them? Take it a step further by setting up automated emails for various hiring process milestones, such as after the interview is complete. We recommend the email be sent within 48 hours from the time the interview is complete. The message doesn’t have to give any status information; it simply needs to acknowledge the interview was completed and the team is reviewing the results.
In general, it’s best to ensure candidates are updated every 2-7 days during the recruiting process, regardless of what is going on. A combination of automated and manual communication is fine.
4. Feedback to Improve Your Talent Pipeline
From: Interviewer, Hiring Team or Hiring Manager
To: Candidates Who Were Not Selected
We often assume that once a candidate is out of the running, they don’t need any more attention. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Talent is four times more likely to consider applying to your company again in the future if you give them constructive feedback.
Candidates who are not selected for the job want to know why. Did they say something that made them seem unfit for the role? Did they not meet a specific qualification? Was someone else just a better fit for the job? Following up with candidates to provide constructive feedback is key to providing a solid candidate experience, and it gives candidates information about where they can best fit into your organization. By giving this type of interview feedback, you strengthen your talent pipeline.
To Do: Pay attention to word choice. Providing written feedback in an email can give the candidate written proof of discrimination or bias if it is present in your feedback — even if the appearance of bias is unintentional. Use a standard template to deliver feedback in order to avoid this.
Don’t provide feedback that is not tied to specific job requirements. If you don’t think someone is a cultural fit, keep that information to yourself. It could be used as evidence of bias.
4. Interview Feedback to Track the Candidate Experience
Seventy-eight percent of job seekers report never being asked for feedback on the candidate experience. This is a shame, because employers and recruiters can learn a lot from the candidates who have gone through the process.
Providing a positive candidate experience is similar to providing a positive customer experience, both of which result in better business outcomes. Aside from leaving your candidates with a positive impression of your brand, soliciting candidate feedback will also give your recruiting team information it can use to improve the hiring process for all parties.
To Do: Sending candidates surveys after the interview is a great way to get feedback. You’ll want to send surveys after a decision has been made, because candidates hoping to be selected are more likely to sugarcoat their answers to appear more favorable to the interviewer. Waiting until the decision has been made will give you more honest feedback. Surveys can even be tailored to fit the status of the candidate, so that selected candidates answer a different set of questions than unselected candidates.
Interview feedback comes in a variety of forms, all of which are important. From improving hiring team performance to providing a better candidate experience, interview feedback can have massive benefits for your recruitment strategy.
A version of this article originally appeared on the WCN blog.
Jeanette Maister is managing director of the Americas for WCN.