September 17, 2015

What You Miss When You Don’t Debrief Candidates After the Interview

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FlowerAs a recruiter, it’s normal to focus most of your time and energy on the beginning part of the interview process — e.g., identifying top candidates, conducting phone screenings, seeking approval from the hiring manager, and prepping candidates for interview.

But your job shouldn’t end there. Post-interview debriefing is just as important as pre-interview prep, and it should be done after every interview. Debriefing is critical when it comes to making sure that everyone is on the same page as far as the process is concerned.

Don’t believe me? Here are five excellent benefits afforded by the simple act of debriefing:

1. Debriefing Helps You Ensure You Understand the Hiring Manager’s Expectations

The questions a hiring manager asks in an interview will reveal what’s most important to them. Recruiters who debrief with candidates after interviews can learn what kind of questions the hiring manager asked, which will give recruiters some guidance in terms of the kinds of candidates they should be looking for.

2. Debriefing Can Give You a Glimpse of How the Hiring Manager Feels About a Candidate

During debriefing sessions, candidates will usually share their thoughts on how the interview went. This can give recruiters some indication of how the search is going. Does the hiring manager seem to be responding well? Great! Are candidates consistently saying that the interviews went poorly? Then it may be time to go back to the drawing board.

3. Debriefing Can Help You Gauge a Candidate’s Fit for a Role

In debriefing, the candidate will often share their further thoughts on not only the interview, but also the job and company itself. This information can give recruiters a sense of the candidate’s passion — or lack thereof — for the role.

Gold4. Debriefing Gives You a Chance to Improve the Candidate Experience

Recruiters can solicit feedback from candidates about how the interview process is going. Negative feedback received during debriefing gives recruiters a chance to evaluate and address any problems present in the current candidate experience.

5.  Debriefing Offers an Opportunity to Establish New Connections

Last but not least, debriefing can help recruiters to further strengthen the candidate-recruiter relationship. A great candidate-recruiter relationship can go a long way, and if the candidate doesn’t land this particular role, they may end up being perfect for another role down the road. A recruiter never knows!

Debriefing Questions

The value of a debriefing session depends almost entirely on the questions a recruiter asks their candidate. While the specific questions a recruiter asks will depend in large part on variables that are unique to their situation — e.g., the role itself, the hiring manager, the company, the culture, etc. — here are a few examples of great post-interview questions:

  1. Were you able to answer all of the interviewer’s questions well?
  2. Was there any question you felt you didn’t get to address well? Can you explain what happened?
  3. What are your overall feelings about how the interview went? Do you think the outcome will be positive or negative? Why?
  4. What are your overall feelings about the company and role now? Are you still feeling excited about the opportunity? Why or why not?

Though debriefing is often overlooked by busy recruiters, this small step can lead to huge benefits. Engage with candidates, ask the right questions, and really listen to their answers, and you’ll find that debriefing helps you seriously up your recruiting game.

This article was cowritten with and edited by Emily Hagen, marketing coordinator at Hub Recruiting.

Read more in After Interview

Gunjan has over a decade of recruiting experience and currently works as a recruiter for Hub Recruiting. She enjoys recruiting because it helps her contribute to other people's dreams and careers by connecting them with opportunities that were made for them. Gunjan is also a busy mom of two boys who loves cooking and planning fun activities for her family and friends.

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