Providing Candidate Feedback on a Shoestring

That's not a valid work email account. Please enter your work email (e.g.
Please enter your work email

Man is tying his shoes In the first part of this article, we showed studies which revealed that 80 percent of employers were not providing candidate feedback. So, what? I hear you say. Well what we also argued, based on evidence, was that a failure to provide candidate feedback would damage both your employer and company brand, making it harder for you to attract top talent via word of mouth hiring and social referrals – which is currently the most influential form of hiring.

But, what we realize is that many of you may be anxious or concerned as to whether you have the time or know-how to provide appropriate candidate feedback as part of the hiring process. So, below we have provided a simple, low-maintenance way to provide appropriate candidate feedback.

1. Manage expectations

Set the candidate expectations correctly. If you only have the resources to respond to short-listed applicants, make this clear in the job description or application process and explain why. For example, you could include this text as part of the application instructions or in an auto-responder message:

We appreciate your application, but we want to make you aware before applying for this role: Due to resource limitations, we are only able to respond to short-listed applicants and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

2. Don’t leave applicants in the dark

Studies show that applicants don’t like being left in the dark and like to be updated on their application. The most low-maintenance way to keep applicants informed is to include a schedule of events on the job description, e.g. period for receiving applications, when successful applicants will be short-listed, and at what date you should assume you have not been successful, if they do not hear from you. This is a little crude and low maintenance, but at least applicants do know where they stand.

In addition to this you could consider setting up an auto-responder to acknowledge the initial receipt of application and which also includes a schedule of the process. Of course, it would be great if you could reject all unsuccessful applicants but that wouldn’t be low maintenance, so at the very least, make sure there is an explicit application ‘sunset point’ should applicants not hear from you.

3. Give the chance of feedback to short-listed candidates/interviewees

We know feedback can be time consuming, so why not consider simply offering the chance of detailed feedback as opposed to simply providing it to all unsuccessful interviewees. Not everyone will take you up on the offer but at least you have made it, and the ones who really want the feedback will ask for it and benefit. But, you do need to be explicit about the feedback offer, e.g. putting it in writing in the rejection letter and giving them a contact number.

4. Providing feedback

Now this will require some work, but of course, much of the work has been reduced by the first three steps, so you will only need to provide feedback to a reduced number of candidates who really want it. This should create the space and time for you to invest in some quality feedback.

If you do provide feedback, it can still be low maintenance. Avoid rehashing the entire interview feedback form. Keep it succinct and factual and focus in on three key areas for development and also outline at least one strong area to give them a boost. Be concise and precise.

So, there you have it: a low maintenance but professional candidate feedback process for firms operating with shoe string hiring budget.

By Kazim Ladimeji