8 Best Practices for Providing Candidate Feedback
Most candidates value the feedback they get from interviews. Sadly, most companies don’t even bother.
Glassdoor’s statistics are clear: 53% of employees say that candidate feedback is the biggest factor that contributes to a positive candidate experience.
However, recent research suggests that only 7% of businesses give feedback – a dismal number in any circumstances.
That said, in this gap comes an opportunity. Candidates love receiving feedback and look positively towards companies that give it. Knowing this, it’s important to understand how to provide feedback in a way that’s both effective and efficient.
This article will go into detail about why candidate feedback is so important and how to provide it in a respectful and positive manner consistently.
Let’s dive in.
Why is Candidate Feedback Important?
Before we dive into the topic of how to give out candidate feedback, we have to understand why it’s important in the first place.
Here are some reasons why candidate feedback is an important part of the recruitment process.
Signifies mutual respect
Providing candidate feedback shows that employers respect the time and effort candidates put into the interview process.
We all know that going through en entire recruitment process takes a significant amount of effort. However, giving candidates feedback on their applications signifies that you respect their efforts to get into your company.
Meanwhile, not giving any feedback – and even worse, simply dropping out of the conversation without telling them that the position has been filled – gives the impression that employers don’t appreciate their candidates’ efforts fully.
Creates positive candidate experience
Remember, even if a candidate doesn’t get the position, your feedback could be the one positive thing they can take away from the whole experience.
More than that, an article by the Human Capital Institute revealed that 95% of applicants surveyed specifically said that they wanted feedback from companies.
Although one might think of candidate experience as an abstract concept, it does have very real consequences.
Word of mouth travels fast – negative candidate experience will spread through your previous applicant’s network like wildfire. Research by TalentLyft revealed that as much as 69% of candidates will share whatever negative candidate experience they had.
On the other hand, positive candidate experience creates a solid employer brand. It shows that companies care about what applicants have to go through, and this, too, can spread very quickly among your candidate’s network.
Encourages repeat applicants
On the flip side, applicants who came out with a positive candidate experience are more likely to apply again.
More than that, they are likely to reapply with a stronger performance than before. With the new insights they gained from your feedback, they’re more likely to rectify their shortcomings and address their problems from before.
It doesn’t cost anything
Simple, insightful feedback doesn’t take a lot of time to do and doesn’t cost any money or resources. Moreover, hiring teams already have all the material they need from your notes – all that is needed is to communicate it.
Failing that, a quick call to give your personal, general assessment of their performance would already go a long way.
Providing Candidate Feedback: Best Practices
Now that you know why candidate feedback is important, here are some of the best practices for providing feedback to the candidates in your next recruitment campaign.
1. Don’t make them wait too long
The very first thing that employers have to realise is that candidates are constantly waiting for your decision and feedback. Most of us know that the wait between the interview and the decision can be nerve-wracking – especially if we’re talking about one’s dream job.
More than that, taking too long to reach a decision or provide feedback can have negative consequences.
Candidates may write off their application with your company as a lost cause, and the candidate experience falls from there.
Therefore, don’t make your hopeful candidates wait too long.
Luckily, the bar is rather low. According to Indeed’s 2021 research, less than 4% of candidates get feedback within 24 hours. 37% get feedback within 7 days, while 44% have to wait for weeks before they can receive feedback. The average response time for all industries is 24 days after an interview.
This means that sending feedback within a week already beats industry averages. Meanwhile, sending feedback within a day or two will create a lasting positive impression.
2. Have a standardised process
In general, standardising a process makes it more efficient and the results more consistent. Here are a few tips for creating a standardised feedback process.
- Create a system of note-taking. Notes will be one of your primary bases for giving feedback. Thus, create a system where teammates can expect high-quality notes consistently.
- Designate regular tasks during the interview. At the very least, always assign somebody to be the notetaker. The rest of the teammates could be assigned to question, in detail, different topics of the workload or different aspects of the company.
- Design a standard feedback template. Templates save time and effort because hiring teams won’t have to start from the ground up every time they give feedback.
3. Pick up the phone
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with a polite email telling your candidates if they made the cut or not, going the extra mile and giving them feedback through the phone will make a more lasting impact.
Hearing another person’s voice creates a kinder and more intimate connection than the stark honesty of an email. Also, the natural flow of a conversation allows applicants to ask questions and raise concerns, which would not be as organic in an email.
Simply picking up the phone will do wonders for your candidate’s overall experience – and it results in better feedback too.
4. Be careful of your tone
Regardless of what you want to say, it’s important to always be mindful of your tone. This is especially true if you’re providing negative feedback.
After all, delivering bad news is never an easy job – especially if the candidate has expressed how important the job would be to them. The least hiring managers can do is to be sensitive and respectful in the tone they use to deliver the bad news.
5. Provide detail
Although it may not always be practical, you should aim to go into as much detail as you can. Being detailed will allow candidates to understand your comments and suggestions better.
However, your feedback shouldn’t read like an essay or take more than several minutes of the candidate’s time. Any more and the feedback can become a nuisance. At the end of the day, your main goal is still to acknowledge the candidate’s time and efforts.
Don’t bog down the candidates with superfluous information – focus on their best qualities and their detriments, and then provide actionable insights on how they can improve.
6. Go straight to the point
Being clear and concise is good advice in many different circumstances, but more so when dealing with such a sensitive topic as a rejection.
Even if you follow it with feedback, it’s still difficult to shake off the initial impression that confusing wording may have created.
Therefore, try to be as straightforward as possible. Use clear language and make sure that you’re not giving them the wrong impression or false hope – they have to know why they didn’t make it and what they can improve.
At the same time, be sensitive about the topic and be tactful with your words. All too often, we get wrapped up in clarity and sacrifice kindness instead.
Avoid making the recipient feel incompetent just because they weren’t accepted. Use encouraging language instead of negative. Focus on actionable steps that they can use to improve what they lack.
7. Avoid comparisons
It’s a common mistake for feedback to fall into the trap of comparison. After all, comparisons are easy to do, and they get the point across easily.
However, it can also elicit a feeling of inadequacy – especially if you’re saying it to a person who was rejected from a job because another candidate was chosen.
In these emotionally charged moments where your reputation as an employer is affected, it can also give the impression of an impersonal judge who treats people as objects.
8. Emphasise how they can do better
As mentioned previously, your feedback should always be positive and focused on action. Emphasise what they can do next and how. Here are a few tips to ensure that:
- Thank them. As mentioned in the first step, completing a job application takes significant time and effort. It’s only right that the candidates are expressly thanked for their drive to be accepted to your company.
- Disclose the main reasons for their rejection. Without comparison, tell them the main reasons why they did not get the position. As much as possible, try to be encouraging and use positive words.
- Outline the steps they can take to improve. Take the time to think of the next few steps that they can immediately take.
- Don’t burn bridges. Lastly, now that you’ve laid the foundation and treated them so well, lay the groundwork for future connection – either as a repeat applicant, as a valuable network contact, or simply as an ambassador for your employer brand.
Providing the Best Candidate Feedback in 2022
Candidate feedback is an essential part of the recruiting process.
But now that only a few companies are doing this properly, you have a chance to stand out.
At the end of the day, all it takes to provide the best candidate feedback is to put your potential candidates first. As long as you are respectful and sensitive to their needs, all other things will follow.
Did you know that SeeMeHired allows you to create feedback templates and progress updates automatically? Learn more in a free demo.