How to give valuable interview feedback

Failing to provide candidate feedback after an interview you felt was unsuccessful, is a common detrimental choice that many companies make. Every business has their own way on how they choose to go about attracting talent, but one non-negotiable element to a great recruitment process is the delivery of feedback to unsuccessful applicants.

Even if a candidate isn’t perfect for the role they’ve just interviewed for, neglecting them afterwards will give them a terrible impression of the business and prevent them from learning and developing from their experience.

Prior to an interview, you need to be clear on what it is you are seeking within a candidate. Instead of taking down notes next to each question you ask, try creating a simple template where you can record performance, responses and your comments. It can be difficult and time consuming to scribe and pay attention at the same time during an interview, so you might find your notes are hard to translate afterwards. Having a simple template for interviews, will be less time consuming when completing the hiring process for this role, and easier to provide the candidate with feedback.

To avoid forgetting important details about a candidate’s performance and your overall impression of them, always compile and summarise your notes immediately afterwards, and be sure to record them on your applicant tracking system.

Feedback is supposed to outline how a candidate has performed. It should provide unsuccessful candidates with compelling reason/s they weren’t selected. The feedback should be constructive and enable the job seeker to develop and be better at their next interview. Feedback shouldn’t be a soul-crushing experience that points out a million and one ways they aren’t right for the role, nor should it be a ego-boosting activity where you falsely commend sub-par candidates and fail to justify the negative outcome. Using examples from the interview will help you to explain your choices and be clearer to the candidate on where/how they can improve.

Regardless of the outcome, you should always end the interview process on a good note with all candidates. Just because a candidate slipped up or failed to convince you they are the person for your vacancy, doesn’t mean they won’t be the perfect fit for another opportunity in your team in the future.

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