Providing Candidates With Feedback

Have you ever found yourself in the situation that you had to wait weeks after your phone screen went dark and you did not know if you got the job or not? The recruiter was silent; the company you applied for was quiet? You barely know what impression you made. Isn’t it horrible? Even in our personal lives, we dislike when friends keep us in the dark with their plans if we depend on them. Communication and feedback should be the first two things we learn as recruiters. Not only we should strive towards better contact with our candidates, but also push our clients to give us feedback regarding our candidates.

So it’s a two-edged sword. As a Tech Recruiter, I cannot imagine, not giving feedback to my candidates, let alone the ones that I screened. This is my responsibility. I find the time and remember to do it.

I always try to picture myself on the other side in some cases that were me, when I was looking for a job in different countries. I was waiting for feedback and update that I have not been forgotten.

It’s essential to form a strictly human perspective of keeping the contact alive. I was happy when I received some information that I am still being considered, and the process is ongoing. But I was also relieved when I was told straight away that I am not the one for the role. At least I knew what lied ahead of me.

The best feedback isn’t generic, like: “We are sorry, but we decided to go ahead with other candidates.” That’s it! No. The best one is constructive, one that gives you the reason to improve. One that shows you a path forward. Since you know precisely what was lacking in your profile that the hiring manager took an adverse decision on you.

In today’s market, providing constructive feedback creates value and helps recruiters and candidates stay connected for future opportunities. From the recruiter’s side, it also allows you to gauge candidate desire to learn and progress through time. From the candidates perspective, it will help them with future opportunities and the candidate will feel heard and valued.

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I was the project owner of some of the recruitment processes at Bee Talents recently, and it gave me another opportunity to see the value of feedback in action. Still, even if feedback was inherently negative, candidates seemed to be gracious for a thorough and honest explanation and time spent with them. It’s also important to remember, feedback needs to be constructive. It cannot just be written in bullet points. It needs to be constructed in a way that the candidate understands that there were good things I noticed in the interview, but there were also bad that influenced my decision.

I always try to deliver the “sandwich” approach. What was good, bad, and good again in the interview after giving my decision. Honesty is paramount, but I want the candidate to know that he/she can use this feedback to benefit himself/herself. That they can use it for the future. So if my decision is because someone’s level of English is a beginner and the role requires advanced, I say it. I also tell them they need to work on it to be considered in the future. But at the same time, I tell them I saw their commitment and zest in the interview.

There is another side to providing feedback. As recruiters, we need to push our clients to receive feedback regarding our candidates. There are situations when the client is so busy he forgets all of the people in the pipeline. We need to remind them that we want to give feedback to candidates and that they deserve it quickly. The process needs to be smooth and without any interruptions. When candidates need to wait days and days for feedback from us (that we should get from the client), he will choose another company. We lose not only time but also the client loses money. If feedback would be provided promptly, a candidate could react appropriately to it.

Feedback can be a double-edged sword, but providing it will not only improve the overall candidate satisfaction, but it will also lead to further success with candidates in the future.

I am using data and technology to help leaders identify talent and I help talented become leaders. Years of caring and helping - through airlines and real estates to full-blown recruitment. I am a Tech Recruiter at Bee Talents in Poznań, Poland. Waging a war on mediocrity in IT recruitment. Obsessed with rugby, coffee + OKRs and a proud beard owner

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