Giving Feedback to Candidates

Giving Feedback to Candidates

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Maintaining A Relationship With Candidates – How Recruiters Should Give Feedback

All job candidates should get some form of reply to their application, even if it is just to tell them they have not been successful. Jobseekers who apply via recruitment agencies would normally expect the agency to communicate the company’s decision, along with any feedback on the reasons for rejecting them. Feedback should be delivered as soon as possible once an employer has reached their decision.

Some form of reply should certainly be provided when a candidate has attended a formal interview. Ideally, the reply should include constructive feedback on the employer’s reasons for not offering the role to the candidate, or on their reasons for not inviting the candidate to the next stage of the recruitment process. Constructive feedback is best defined as anything that could make the candidate more likely to succeed with future applications, and might for example relate to: how the candidate could have demonstrated better that they possessed certain skills, how they could have demonstrated that they understood the role and/or the hiring company better, or how they could have improved their general appearance and interview manner.

Feedback should also stress the positives, i.e. what the employer liked about the candidate’s past experience, communication style, professional manner etc.

When a recruitment consultant delivers the feedback, as an intermediary between the candidate and the hiring company, it can help to soften the blow of rejection, as the communication is less personal in nature.

The best recruiters should also try and offer constructive feedback to candidates who did not get an interview.

Tailored feedback can be delivered via email, but a telephone conversation remains the best way of delivering feedback on interview performance or on a job application. Speaking to the candidate to deliver feedback also allows the recruiter to stay in touch with the candidate, and find out if they have for example been offered an interview for another role, or have seen an advertisement for another position.

If a recruiter is really struggling with their workload and finds it very difficult to offer tailored feedback to all candidates, then at the very least, they should send a generic ‘sorry but you were unsuccessful’ email, which also invites the candidate to get in touch in order to receive individual feedback.

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