Feedback in recruitment – candidate’s perspective

Feedback given to a candidate in the recruitment process, by definition should always appear in the recruitment process. Also in a situation where the candidacy was rejected. Unfortunately, it is often the case that candidates do not receive any response, even while in the middle of advanced job interviews. What is the importance of feedback for a candidate and what do they pay attention to? Check out the candidates’ opinions, based on interviews conducted by one of our recruiters.

An essential part of the recruitment process?

My work experience as a recruiter inspired me to take a broader look at one element of the recruitment process – feedback. I wanted to find out exactly what candidates think about. Feedback and what it means to them.

In order to keep the reliance on my experience and knowledge to a minimum, I conducted individual interviews to look at feedback from different perspectives and answer the questions posed:

  • What do the candidates think about the feedback?
  • What is the importance of feedback to the candidate?

I interviewed 5 people who in the past 6 months, participated in at least one recruitment process as a job candidate. The participants are the people who reported in the ad put up on Facebook and the contacts I gained from conducting previous surveys.

The importance of feedback for candidates

As the responses show, feedback is a significant part of the entire recruitment process. According to the respondents, feedback is a valuable summary of the interviews, which organizes the candidate’s presumptions with respect to how they presented themselves in the recruitment process.

The information is also seen by candidates as a sign of respect for his person and the time he took to participate in the recruitment.

Asking the candidates about the stage at which feedback was most valuable to them, they mostly answered that it was at the end. One person felt that the most important feedback was the one received at the very beginning, after the first interview.

Feedback – in what form

Regardless of the decision, feedback should always appear after each stage of recruitment. It doesn’t matter if the information is positive or negative. The important thing is that it should come with an argument as to why such a decision was made.

  • In the case of candidates who are contacted directly, already during the first conversation the candidate should be informed about how the recruitment process will look like
  • If we make a negative decision, then the feedback should be constructive for the candidate to use in the future

It is worth informing what influenced the decision to exclude a candidate from the process, what his or her strengths and weaknesses are, and what he or she should work on to improve his or her chances in other recruitments.

As for the feedback that the people I surveyed received, it was most often a short message given right away during the interview with the recruiter. Only one person received feedback in the form of an e-mail, but also in the form of a short message. One interviewee who was not hired received thorough feedback during a recruitment meeting initiated by the employer.

Feedback received, and next steps

In the feedback sent to the candidate in the recruitment process, there is the issue of suggesting changes. This is perceived differently depending on the interest of the company or the job offer.

Candidates who care strongly about working in a particular place or position are eager to follow the recommendations received from the employer. The positive image of the company that was built up during the recruitment process provided motivation for them to continue working. On the other hand, an unattractive offer or negative experiences acquired during the recruitment process, were discouraging factors.

However, the mere fact of suggesting an area for improvement to a candidate is rare in feedback. After a candidate’s offer was rejected, only one of the people I spoke with received information and hints on how she could fill in the missing competencies to be able to apply again for the position. In this case, the candidate received guidance from a non-profit organization.

What should the ideal feedback be?

When analyzing the candidates’ statements, the mere fact that the information appeared is more important than the form in which it was conveyed. According to the respondents – the ideal feedback, after rejection from the recruitment process, should include the reason for rejection and information on. elements and areas of development that they still need to work on.

At the same time, most of them also find valuable information on. The candidate’s strengths and weaknesses that he presented at the recruitment meeting.

In obtaining positive feedback, candidates need confirmation of the responsibilities of the position, which were established during earlier interviews. Respondents are open to various forms of feedback, but most value the content of the message and the fact that it is delivered within the timeframe that was agreed upon at the meeting.

Feedback as a broader point of analysis

The data obtained from the interviews, provided information to draw additional conclusions, which were not the main purpose of my study. It is worth looking at the recruitment process in a broader perspective, as well as thinking about how a candidate who is not accepted for a position will continue his or her job search.

Getting to know the perspective of the participants in the recruitment process is essential in terms of designing a good experience for them, including those using digital products (UX).

I would like my study to be an inspiration for the HRTech industry, which is currently growing faster – the prospects of finding solutions to support the provision of feedback to candidates, should be important to us, as it affects the candidate experience.

Agnieszka Jarosz

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