The Candidate’s View: Feedback 

One of the most important qualities of a good employer is the ability to provide feedback. Meanwhile, more than half of candidates say they have never received feedback on their experience and competence after receiving a rejection in a recruitment process.

Feedback in recruitment – why is it so important?

A candidate deserves to receive feedback during and after the process regardless of whether it is positive or containing constructive criticism. A culture of honesty and feedback in recruitment is much more than a temporary trend in HR. It is now important in recruitment processes to take care of the candidate experience, that is, the candidate’s experience with the company before becoming an employee. Regular and prompt feedback is one of the key elements that make up the candidate’s feelings about the employer. Meanwhile, according to a survey conducted by Focus on Business, as many as 55% of candidates say they have never receivn their experience and competence after receiving a rejection in the hiring process.

Candidate feedback should be standard in every process, regardless of whether the recruitment is for a junior or managerial position. Such an approach also speaks well of the employer and contributes to building a positive image of the company: one that places a premium on communication, honesty, respect and partnership with candidates. Giving feedback can be difficult, especially if a recruiter needs to convey that a candidate has been rejected. However, even a “bad” message is better than no feedback from the organization. Skipping this step will quickly make itself known in negative feedback about the company on forums, groups and social media, as well as during direct conversations between candidates.

What does the candidate want to hear?

Communicating good news to candidates generally comes easily to recruiters. It is much more difficult to inform recruiters that their application has been rejected and, consequently, to give feedback that includes constructive criticism. However, the lack of any information will not only be unprofessional and show a lack of respect for the candidate, but will also damage the employer’s image. How then to give constructive criticism to help the candidate grow? The recruitment process for applicants is associated with stress, uncertainty. Therefore, even if in the end the candidate did not receive a job offer, the information about what went well during the interview will not only be edifying for him, but also valuable in terms of knowing his strengths for the future. Equally important will be feedback containing constructive criticism and informing what the candidate should still work on. This will help point the direction of the changes he should make and will be a motivator to work on the weaker elements of the interview before the next recruitment. Specifics will also be important for the candidate – instead of generalities or contradictory information that will only confuse him, it is worth betting on simple and sincere messages that he will appreciate.

Honest feedback in recruitment – how to give feedback?

First of all, it is important to let the candidate know at the beginning of the recruitment process when he will receive a response. And if for some reason the decision-making process is prolonged, the candidate should also be told. Communicating the reasons for the postponement in the process will increase the candidate’s interest in the job offer. In this way, the employer shows respect for the candidate, transparency and partnership in the interview. The feedback itself should consist of several important things. First of all, the feedback should be characterized by sincerity. Both in terms of the positive sides of the conversation and why the company rejected the candidate. In addition, feedback must be based on facts, not on personal opinions about the candidate. When evaluating a candidate, the employer must consider transparent and objective criteria, such as the relevance of experience to the position, fit with the company’s culture, etc. The way in which this type of feedback is conveyed is also important: phrases such as: worth considering, worth noting, etc. will work well here.

The rationale for the rejection decision should give the candidate a broader perspective, help them understand the reasons why it happened and contribute to learning lessons for the future. However, well-constructed feedback after a recruitment interview is not only an important issue in the face of candidate experience and creating a positive image of the company. It’s also one of the key elements that build a recruiter’s brand – as a professional and partner in the recruitment process. That’s why it’s a good idea to take a moment to prepare feedback and give it to candidates.

Piotr Pawłowski

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