How to Provide Interview Feedback to Candidates in the Digital Age
It shouldn’t be a surprise that job seekers want interview feedback—but they may also want to hear feedback on their resume, their pre-screening responses, and their virtual event conversations. Understandably, candidates want to know how they’re doing throughout the hiring process. How do their technical skills or communication skills stack up against other candidates? How long will it take to get to an offer after the first job interview? Do they even have a chance at this job opening?
Before the pandemic, an overwhelming majority (94%) of job seekers wanted feedback from potential employers but less than 41% received it. In today’s tight talent market, and with job seekers wanting to move faster than ever through the recruiting process, communicating feedback to candidates is crucial. And you may not want to wait to give formal interview feedback. By then, it may be too late—you may have lost their attention to another employer that communicated more throughout the interview process.
Making candidate feedback part of your talent acquisition strategy can help you combat some of the biggest challenges facing talent acquisition teams right now. Feedback is also an underrated key to delivering a great candidate experience, even if the person doesn’t get the job. Positive and negative candidate experiences impact your consumer brand as much as your employer brand, so a strategic approach to candidate feedback can support your organization in many different ways.
Knowing something is important is one thing; understanding the best ways to do it is another. Here are the key best practices for providing candidate feedback on interviews for your talent pipeline.
Create a Candidate Feedback Strategy Ahead of Time
A clear plan for giving candidate feedback should be part of your broader talent acquisition strategy. Feedback communications are a strategic component of your talent pool's candidate experience, so you need to develop a framework your team can follow throughout the recruiting process. Even implementing an interview scorecard can help your team reach fairer and less-biased hiring decisions.
At minimum, your feedback communication plan should include: when you’ll give feedback after interviews, how you’ll communicate that feedback throughout the recruiting process, what feedback you’ll share, and basic interview feedback examples. We’ll explore each part of the plan below.
Drafting basic message templates in advance can help you provide consistent information and fair treatment to all candidates, while supporting a faster, more efficient interview experience. You’ll want to customize individual messages enough to be specific to that person, without having each hiring manager or your entire hiring team reinvent the wheel with every single candidate.
Decide When to Give Candidates Feedback
You don’t have to wait until after an interview or the end of the recruitment process to offer candidates feedback—and you probably shouldn’t. Sharing feedback with candidates early on in the recruiting process can boost candidate engagement and may help curb candidate ghosting, specially before a hiring decision is made. Create a cadence for providing candidate feedback throughout the process: after virtual events, after pre-screening chats, after virtual or in-person interviews, after a panel interview, after pre-hiring assessments, etc.
Using an all-in-one recruiting platform (like Brazen's) can make interview feedback easier, too. You can give feedback when following up with candidates from within the virtual platform so you don’t need a separate manual process to keep track of who you talked to during virtual recruiting events. You can see those candidates in the platform, take detailed notes, and follow up via email, LinkedIn, or any other methods that match or compliment your communication style.
Outline How You’ll Deliver Feedback
As part of your feedback communication plan, you’ll need to determine what channels you’ll use to share candidate feedback. Common options are email/text (depending on which the candidate has opted into), video messages sent via email, and one-on-one conversations via video conference or phone. You can even get creative and include feedback in future interview invitations to save time. Across the board, take candidates’ communication preferences into account and, if necessary, create basic interview feedback templates or interview feedback forms for each communication channel to help recruiters save time and deliver a consistent experience for both current and future roles.
Determine What Kinds of Feedback to Share
Our virtual recruiting event platform houses a candidate rating system to help recruiters and hiring managers evaluate talent—but those scores are not visible to candidates. When providing candidate feedback, your team needs guidelines around what types of information to share. Decide what level of feedback you’ll offer at each stage—will you share decision/status information only or will you include more constructive feedback for candidates who won’t move forward? Does feedback focus on the candidates’ skills and experience? Will you offer feedback on soft skills and other notable candidate qualities? Do you plan to give concrete examples of when they did something right (or wrong)? Create a plan for providing specific, meaningful feedback that helps candidates enhance their strengths and work to improve their weaknesses. Your positive feedback may even help them when applying for future roles at your company, so never underestimate the power of constructive feedback on interviews!
Develop a Plan for Reviewing and Updating Feedback
Don’t let your candidate feedback go stale over time. Expect to evolve and update your candidate interview feedback periodically—to respond to candidate attitudes/preferences, to align with your broader talent acquisition goals, and to stay current with corporate communications messaging. Go over interview feedback questionnaires and question responses with your team to look for patterns or recurring suggestions. Make this review part of your regular talent acquisition strategy updates, and you can be confident your candidate feedback practices are up-to-date.
Use Candidate Feedback to Improve the Candidate Experience
The key to competing for high quality talent is being aware of and responsive to candidates’ needs and preferences. For years, candidates have asked for more (and more detailed) communication with potential employers, so a well-developed candidate feedback plan can help scratch that itch. Sharing feedback with candidates also shows them that you see them as people, value the time they spend with you, and care about their success, whether that’s with your organization or somewhere else. Adopting the regular practice of delivering effective candidate feedback can also be a useful tool for nurturing your talent community and fostering long-term relationships with candidates you may want to consider for future openings, so it offers benefits in the short and long term without any extra effort.
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