31 May How to Give Interview Feedback to Unsuccessful Candidates
Nobody likes to be the bearer of bad news, but giving feedback to unsuccessful candidates after interview is actually one of the kindest things you can do; as long as you do it well. If done correctly, interview feedback can boost a candidate’s confidence and help them to improve for their next interview, where they can hopefully be successful. So how do you give effective interview feedback?
- Thank them for their time
It’s likely that candidates have spent many hours and much effort researching and preparing for your interview. They may have had to rearrange important commitments, including work, in order to fit the interview into their schedule. It’s only polite to recognise this and thank them for their time.
2. Give praise
Bad news is always better received between two pieces of good news or praise; this is know as the compliment sandwich. Before explaining why the candidate was unsuccessful, begin with something they did well; whether it was their demeanour, their knowledge or their experience – you’ll always be able to find something! Don’t forget to end on a positive as well.
3. Be honest
It can be tempting to try to minimise where someone is lacking but in the long run, this doesn’t actually help them. Be honest about why the candidate was unsuccessful rather than showering them with cliches and empty answers. This will help them to address these areas to help them improve for next time.
4. Be tactful
While it’s important to be honest, it’s not necessary to be brutal. Clearly, it’s essential to remain professional at all times, but their are other things to bear in mind when dealing with this delicate situation. Aim to structure feedback in a way that will best help the candidate. For example, if you noticed that a candidate was nervous during the interview, stating this as a weakness may not in fact be helpful as they are likely aware of it themselves and practicing to try to improve their interview performance. Can you instead aid this by suggesting some useful tips?
5. Be helpful
Rather than simply stating a candidate’s deficiencies, try to give concrete, actionable advice for how to improve. Afterall, if the candidate had known this previously, they may have been successful, so if they can work on your advice for next time they may be successful in the future.
6. Don’t compare
It’s not necessary to compare candidates; stating that another candidate has more experience or qualifications doesnt’ help the unsuccessful candidate and will likely make them feel worse.