Informing a candidate they haven’t been successful in their pursuit of a job is a tricky part of the recruitment process. However, if you feel bad delivering this information, can you imagine how bad the recipient feels? Applying for jobs can be stressful and challenging for candidates, so it is helpful for firms to be as professional as possible throughout the
process.

One way firms can engage candidates is through offering interview feedback. While some candidates don’t want to hear from a firm that rejected them, most appreciate gaining insight into their application and performance. The insight you offer may help candidates with future applications.

Also, as a company, you should have suitable reasons for the decisions you make in the recruitment process, so being able to share insight with candidates indicates you have followed your guidelines or aims.

It isn’t possible to provide detailed feedback to every applicant, but each application deserves to be acknowledged. Also, the further along the recruitment process a candidate is, and the more time they have invested, the more feedback they should receive.

There is a range of ways firms can provide feedback, but a letter or email is the most common. This may seem less personal, but it allows the passing of detailed and productive information. It also removes the need for direct contact, which helps to avoid flashpoints or problems.

Provide timely feedback

An important thing to remember in issuing feedback to candidates is that you should be prompt. If you can provide candidates with a timescale when you will inform them of their progress, and then follow-up with this feedback, all the better.

Don’t forget that candidates may be managing other applications and interviews, so if they aren’t successful in this application, informing them of the outcome and any feedback as soon as you are able is of benefit to them.

Try to provide as much detail as possible

For feedback to be useful, it should be honest and direct. There is no point in making a candidate feel better about themselves if your feedback didn’t reflect their performance.

Quite often, candidates don’t realise they have gaps in their knowledge, education, experience or qualifications. While you should always be professional and as helpful as you can, be honest in your feedback. In the long-run, applicants will appreciate this information, particularly if it provides them with learning points that enable progress.

If you can be upbeat while offering constructive criticism, do so. Missing out on a job can be a stressful time for an applicant, so the tone of your message is often as important as the content.

Be prepared to receive criticism

Some people cannot comfortably take any form of criticism, and some people respond poorly to criticism during times of stress or pressure. Even if your communication is constructive, you cannot predict how candidates will react. Be mindful of their feelings and be aware that a few may respond in anger or frustration, and then regret any response later.

Your firm and employees have the right not to feel attacked at work, but be mindful that offering feedback can be a challenging process.

Hopefully, this guide will help you offer helpful and informative feedback to candidates. If you are looking for further recruitment advice, contact The Recruiting Office for a
range of tips, including our guide on interviewing candidates.

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