Effective ways to structure and deliver interview feedback
Providing feedback is a crucial aspect of the hiring process. It not only helps candidates understand their strengths and areas for improvement but also reflects positively on your organization's professionalism and commitment to candidate experience.
Feedback may be given at any point during the recruitment process, after a candidate completes an assessment, an interview, or an assessment centre. The nature of the feedback can vary depending on the stage the candidate is at in the process.
1. Assessment Feedback
Assessment feedback will normally be relatively brief and often delivered to the candidate via email. It can contain the candidate’s outcome and potentially automated statements linked to the candidate’s performance in certain areas of the assessment. Leveraging technology can make this process an effective feedback method. It is a useful way to maintain candidate engagement, keeping candidates in the loop on their progress to employment with your organisation.
2. Interview Feedback
Interviews are often conducted either face to face or via a video meeting call, therefore the information given to the candidate post-interview should be more detailed than assessment feedback. It should follow a clear structure to ensure understanding and consistency.
Delivering verbal feedback
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to structure and deliver interview feedback:
Before the feedback session:
Before providing feedback, ensure you have gathered relevant information from the interview, such as notes, scores, and assessments. This will help you deliver a comprehensive and accurate evaluation.
Aim to provide feedback as soon as possible after the interview. This ensures that the conversation and the candidate's performance are still fresh in their mind.
Choose the Right Format
Decide on the format of the feedback. It can be delivered in person, over the phone, or through email, depending on the complexity of the feedback and the candidate's availability.
Managing the feedback session:
Begin with Positives
Start the feedback session on a positive note by highlighting the candidate's strengths and what they did well during the interview. This helps create a comfortable and receptive environment.
Address Areas for Improvement
Provide constructive criticism regarding the areas where the candidate could improve. Focus on specific behaviours, skills, or responses that need enhancement. Use examples from the interview to illustrate your points.
Be Specific and Clear
Avoid vague or ambiguous language in your feedback. Be specific about the candidate's performance, citing examples or specific incidents that occurred during the interview.
Base your feedback on objective observations and avoid making personal judgments or assumptions about the candidate. Focus on the facts and how they align with the job requirements.
Encourage Questions and Discussion
After presenting your feedback, invite the candidate to ask questions or seek clarification. Encourage open communication and ensure they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts.
Offer Resources for Improvement
If possible, provide resources or suggestions for the candidate to work on their weaker areas. This can include recommending relevant courses, books, or workshops.
End on a Positive Note
Close the feedback session by reiterating the candidate's positive qualities and expressing appreciation for their time and effort in the interview process.
After the feedback session:
Keep the feedback confidential and refrain from discussing the candidate's performance with others unless necessary for decision-making purposes.
If necessary, follow up with the candidate to see how they are progressing and to check if they have any additional questions or concerns.
Remember that delivering interview feedback professionally and respectfully reflects well on your organization and helps create a positive candidate experience, regardless of the outcome.
Who should deliver face-to-face candidate feedback?
The responsibility of delivering candidate feedback typically falls on the hiring manager or the interviewer who conducted the interview. This person is usually the one who has firsthand knowledge of the candidate's performance and can provide specific feedback based on their observations.
Here are some key roles that may be involved in delivering candidate feedback:
The hiring manager is responsible for making the hiring decision and overseeing the recruitment process. As the individual who will be working closely with the new hire, the hiring manager's feedback is especially valuable in assessing the candidate's suitability for the role.
The individuals who conducted the interviews with the candidate are usually the primary sources of feedback. They can provide insights into the candidate's skills, experience, cultural fit, and overall performance during the interview.
Recruiters or HR (Human Resources) Professionals
Recruiters or HR professionals often have a close working relationship with candidates throughout the hiring process. While they may not have conducted the interviews, they can provide feedback based on their interactions and assessments of the candidate's communication, responsiveness, and professionalism.
In some cases, interviews may be conducted by a panel of interviewers. Each panel member can contribute to the candidate feedback, and the collective input can offer a well-rounded perspective on the candidate's performance.
Assessment or Test Administrators
If the hiring process involves skill-based assessments or tests, the administrators of these assessments may also provide feedback on the candidate's performance in those specific areas.
Peer Interviewers or Team Members
In certain organizations, team members or peers may be involved in the interview process to evaluate cultural fit or assess specific skills. Their feedback can be valuable in determining how well the candidate aligns with the team dynamics and company culture.
Regardless of who delivers the feedback, it is essential to ensure that the feedback is consistent, objective, and aligned with the requirements of the job. Additionally, the feedback should be provided in a constructive and professional manner to support the candidate's growth and development, even if they are not selected for the position.
Delivering written feedback:
If delivering feedback verbally is not an option because of time constraints or candidate volumes, then feedback reports can be a great alternative if used correctly. The feedback structure should follow a similar structure to an in-person session, it should be clear, constructive, and informative for the candidate.
Below is an example of a typical candidate feedback report.
3. Assessment Centre Feedback
Assessment centre feedback is a crucial part of the assessment centre process in the context of talent recruitment and development. An assessment centre evaluates a candidate's competencies and skills through a series of structured exercises, simulations, and tasks. After the assessment centre activities are completed, feedback is provided to participants to help them understand their performance, strengths, and areas for improvement.
Here is some information about assessment centre feedback:
Purpose of Assessment Centre Feedback:
The main purpose of assessment centre feedback is to offer participants an in-depth understanding of how they performed during the process. It provides them with insights into their strengths, areas for development, and how well they demonstrated the key competencies and behaviours required for the role.
Features of Assessment Centre Feedback:
Feedback in assessment centres is tailored to each participant based on their specific performance during the exercises. It is personalized and targeted to help them understand their unique strengths and areas for growth.
Objective and Constructive
The feedback provided in assessment centres is based on objective observations made by trained assessors. It focuses on specific behaviours and performance indicators rather than individual opinions. The feedback is constructive, aiming to help participants improve their skills and competencies.
Assessment centre feedback covers various aspects of performance, including communication, problem-solving, decision-making, leadership, teamwork, and more. It delves into different exercises and simulations to provide a comprehensive assessment.
The feedback is designed not only to evaluate candidates for the specific role but also to assist them in their professional development. It helps participants identify areas where they can enhance their skills and prepare for future career growth.
Delivery of Assessment Centre Feedback:
Face-to-Face Feedback Sessions
Feedback is often delivered in one-on-one sessions between the participant and trained assessors or facilitators. These sessions offer a private and conducive environment for discussions. The feedback structure should follow the same principles of interview feedback we have discussed earlier.
Structured Feedback Reports
In addition to face-to-face sessions, participants may receive detailed written feedback reports. These reports outline the specific exercises, competencies assessed, observations made, and recommendations for improvement.
Providing structured and informative interview feedback can give candidates a better understanding of their strengths and areas for development, aiding in self-awareness and growth. It can help candidates gain insights into how their behaviour and performance align with the organisation's requirements. It also contributes to a positive candidate experience, as participants appreciate the opportunity for self-improvement and growth.
Overall, feedback plays a crucial role in talent assessment and development, benefiting both candidates and organisations alike. It can help individuals build on their strengths and address areas that may hinder their professional growth, ultimately contributing to the success of the organisation's workforce.
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