Why is candidate feedback important?

Candidate feedback or interview feedback
Jennifer Davies
Reading time:
6 mins
June 7, 2023

When you're in the process of looking for a new job, it really helps to get some feedback from potential employers along the way. In this blog post, we highlight the importance of good feedback, why it matters, how it helps and some of the delivery methods available to give quality feedback to your candidates.

As a prospective employee, you may be asked to complete several assessments or tests and possibly attend an assessment centre and final interview. Taking these assessments in isolation, without knowing if you are performing well, can be disheartening and lead to the candidate becoming disengaged from the recruitment process.

So as a recruiter, giving insight into a candidate's progress along the way in the form of constructive feedback can be extremely useful. Feedback can help candidates to recognise areas for development and acknowledge their strengths. It can also create a great brand perception for your organisation.

Let's examine the importance of feedback in more detail.

How can feedback help your candidates?

Self-awareness and personal growth: Feedback provides candidates with insights into their performance during the interview or assessment process. It helps them understand their strengths and areas for improvement, enabling them to develop self-awareness and focus on enhancing their skills. This self-reflection can contribute to personal growth and development, making them better equipped for future opportunities.

Targeted skill development: Constructive feedback highlights specific areas where candidates can improve their skills or knowledge. It helps them identify gaps and take targeted actions to address those areas. By understanding their weaknesses, candidates can focus their efforts on developing the necessary competencies, whether through training, practice, or seeking new experiences.

Increased confidence: Feedback, especially when it emphasises strengths and positive aspects of a candidate's performance, can boost their confidence. It validates their skills, capabilities, and potential, motivating them to continue their professional journey with enthusiasm and belief in their abilities. This increased confidence can positively impact future interviews and overall career progression.

Enhanced interview performance: Understanding how they performed in an interview and receiving interview feedback on their communication, presentation, or technical skills helps candidates refine their approach. Armed with this information, they can adjust their strategies, prepare more effectively, and demonstrate improvement in subsequent interviews. This can increase their chances of success in securing job offers.

Clarification and closure: Feedback provides candidates with closure and clarity about the outcome of their application or interview. It helps them understand the reasons behind the decision and reduces uncertainty. This closure enables candidates to move forward, refocus their job search efforts, and explore other opportunities that align with their skills and aspirations.

Good quality feedback can empower candidates by offering valuable insights, facilitating self-improvement, boosting confidence, refining interview skills, and providing closure. It can support their professional growth and equips them with the knowledge and awareness to excel in future endeavours.

Can feedback have a negative impact on candidates?

In a word, yes. Candidate feedback can have a negative impact if it is not delivered correctly or if it is not constructive. Here are a few scenarios where candidate feedback may have negative consequences:

Lack of clarity or specificity: Vague or ambiguous feedback can leave candidates confused and frustrated. If the feedback does not provide clear examples or specific areas for improvement, candidates may struggle to understand how to enhance their skills or performance.

Insensitivity or rudeness: If feedback is delivered in a harsh, insensitive, or unprofessional manner, it can damage the candidate's confidence and leave a negative impression of your organisation. Candidates may perceive the feedback as disrespectful or discouraging, harming their motivation and trust in the hiring process.

Bias or unfairness: If feedback is influenced by unconscious biases or subjective judgments rather than objective criteria, it can be perceived as unfair. Candidates may question the validity and reliability of the feedback, potentially leading to frustration and disillusionment.

Inadequate feedback after multiple interview rounds: If a candidate has gone through numerous interviews and invested significant time and effort, receiving limited or no feedback can be disheartening. It can leave candidates feeling undervalued and make them question the transparency and integrity of the hiring process.

Misalignment with job requirements: In some cases, feedback may focus on aspects that are not directly relevant to the job requirements or are unrelated to the candidate's qualifications. This can confuse candidates and hinder their ability to improve in areas that truly matter for the role.

To mitigate the negative impact of candidate feedback, providing constructive, specific, and respectful feedback is essential. It should be based on objective criteria, aligned with the job requirements, and delivered with empathy and professionalism. By doing so, you can ensure that the feedback is helpful and supportive and contributes positively to the candidate's growth and development.

What does good interview feedback look like?

Constructive: Good feedback should focus on both the strengths and areas for improvement. Offering specific, actionable suggestions for enhancing performance or skills can provide the candidate with valuable insights that can guide their development and help them succeed in future opportunities.

Specific and detailed: Effective feedback is specific and detailed, giving examples and particular instances to illustrate points. Avoid generalisations and offer precise, concrete observations about the candidate's performance, behaviour, or skills. Specific feedback helps candidates understand what they did well or where they fell short, enabling them to take targeted actions for improvement.

Timely: Good feedback is provided in a timely manner. It is best to offer feedback as soon as possible after the interview or any assessment process. Prompt feedback ensures the candidate has a fresh memory of their performance and can make immediate connections with the feedback provided.

Balanced: Feedback should strike a balance between highlighting strengths and identifying areas for improvement. It acknowledges the candidate's accomplishments and positive performance aspects while providing constructive criticism. Balancing positive and constructive feedback helps maintain a supportive and encouraging tone.

Objective and fair: Good feedback is based on objective criteria and relevant job requirements. It avoids personal biases and judgments. It focuses on measurable and observable factors rather than subjective opinions. Objective feedback helps candidates understand how they measure against the expectations of the role.

Respectful and professional: Feedback should be delivered respectfully and professionally. It should consider the candidate's feelings and maintain a supportive tone. Even if the feedback is critical, it should be communicated constructively and tactfully, emphasising growth and improvement rather than discouragement.

Encouraging and motivational: Good feedback motivates candidates to improve and grow. It acknowledges their efforts, highlights their potential, and encourages them to continue developing their skills and pursuing their career goals. Positive and encouraging interview feedback helps candidates maintain their enthusiasm and engagement.

Remember that feedback doesn't have to be a one-way communication. It can also allow for a dialogue. It will enable candidates to ask questions, seek clarifications, or discuss areas of improvement further.

Incorporating these qualities into your feedback ensures that it is effective, supportive, and contributes to the candidate's professional growth and development.

What format should you use to deliver feedback?

When delivering feedback to candidates, there are several formats you can use. The choice of format depends on the nature of the feedback, the relationship with the candidate, and your organisation's practices. Here are some common formats for delivering feedback:

In-person or face-to-face: Providing feedback in person allows for a more personal and interactive conversation. It enables you to gauge the candidate's reactions, answer their questions in real time, and have a more nuanced discussion. This format works well for final interview stages or when offering comprehensive feedback.

Phone or video call: Sometimes, an in-person meeting is not feasible, but a phone or video call can be an effective way to deliver feedback. It allows for real-time interaction and the opportunity to discuss the feedback in detail. This format is handy for candidates who are remote or when scheduling conflicts prevent a face-to-face meeting.

Written feedback: Providing written feedback via email or a formal letter is a common approach. This format lets you carefully craft your feedback, ensuring clarity and specificity. It also provides candidates with a tangible document they can refer back to. Written feedback is suitable when a detailed explanation is required or asynchronous communication is preferred.

Feedback report or evaluation form: Utilising a feedback report or evaluation form can be beneficial as it ensures consistent feedback. You can use this for feedback on an assessment, interview or assessment centre. Scores can be replaced with statements to tailor the feedback to the candidate's outcome. 

 If you provide written feedback, ensure your assessment provider can offer an automated solution. The Tazio platform can deliver branded feedback reports via email at a selected time and date after the assessment or assessment centre is complete. Scores or comments across one or more assessments can be amalgamated into one concise report.

Top tips for delivering excellent candidate feedback

  • Prepare the feedback beforehand to ensure clarity and coherence.
  • Use a respectful and professional tone.
  • Provide specific examples or instances to support your feedback.
  • Offer actionable suggestions for improvement.
  • Give the candidate an opportunity to ask questions or seek clarification.
  • Ultimately, the goal is to choose a format that allows for effective communication, promotes understanding, and supports a constructive dialogue between you and the candidate.

Providing candidate feedback demonstrates professionalism, empathy, and a commitment to candidate development. It benefits candidates by promoting growth, offering guidance, and contributing to a positive candidate experience. Simultaneously, it enhances your employer brand, fosters positive relationships, and improves your overall recruitment process.

Jennifer Davies

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