Give Feedback When a Candidate Doesn’t Get Chosen

Give Feedback When a Candidate Doesn’t Get Chosen

Why feedback matters  

It’s not easy to be on either side of bad news; being rejected for a job or having to tell someone that you’re not offering them a role they’ve invested time and energy into is not an enviable position. How an organization handles applicants is perceived as a reflection of how it treats its employees, so it’s best done well. Giving feedback to rejected candidates (who made it through to the interview process) benefits everyone involved. 

Candidates are 3.5x less likely to re-apply to a company when not informed about their application. 

Giving Applicant Feedback Benefits the Candidate + Your Company Reputation 

Providing a candidate with actionable feedback and insight into why the decision was made creates goodwill between the candidate and your company. The candidate is more likely to think highly of your business and speak in kind regard about their experience. This small act does a world of good for your talent brand—because you’ve humanized the candidate’s experience through to the end, with empathy. On the other hand, no response at all is frustrating and disheartening and can result in a negative perception of your organization/brand. A negative applicant experience or simply “ghosting,” applicants can turn off both future applicants and customers. Respond professionally to all applicants and consider giving feedback to interviewees who finish in second, third or fourth place. 

Giving Feedback Strengthens your Hiring Process 

Having a standard system/SOP in place for applicant feedback means you have a thorough process for sorting out finalists. Giving feedback to applicants demands clarity on what makes an ideal candidate for the role. Providing an applicant with reasoning for your decision compels you to articulate why specific candidates don’t make the cut. During this action, you will identify patterns in your candidate feedback that can in turn help you observe weak spots in your hiring process. This may alert you to the fact that your job description needs to be revised. Collecting these data points helps you refine your hiring process and benefit future hires.  

Simple Tips on Giving Feedback to Passed Applicants: 

  • Be respectful. 
  • Tell the truth, in a helpful way. 
  • Keep the message clear and concise.  
  • Give examples where you can. 
  • Tie your feedback back to your job description. 
  • Focus on the potential: 
    • Give feedback on changeable qualities – focus on skills that the candidate can acquire or responses that could have been stronger, rather than saying you went with a more experienced applicant. This gives the candidate something to work on and improve upon.  

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