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Top 5 Tips For Giving Feedback To A Candidate Who Didn’t Get The Job

By Amy @BubbleJobs

Picture the scene: you interview a number of candidates for your vacancy and while they’re all good, in this instance you can only give the role to one of them.

After you’ve delivered the good news to the lucky candidate, it’s time to deliver the bad news to the unlucky few. While most of them are polite and say thanks, there’s one candidate who says thanks but asks for some feedback on their application and interview.

While it can be easy to panic at this point and start fumbling around for an answer, it’s important to stay focused and keep calm – because anything you say at this point could directly affect the candidate’s next application and career later down the line.

So what do you do? Well, here are our top five tips on giving that all important feedback.

1. Don’t Try & Get Out Of It:

When a candidate asks for feedback, the worst thing you can do is put it off or try and get it out of it. Why? Because it’s just not fair – and it can paint you in a really bad light. What’s more, if the candidate is really determined, they could keep bugging you and bugging you until you give them some kind of feedback… not ideal if you’ve got a busy business to run!

2. Be Prepared:

Following or even during your interview with potential candidates, it’s highly likely that you made some kind of notes and/or had a discussion about the candidate with another colleague after they’d left the room. Comments made in this discussion could include their performance during interview, their CV and their overall presentation – so be sure to quickly jot these down if they’re made in an informal discussion. When you’re delivering bad news to candidates always try and have these notes to hand so you’re not left erm-ing and ah-ing when a candidate enquires about feedback.

 

3. Be Honest:

No one likes delivering bad news which is why it can be easy to sugarcoat negative feedback but it’s important to try and be as honest and objective as possible for a couple of reasons. Firstly, as I said earlier, the comments you make now could directly affect the candidate’s next career move so lying could be really detrimental. And secondly, sugarcoating feedback might give the candidate false hope about a position within your company eg. they might think they were really close to securing the job – when in reality they were miles away. This false hope could lead to them applying for every job within your company, even though you personally know they’re just not the right fit.

4. Be Constructive:

While it’s important to be honest, it’s also important to try and be constructive with any feedback you give. Rather than just pointing out the candidate’s mistakes and shortcomings, tell them what they did well and what they did to impress you. When you do deliver negative feedback, be sure to try and make it constructive and tell the candidate what they could have done differently and what other experience and skills they’d have needed on their CV to get the job – in other words, try and explain what the candidate that you hired had that they didn’t.

5. Keep it Nice & Concise:

While keeping your feedback honest and constructive, it’s also important to keep it nice and concise – otherwise you could end up speaking to the candidate for hours about everything they did right and wrong. Have a clear list of things you want to feed back to the candidate- and try and answer any sensible questions the candidate has honestly – but keep an eye on the time. 20-30 minutes is a good amount of time to allocate to feedback and should give you plenty of time to share all your points and give the candidate constructive things to think about.

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