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What should you include in your candidate post-interview feedback?

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In a previous article, we covered why post-interview feedback is key to presenting an enhanced candidate experience. The bulk of the treatise boils down to three things:

  • A candidate will resent your company if you didn’t bother telling them why they were rejected for a position.
  • When you give feedback, candidates are unlikely to smear your employer brand on social media and they might be inclined to recommend you to other top talent.
  • Keeping an open line of communication arms you with a veritable pool of candidate you can reach out in the future.

Giving post-interview feedback is non-negotiable. So what exactly goes into the post-interview feedback emails or calls?

We’ll get to that shortly.

First, the golden rule of post-interview feedback; when you are sending these email or making the calls, be as personal as possible.

Instead of addressing the email with “Dear Applicants” try “Dear Paul” (Paul, being the name of a made-up candidate). The latter gives a more intentional and personalized sentiment to the call or email. The applicant will feel like an individual and more favorably disposed to the company.

On to the elements of your feedback.

1: Appreciation:

Thank them. Each candidate has forgone some time and economic resource to be available for the interview. They’ve also invested some emotion in the process. Make sure to thank them, allowing them to know that all the resources they invested are recognized and appreciated.

2: The truth

Why did your company appoint someone other than them for the role? Candidates deserve the truth. Tell them. The caveat here is to ensure the feedback is limited to the job requirement. Give feedback based on how candidates check out on job-related criteria. To give feedback outside of this is to risk being discriminatory or unduly negative.

Why did your company appoint someone other than them for the role? Candidates deserve the truth.

Based on this a feedback like; “We enjoyed speaking with you, but we were hoping to get someone with at least 5 years of experience in the industry. This is why we won’t be moving forward with the process” will be a better response than “We didn’t like that you sat on the edge of your seat. You don’t look like a confident person.”

3. Some praise

If there is nothing to praise, don’t bother with this. But it’s hardly possible that there won’t anything to like about an interviewee. For those things you liked about the candidate, mention them. In fact, it’s a good tact to start off with the praise. It softens the impact of rejection and can encourage them to keep going in their job search.

4. Very specific feedback

Those cliche HR phrases. We all know them. Remove them from your vocabulary. Don’t just say “we wanted a more flexible team member” or “we wanted more relevant experience,” provide meaningful feedback that the candidate can deploy to improve themselves. Think to specific things they can improve about themselves or ideas on how they can interview better and share these with them in a truly helpful tone.

5. An opening for future communication

Chances are this is not the last role your company will recruit for.  Keep the line of communication open by letting them know you would reach out if there are openings for which you think they would be a good. Of course, if you promise this, be sure to come through on it.

Post interview feedback doesn’t have to be a laundry list of all that you didn’t like about a candidate. There are many sides to it that when properly combined will help your company earn goodwill with candidates and boost your employer brand.

The African Talent Company works with top African brands to source and recruits executive talent. Call or send us an email; hello@tatcafrica.com

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