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Feedback: How to give it and receive it

05 Jun 2013 by Sarah Leembruggen.

Feedback is good for your company: It’s important to give thorough and prompt feedback, so candidates are left with a positive impression of the company, whatever the outcome. Employers forget that every touchpoint sends a ripple of messages out to the industry. Leave candidates talking about your slick recruitment process and professionalism, rather than tainting your reputation with gossip about their frustrating and fruitless interview experience.

Make feeding back a priority: Candidates are grateful for feedback, even if it’s not always what they want to hear. If it’s constructive and delivered diplomatically, it allows people to assess their own performance and improve on it next time.  The PR market is so competitive now, that candidates have to commit more time and effort to interviewing, with psychometric tests, presentations, writing tests and ‘meeting the team’. Post interview encouragement is the least you can do for professionals who’ve often spent hours preparing to meet you.  

Be canny about counter offers: Feedback isn’t just about bad news. Giving positive feedback when it’s a ‘YES’ is just as important. In a market where counter offers are becoming standard practice, you want your star candidates to know they sparkle.  Often companies forget to tell us more about why they want to make an offer or invite candidates back for the next round. It’s great for a candidate to know what sets them apart from the competition, and it’s bound to make them more interested in your job.

Use the professionals: If you’re working with a search and selection company then your consultant will take the pain out of giving negative feedback.  As a third party, your consultant can be candid about delivering any difficult news. Be honest with your consultant; a good flow of information can help to pinpoint the person you’re looking for more quickly, and you can be assured that the feedback you have will be delivered.

Some basic dos and don’ts: Some simple rules to follow if you’re not used to recruiting and a reminder for those who are...

  • Keep your feedback constructive and be specific eg. how a candidate comes across, which questions or scenarios they answered proficiently and those areas where they could improve their performance.  Raise any concerns you might have about gaps in experience etc, or questions you’d like to drill down on.
  • Remind any line managers involved that they will need to deliver detailed, honest post interview info.
  • NEVER email feedback – it’s too open to interpretation. Speak to the individual yourself or if you’re using an agency, speak to your consultant.
  • Try to avoid following a positive point with a ‘but’ – they’ll only remember the ‘but’ and disregard the rest.
  •  If you’re giving feedback to a candidate, let them speak and make their point too.
  • Tell the truth but be sympathetic and diplomatic.

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