Why Don’t Interviewers Provide Specific Feedback?

Providing individualized feedback to candidates can sometimes be a challenge. In my first role as a recruiter, it was drilled into my head that providing any sort of evaluation to a candidate was technically illegal. In fact, there was a recruiter at my company who was almost sued because a candidate claimed he had been rejected because of his veteran status.


Interview Feedback: Pros and Cons

So how much feedback can we give to candidates? As the previous example illustrates, giving too many details can offend the potential employee. On the less extreme side, you can also run the risk of back and forth emails with candidates who, in reality, will not be getting the position.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you must provide feedback to candidates in a timely manner. Yet how much feedback should be delivered, and who should be delivering it?

Depending on where a candidate stands in the process, levels of feedback can vary.

How Much Feedback To Give

For instance, if someone has applied to a role that they are unqualified for, less personalization is needed. A simple “You do not meet the qualifications of the role” will suffice.

Once a person continues through the interview process, however, it is ideal to give a bit more insight into the situation. For example, hiring managers should be the ones to explain to candidates that they have met in person why they did not move forward. Doing so contributes to a very positive candidate experience.

Lacking Experience Versus Energy

Another reason feedback can be tricky is because there are a variety of reasons for the candidate to not be considered any further. For example, if a candidate is lacking a specific skill or number of years of experience, it is logical to pick someone who more closely fits the role. However, if you find that a candidate has an attitude problem or lacks communication skills, this is a much harder piece of news to explain. I would avoid enlightening a candidate on these aspects, as they might become offended, and even feel discriminated against.

Keep Comments Broad

Overall, I cannot recommend one specific method on personalized feedback, it depends on several different factors. I would try to use your best judgment when it comes to providing feedback to candidates. A good rule of thumb is that the broader your statements, the more likely you are to avoid controversy.

Have you heard any interview horror stories where candidates used the comments they were given to attack the company? Or what about a candidate who was grateful for the feedback that they received? Let us know in the comments section below!

You might also like ...
Predictable Pitfalls of Founders and How to Avoid Them
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in People + Strategy magazine here. We have romanticized founders having their “eureka” moments, writing their...
by Alisa Cohn
Startup Strategy
The Simple Secret to Getting Ahead in Tech
A couple of weeks ago, I read a fantastic article in the Wall Street Journal about Leyla Seka’s rise through...
by George Roberts
Startup Strategy
Using Empathy to Improve the Customer Journey
Empathy is key to improving the customer journey, but to develop it we need to get as close as we...
by OpenView