How to give candidate feedback effectively, without hurting your recruiting efforts

Most recruiters and HR professionals are used to speaking to people with diverse backgrounds and personalities on a daily basis. We love to tell candidates how amazing their experience is, what a fantastic skill set they have and how well their resume reads and of course how well they did at interview. The best part is of course telling them that they were successful and have been offered the job!

That’s the fun part of the job, but what we find difficult is giving negative feedback to candidates. The reasons for this are:

•It’s hard to tell someone what they are lacking or how they performed poorly in an interview, as we don’t want to be perceived as being rude or have the information received negatively by candidates. The fear of the unknown as to how the candidate will react is real. In reality, the candidate is, nine times out of ten, just grateful for the feedback so they can work on their weaknesses and move on.

•As Recruiters and HR professionals, we may not have the information required to give the feedback.  The hiring manager is generally the one who decides not to move forward with them. Despite us probing for information, we often don’t get a very detailed response making it difficult to translate into meaningful feedback that will benefit the candidate in the long run.

•It’s important to ensure the relationship with the candidate remains in tact for the future.  This means the feedback that we give, needs to be perceived as positive. Rather than stating what they don’t have, turn it around to focus on their strengths and how you will be using these going forwards.

In summary, providing feedback is extremely important in the recruitment process.  There is nothing worse, from the candidate’s perspective, than to be left high and dry, never actually knowing what happened. It doesn’t do them or your reputation any good. So face your fears and give positive, constructive feedback to every candidate.