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7 ways to give constructive interview feedback

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Talent sourcing is a vital part of HR – you have the responsibility of bringing enthused employees into the organisation. But do you ever consider that there might be another way of conducting your interviews, and perhaps giving more tangible feedback to the candidates?

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Talent sourcing is a vital part of HR – you have the responsibility of bringing enthused employees into the organisation. But do you ever consider that there might be another way of conducting your interviews, and perhaps giving more tangible feedback to the candidates?

As employers, it is our responsibility to ensure that young people who attend a face-to-face interview can go on to be successful. For those who have attended countless interviews and never received feedback, it causes huge employability issues because they will never learn what they could be doing wrong, or how to improve for their next opportunity.

Research we published last year identified that four in five candidates claimed to have never received feedback after a face-to-face interview, leaving them feeling disheartened and confused. Furthermore, 77% said they think this should be a legal requirement. Hence why we launched our Fight for Feedback campaign.

Employers need to look at the holistic value in giving feedback and how it can benefit them when it comes to the recruitment process, eventually it will:

  • Make a positive impact on the quality of candidates in the future.
  • Will cut down the time it takes to find the right person.
  • Eventually, the UK workforce will benefit – as more people will be in employment.

The key benefits of receiving interview feedback for candidates are:

  • Personal development – receiving constructive feedback enables them to improve and develop ahead of their next interview.
  • Building confidence – after receiving feedback, they can understand why they were unsuccessful, what they can do to improve and approach the next interview with confidence.
  • Time – if an outcome and feedback is shared soon after the face-to-face interview, they can move on with their search for employment, rather than waiting around feeling uncertain.

I believe that it should be a legal requirement for employers to give feedback after a face-to-face interview, which would motivate job seekers and help speed up the recruitment process. However, realistically, it’s unlikely the Government will enforce this kind of law – but they can give official recommendations to employers. Here are seven guiding principles for employers to consider when inviting candidates to a face-to-face interview.

The 7 guiding principles

  1. Manage expectations – Proactively set and manage all candidates’ expectations by being transparent and clearly explaining your recruitment and selection procedure on your company’s website. This information should include interview stages, timings, what feedback they will receive, and how.
  2. Provide feedback – Always proactively share feedback as a matter of course after a face-to-face interview, in place of only offering feedback if the candidate requests it.
  3. Type of feedback – Consider and share objective feedback about the candidates’ competencies in relation to the job role/person specification as a minimum, but do try to share subjective feedback where possible on the candidates’ performance during the interview.
  4. Feedback medium– If possible, establish how the candidate would prefer to receive feedback – this could be stipulated during the application process. Do consider the benefits of verbal feedback, as it enables the candidate to ask questions and for a two-way conversation, which may help you to shape your recruitment process.
  5. Constructive and positive – Feedback is designed to help individuals improve – deliver feedback in a positive way by identifying what a candidate did well, and ways in which they can be more successful next time.
  6. Take responsibility – Candidates benefit most from receiving feedback directly from the person that interviewed them – avoid watering down feedback by involving too many parties in the feedback process.
  7. Time investment – Invest and dedicate a minimum of 15 minutes when preparing and sharing feedback with a candidate. Aim to feed back within three working days of the hiring decision being made.

By Charlie Taylor, Founder & CEO of Debut, UK’s award-winning student and graduate careers app.

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