Giving Good Interview Feedback
15 May 2017
Going to a job interview can be an entirely nerve-shredding process. You hope you have said the right things, answered questions fully, come across well and dressed appropriately. Perhaps even more stressful than the interview itself is the period afterwards, wherein you are awaiting feedback on your performance.
Last week, graduate jobseeker Anna Jacobs made the headlines when she received feedback from her interview with Tecomak Environmental Services. After applying for a role as an office administrator within the company, she was sent an email (presumably by mistake) by their HR department.
It read: “Home educated oddball. Can't get a job since leaving uni. Forages for mushrooms. Difficult to assess from her CV - might be very good but equally could be a biscuit short of a packet or a left-wing loon tree hugger.
"Worth an interview if only for a laugh."
Naturally, Miss Jacobs was incredibly upset and humiliated by her ordeal. The company have come forward to say that the email was sent in error. But, rather interestingly, have so far offered no apology.
It got us thinking about our own candidates and their experience of awaiting feedback from a potential job. Naturally, we would all love to hear amazing things about ourselves all the time but we know this is not possible.
So, how do you give constructive feedback to a candidate who is not entirely suited to the role they have applied for?
Feedback shouldn’t take an age to get back to the candidate. If you interview someone on a Monday, aim to pass on some feedback by Friday at the very latest. It will do your company’s reputation the world of good to be seen as considerate and well-organised.
There’s something deeply impersonal about an email – and don’t even think about sending a text. Pick up the phone and let someone actually have a back and forth discussion with you.
It won’t make sense to a candidate if you say all these wonderful things about them and they still don’t get the job. If someone didn’t seem like a good culture fit, or they weren’t experienced enough, let them know. But, obviously, bear in mind that interview nerves can get the better of almost anyone.
No one expects a lengthy speech but if you could give a few detailed, specific examples of questions that did or did not go well, that gives a candidate something to work on for next time. It would be helpful to make notes during the interview itself so that you can refer back to these examples in your feedback.
You may get a few follow up questions from candidates looking to know more about their performance. Be ready to answer these. After all, it only takes a few moments out of your day and it will say a lot about your company’s reputation if you are willing to do so.
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Written By Mary Palmer