A Well-Rounded Interview Feedback Strategy: 5 Types to Include

By Jeanette Maister

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If your interviews are missing feedback to the hiring managers, you're missing out on huge opportunities for growth in your hiring process. There are 5 steps to creating incredibly useful feedback during any interview; here's how to ensure you're making the most of these opportunities to make room for improvement:

Interview Feedback for Decision Making

From: Interviewer

To: Hiring Team or Hiring Manager

The interviewer isn’t the sole decision maker in the hiring process, but it’s their job to communicate how the interview went to the rest of the hiring team or hiring manager. A thoroughly documented interview is a must, and the best way to go about this is by having structured interviews in place. Structured interviews evaluate each candidate on the same criteria. Use the same scale or feedback method, so each member of the hiring team is comparing apples to apples. Interview feedback of the candidate to the hiring team or manager must be based on specific competencies you wish to hire for, so that bias is less likely to sneak its way into the decision making process.

To Do: Provide feedback on relevant competencies so hiring managers can make decisions. Look into internal performance data to understand the successful employees in your organization and map skills and characteristics they have in common. Use these to shape questions to gauge candidates against top performers to see if they’ll be a fit. Ask hiring managers if they’d like a numerical score or written notes on competencies.

Interview Feedback to Improve Performance

From: Hiring Team or Hiring Manager

To: Interviewer

Interviewing isn’t just a skill, it’s an art, and there’s always room for improvement. Interviewers may be recruiters with a few months or years of experience, and the interviewing game is always changing. For example, it used to be frowned upon to share questions with candidates before the interview as it was thought to be a better strategy to catch them off guard and get raw answers or make them think on their feet. Now, employers find it best to send exactly what will be discussed to prepare the candidate better. Interview tactics are always changing, and compliance is always changing as well. It’s smart to keep on top of your interviewer’s performance.

To Do: Send a survey to the candidate asking them to rate the interviewer. Add an area for notes from the hiring team on both interview content and delivery. You’ll most likely want to consider if the candidate was selected or not, because that may have an effect on their answers. This kind of feedback should be collected after every interview to increase interviewer performance, better the candidate experience and prevent bias during the process.

Interview Feedback to Provide a Positive Candidate Experience

From: Interviewer

To: Candidate

Candidate feedback lets the candidate know where they stand in the process and doesn’t keep them guessing. With today’s tools in the ATS or CRM, this is the one kind of feedback it’s NOT okay to miss. This narrative from FastCompany shows a candidate’s perspective, waiting to hear back from the interviewer:

When Joseph Waites* first applied for a new job in early November, he had no idea it would take over a month before he’d hear from anyone. After six weeks, an email arrived to invite him to his first interview. A second was scheduled within a few days. Waites was hopeful, especially after the employer sent him an assignment so that he could prove he had the right stuff for the job.

If you haven’t heard back, write an email, she advises, “up to three times over a two-week period.”

Once he completed and submitted it, the hiring manager responded within the hour, saying they would look at it over the weekend. The following week came and went. Then another, and still another passed. Waites was eager to hear, either way, so he sent the hiring manager another email–after nearly four weeks had gone by.

“Just checking in on what the results of this test run were. Even if it’s negative, just would like an update,” he wrote. Waites added another line emphasizing something they’d specifically discussed in their meeting, then signed off. The next day, the hiring manager replied with an apology for the delayed response.

To Do: 33% of job seekers say they want an automated email sent to them after applying. Set-up automated emails to send to candidates immediately after the interview is complete. We recommend the email should be sent within the next 48 hours from the time the interview is complete. It doesn’t have to give any status information, just as long as it acknowledges the interview was complete and that the team is reviewing them. However, recruiters and hiring managers should put a system in place that ensures the candidate is communicated with at least every 48 hours to one week during the interview process (a combination of automated and actual communication is fine).

Interview Feedback to Improve Your Talent Pipeline

From: Interviewer, Hiring Team or Hiring Manager

To: Non-selected candidates

We often assume that once a candidate is out of the running, they don’t need any more attention. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Talent is 4x more likely to consider your company in the future if you offer constructive feedback. Candidates who are not selected for the job want to know why. Did they say something wrong that made them unfit for the role? Did they not meet a specific qualification or was someone else just a better fit for the job? Following up with candidates to provide constructive feedback is key to not only providing a solid candidate experience but giving them the information they need to find where they best fit into your organization. You might have other roles that would suit them better. By giving this type of interview feedback, you strengthen your talent pipeline.

To Do: Pay attention to word choice. Providing written feedback in an email can give the candidate written a proof of discrimination or bias if it’s present in your feedback, even if it’s unintentional. Make sure to incorporate a standard template to abide by to keep any biased phrases or reasoning from coming to the surface.

Don’t: Provide feedback that is not tied to the specific job requirements. If you don’t think someone is a cultural fit, keep that internally as it implies bias.

Interview Feedback to Measure Candidate Experience

From: Candidate

To: Interviewer

78% of job seekers report never having been asked for feedback on their candidate experience, and it’s a shame because there is so much to be learned from their experience. It’s also alarming in today’s candidate-driven market. Providing a positive candidate experience is similar to providing a positive customer experience, which results in better business outcomes. Aside from leaving your candidates with a positive impression of your brand, your recruiting team will benefit from candidate feedback as well. So just like customer feedback, we encourage you to ask your candidates for feedback as well.

Try This: Sending candidate surveys after the interview is a great way to get feedback. You’ll want to send the survey after the decision has been made because if the candidate is hoping to be selected (which obviously they are) they are more likely to reply positively to the survey or sugarcoat their answers to appear more favorable to the interviewer. Waiting until the decision has been made will give you more honest feedback into your process and the surveys can even be tailored to fit the status of the candidate (if they were selected they’d get a different set of questions than if they weren’t selected).

Interview feedback comes in all forms and for all reasons, and the benefits of providing them are abundant. From improving hiring team performance to providing a better candidate experience, interview feedback should be incorporated throughout your recruitment strategy.

About Jeanette Maister:

Global talent acquisition technology leader with extensive experience in global talent acquisition, applicant tracking systems & recruiting technology, recruiting metrics and process. Deep insight into all aspects of campus recruiting strategy. Recognized for driving growth and helping clients transform their recruiting efforts.

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