Breaking Bad News – How to give interview feedback
It is of course the least pleasant aspect of the recruitment process, dishing out bad news is never going to be fun however there are a number of reasons why it is important.
First of all, the benefit to the candidate is great. Most candidates will welcome any input that may increase their chances of success in the future. They will want to know if there are any specific mistakes that they are making and if there are steps that they can take to rectify this.
You might not feel that this is of particular concern to you, however this is a dangerous line to tread. Displaying a disregard for candidates, even unsuccessful candidates, can have disastrous implications. In today’s digital society, where social media gives everyone a soapbox on which to stand and have their voice heard, unhappy candidates can very easily communicate details of their negative experiences not only to their friends but to wider communities.
A bad reputation can develop faster than ever before and this can be incredibly difficult to recover from. You may see responses to vacancies dramatically fall and subsequently struggle to find a high quality of candidate to employ. Taking the time to give personal feedback to applicants avoids all of this.
When giving feedback, there are some important things to consider:
You do no-one any favours by sugar coating the facts when giving feedback. If candidates are genuinely going to learn from their experience and improve their future prospects then they need to know what actually went wrong. It can be difficult to break bad news and give criticism however being honest is the only way to genuinely help them.
This might seem contradictory to the above however the two can go hand in hand. First of all remember that the candidate is likely to be disappointed, they wanted to work for you and therefore disappointment is ineveitable. Demonstrating some understanding and empathy will be greatly appreciated.
It is also important to consider the candidates’ situation, for many jobseeking can be incredibly stressful especially if they are not currently employed. Be sensitive to this and don’t just leap into immediate criticism.
Where possible, include some positive points. Make sure that the candidate is made aware of their strengths and can take some pride in themselves. This will help their self esteem moving forward and also make the less positive, critical points easier to take.
Giving feedback may be something you’d rather avoid where possible however being seen to do so could be incredibly damaging.
In being forthcoming and offering the opportunity for candidates to receive feedback you promote a positive image of your organisation. Demonstrating a desire to help candidates develop and improve their future prospects will enhance your reputation and encourage others to apply in the future.
Breaking bad news to internal candidates can be especially hard, ensuring that they take it constructively and remain positive in their current position can be very tricky.
With these candidates it is recommended to break the news in person and important that you take the time to explain the reasoning in more depth if they want. If the candidate is someone you are keen to keep in your organisation then make sure that this is explained to them. As above, it is important to be honest in order to allow them the opportunity to develop and learn from the experience. Also ensure that they are given opportunities to ask questions.
Giving bad news and criticism is always difficult however it is important to remember the positives that come from it. Providing feedback allows candidates an insight into the mistakes that they have been making or areas in which they need to improve or grow their experience. Only once these things have been brought to their attention can they be addressed.
The benefits to the reputation of your organisation will help make you an employer of choice and therefore encourage high calibre candidates to apply for vacancies within your organisation.