Creating a Better Candidate Experience: Interview Feedback

Candidate experience is the way your hiring process is experienced by others. Strong candidate experiences often correlate to strong company culture, while bad candidate experiences are often tied to a weaker culture in the office. Code is here to help your company make your candidate experience better for both your candidates and hiring managers. 

Interview Feedback: Why is it Necessary? 

Think of interview feedback as a long-term investment. While it may not seem important to give rejected candidates any more of your time, in the long run providing feedback will not only make your company look better, but create a stronger pool of potential applicants and avoid trash-talk. By giving constructive feedback, candidates will appreciate your effort and honesty and feel better about their overall experience with the company. By ignoring candidates and providing unhelpful or no feedback at all, their experience changes drastically, which can lead to bad-mouthing the company, a lost customer, and bad reviews online.  

"Companies that excel at transparency throughout the hiring process often have the best reputation in town and solicit the best talent," ~Riley Newman, Senior Recruiter. 

Providing feedback is extremely important, and can be helpful for both the candidates and hiring managers! Here are 5 tips straight from the Code Talent recruiters on giving constructive feedback: 

01. Be Honest

Using cliche reasoning or fake excuses comes across as disingenuous and candidates can see right through it. You'll earn respect by being honest, not by telling them their interview was great when they didn't get the job. Be straight-up with your candidates about what they need to work on or change. If you're not honest, they'll never know and never have a chance to change. 

However, be careful to keep the honesty tied to the job requirements. If a candidate's manners were bad or they had awful breath, there's no reason to tell them that. Keep it professional.

02. Use Tact

While it's easy to say a candidate was boring, that's not going to help anyone in the long run. Try giving feedback that will really help the candidate move forward, like advice! Instead of commenting on their lack of passion, try telling them something like:  "practice answering with more enthusiasm, use your body to communicate that you really want the job," or "your answers were great, but practice expressing your excitement about the position in a more obvious way." Something that tells them that they just needed that extra "oomph!" of energy without telling them you were bored to tears. 

"Sometimes candidates come out of an interview thinking they did great, but it turns out the company perceived a lack of passion or enthusiasm for the position. Understanding your non-verbal cues is sometimes the most important feedback you can get from interviews, because you're not going to be able to get it anywhere else," ~Conor Swanson, Partner. 

03. Be Specific

While it's easy to send a few quick pointers to the candidate and be done with it, providing specific feedback is extremely helpful for their job hunt. It's important for candidates to understand why they didn't get a certain position so they can go back and brush up on their skills for next time. If a candidate didn't know a certain technology as well as they said they did on their resume, call them out for it! If a candidate almost answered a question perfectly, but missed one key thing, tell them about it. Let them know what they can improve upon and not only will their interviewing experience get better, but you'll get a stronger pool of applicants for next time. 

"Armed with the right knowledge, candidates can better hone in on their job search, refine their personal pitch, or brush-up on important technical skills," ~Bret Smith, Senior Recruiter. 

04. Be Concise

We're going to follow our own advice here. Just send over the main things that stood out in the interview for the candidate to work on. There's no need to send them a detailed list of every single mistake they made or incorrect answer.  

05. A "Bad Culture Fit" Doesn't Count

Every single recruiter seemed to have something to say about the classic "culture fit" excuse. Now, sometimes it really is a culture issue, and we have to be sensitive to that with such a emphasis on company culture these days. However, sometimes hiring managers just use this as an excuse to either not give feedback or not give a straight answer.

Telling someone they're not a "cultural fit" can be tricky, and managers have to be careful with this feedback. Try finding other reasons the candidate didn't work for the position, or explain to them gently why they demonstrated some qualities that wouldn't fit into their culture. By simply saying, "you weren't a good cultural fit," you're not helping anyone, especially not the candidate who is often left confused and frustrated upon hearing this feedback.