Negative feedback for positive futures: how the right candidate feedback can enhance your recruitment strategy

Nobody likes rejection, especially during an interview process. But whether it’s at application or final interview, rejection doesn’t have to mean negativity. In fact, giving the right kind of feedback to candidates avoids bitterness and resentment, protecting your employer brand and maintaining those positive candidate experiences you worked so hard to create. Done well, rejections can be used to improve the way you recruit. So how do you give adverse feedback which ultimately enhances your recruitment process? 

Prioritise feedback 

We all know time can fly when you’re busy, but for a hopeful candidate, you can be sure every hour waiting for feedback is dragging. Whether the candidate isn’t right for this role or not right for the company, prompt feedback is both the right thing to do and, ultimately time-saving for all parties. 

Honesty is the best policy 

Unsuccessful candidates deserve specific, genuine, useable feedback, especially if they made it to interview stage. The time spent on applications, aptitude tests, presentations and interviews themselves are wasted hours without feedback on either how to improve, or where other candidates performed better.  

It may sound harsh to point out where somebody was better qualified, but it serves to highlight areas for self-development candidates can explore. Rather than feeling like they’ve wasted their time, candidates who receive solid feedback are likely to maintain their positive view of the company and their candidate experience. 

The human element 

Job hunting takes a lot of emotional investment, leaving candidates feeling vulnerable at the best of times. With the impact of COVID on the job market added to the mix, that vulnerability is taken to another level. Ensure you don’t leave anything to interpretation; there is nothing worse than vague feedback that leaves a candidate convinced you’ll be straight on the phone with your next vacancy. If they are not right, tell them (kindly!) and provide closure if needed.  

Use positive language where possible, remember to thank them for their time regardless of the outcome. Delivery is key, so opting for phone calls over email or text has been shown to leave a better impression, highlighting the importance of human contact. And don’t rush this bit; you may have six calls to make, but this may have been the only job they were in process for.  

Feedback goes both ways 

This is the time to invest in your processes, by asking unsuccessful candidates for their feedback on the candidate journey. Some may be negative in response to the situation, but others will provide you with valuable insights that improve the process, your candidate criteria, or delivery methods. Plus, asking for feedback has been shown to improve a candidate’s impression of a business. Feedback goes both ways after all! 


The Remote Recruitment Playbook

This blog has been part of our remote recruitment series, keep an eye out for the rest of the series, or download the Remote Recruitment Playbook below to boost your recruitment strategy today.

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