Not all job interview candidates want to receive feedback, but for those that do, it’s vital that they receive feedback that they can learn from and build on. Many interviews are reluctant to give anything but the most bland feedback, which is of no use to the candidate. If you’re offering candidates the opportunity to get feedback, then you need to be giving constructive feedback, that will give them plenty of opportunities in the future to improve their performance.
Tips for giving constructive feedback 1. Tell the candidate how much time you have to give feedback
2. Always start giving constructive feedback by saying something positive.
3. Don’t hide behind excuses ‘you were very good, but on the day there was another candidate that was better”. This may be true, but the candidate will still need to understand what it was that made the other candidate better.
4. If you think there are specific things a candidate can do to improve, then make suggestions, but make it clear they are only suggestions.
5. Give the candidate opportunities to ask their own questions.
6. If the candidate asks a question outside your area of expertise, say so and if necessary, tell them who else they can talk to.
7. Present a united front. If you interview with one more person, make sure you present the feedback as a consensus view. It’s not good for the organisations reputation if it looks like people on an interview panel did not agree.
8. If a candidate reacts badly to your feedback, be firm about why you have said what you have done (but say that you didn’t want to upset them.
9. Always finish the feedback on a positive note.
10. Review your own performance of giving feedback. Is there anything you would do differently next time.
I have a lot of experience of giving constructive feedback to candidates on occasions having to touch on some fairly unpalatable truths. On no occasion has anyone complained about the feedback or reacted badly when I've given it. I think the reason for this is that people want to know the truth and if you deliver it in a constructive way, people are pleased. Several times I have given feedback and the response has been “Why hasn’t someone told me before?” I generally point out that a lot of people find giving constructive feedback quite difficult. What I would like to say is “they’re too scared to be honest”, “they lack training” or “they may not have noticed” .
Giving constructive feedback is a skill and one that needs to be practised regularly. It is up to the interviewer to make it as positive experience as possible for the candidate. Remember, although the candidate has their part to play in receiving and acting upon feedback, it can be difficult for them to ask for it in the first place. So make sure that your feedback is as constructive as possible.
How easy do you find it to ask for feedback?
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