For the majority of IT Professionals and all employees, the hiring process is a nightmare. A recent survey by BambooHR found that 83% of employees surveyed said that they had a bad experience during the hiring or onboarding process.
The common themes included ghosting, rude hiring manager, co-workers or interviewers.
Which is why it’s more important than ever to give interview feedback.
Why Interview Feedback Matters
Giving proper interview feedback is an essential part of the hiring process. Not only is it a common courtesy to the candidates who haven’t been successful in the process, it has a range of benefits for the candidate, and for you as a business.
1. It improves your own hiring process and decision making
By giving interview feedback properly, it ensures that you’re giving proper consideration to every candidate, and that they’re being measured fairly using the same criteria.
It also helps to consolidate your own thoughts, by having something written that you can refer back to. This could be first impressions, impressive answers or certain qualities that a candidate displayed in an interview, which you may otherwise forget over time.
2. And identifies any areas of weakness in your hiring process
By having detailed interview feedback over the course of your hiring process, you can identify any areas of weakness in your own hiring process.
If every candidate fails during the 3rd interview when they must present a task to one of the senior executives, this may indicate a flaw in that interview step. If your task is too difficult, or candidates don’t feel comfortable and are under too much pressure, then you won’t be able to get out of them what you need.
This could be preventing you from hiring potentially good candidates, losing them too early in the process.
3. Strengthens candidate relationships
One of the main reasons for giving interview feedback is to provide candidates with some insight into their strengths and weaknesses.
When candidates have invested their time and effort into interviewing for your company, it’s a common courtesy to send feedback. And sending interview feedback is essential to maintaining strong relationships with the people in your industry.
And just because a candidate isn’t a successful contender for the role right now, doesn’t mean they won’t be right for your company in the future. So it’s always a good idea to give rejection gently, that means they would consider applying again.
4. Improve relationships with recruitment partners (If you use them)
And lastly, if you do work with a recruitment partner like us here at Dynamic, then they will expect interview feedback for their candidates. And not doing so can harm the chances of a recruitment partner working with you again in the future.
If recruiters are unable to provide feedback for their candidates, those candidates are less likely to work with that recruiter again. Which means the recruitment partner will be less likely to work with you, because of the risk of damaging their own reputation.
5. You may need to change your mind
IT Professionals are in high-demand, and our own research shows just how competitive the IT hiring market is. And while this means it’s crucial to maintain strong candidate relationships, it also means that any IT professionals you interview are likely interviewing somewhere else at the same time.
Just because you make your decision, doesn’t mean that you’ve secured your new employee. The most skilled and in-demand candidates may well have multiple offers on the table at any given time.
Which means you may need to revisit candidates you previously rejected, but who were good enough for the position.
And if you ghosted them without giving any proper interview feedback, then you may have eroded any trust that you had with that candidate who you would still accept for the role.
How to Write Interview Feedback
Now you know why giving interview feedback is important, it’s time to look at a few tips on how to write interview feedback that is actually helpful to yourself, and to your candidates.
1. Start making notes during the interview
Interviews can be long, and the interview process is even longer. So it can be helpful to write down during the course of the interview your first impression, any answers the candidate gave that stood out to you (both positively and negatively), highlights from their previous experience or essentially any information that will influence your decision.
This can even take the form of a checklist, or scorecard. Then grade the candidate on how they answered each question out of 10, and how they presented themselves during the interview.
2. Consolidate your notes at the end of the interview, discuss with any other interviewers
While you should make notes during the interview, you should also be focused on the candidate. So it’s a good idea to consolidate your notes at the end of the interview, organise your thoughts, and discuss them with the other interviewers (if there were more than just you).
3. Compare the job description to the candidate
It’s a good idea to cross reference the notes you made about the candidate during the interview with the job description.
This can help to give a more objective comparison between the candidate and the role, making sure they can do the job at hand. It also helps to remove any personal bias that could influence your decision.
4. Compare the candidate to any other candidates
Similarly you should compare the candidates against one another. One way to do this for example is to have a scorecard to grade each candidate on the answers they give.
Having these compiled into a review of each candidate will make it easy to factually compare candidates to one another, ensuring you hire the most highly skilled person for the role.
Sometimes you don’t have the luxury of waiting or review all of the candidates you’re interviewing together. If that is the case (which is likely), then it can be helpful to compare the candidate to past candidates you have interviewed, both successful and unsuccessful.
5. Compile and review your feedback and make your decision
Once you’ve written your feedback for each candidate, it’s time to compile it and make a decision. This should involve everyone who was involved in their hiring process.
Once you have all the necessary information, you can make an impartial decision that ensures you hire the person that is the best fit for the position.
And it helps to prevent recency bias, which can have a dramatic and negative impact on your hiring.
6. Give your decision to the candidates
When you’ve made your decision whether to proceed with a candidate or not, you should give them your feedback.
This can be either over the phone, video call, or via email.
While over the phone is best and a much more personal touch, it is more time consuming than email. Although we would argue it is definitely worth putting in the extra effort, especially for candidates who committed lots of time to progressing through the process.
And it always helps to ease the blow by hearing it from a person and not an email. This will also help if you think you may reconsider them in the future, when they have more skills and experience.
What to Include on Interview Feedback
Now you know how to write the interview feedback, it’s time to consider what you should write on your interview feedback.
First and last impression of the candidate
Interviews can be a nerve filled event for candidates. Which means that their character, personality traits and the overall impression they make can and will change over the course of the interview.
So it’s a good idea to note down your initial thoughts and impression of the candidate, and how they compare to the end of the interview. This will prevent you basing your view of a candidate on what can be just a bumpy start.
Overview of their hard skills and soft skills
It’s incredibly important that your new employee has the technical skills and experience to perform the task at hand. It’s why certifications like Cisco’s CCNA, CCNP and CCIE are so important for anyone working with Cisco software. They are an easy indicator of someone’s expertise.
And the interview process is your opportunity to understand the true depth of this understanding and proficiency that is so important to being successful in the role.
But it’s also your opportunity to find out if the candidate has the relevant soft skills for the job. For example, if they’re going to be in a customer facing role, then you’ll need someone who can present themselves confidently in the interview. Which isn’t something you can get from a CV.
Make note of impressive or memorable moments in the interview
Anytime a candidate’s answer stands out (positively or negatively) can be an indicator of their actual level of expertise or knowledge. So making a quick note during the interview can help you to compile your opinion and thoughts after the interview.
An overview of the candidates
Lastly, your feedback should include an overview of your opinion on the candidate. A summary that you can give to any other members of the recruitment team who weren’t in the interview.
This should also include any suggestions for next steps. Whether this is moving forward with the hiring process, rejection from the process, or if you feel like extra interviews are necessary to make a decision.
Positive Interview Feedback Examples
Here are a few different examples of positive interview feedback that you can give to your candidates.
- Strong communication skills: “You showed great communication skills throughout the interview. You were able to present concisely and convincingly.”
- Technical proficiency and hard skills: “You showed a comprehensive understanding of the technical aspects that we were looking for. I was impressed by your proficiency in [specific skill or experience needed] and how you highlighted your past experiences and projects.”
- Cultural fit: “I felt that you really presented yourself well throughout the interview. We got along well, and I think you would be a great fit for the team. We work in a social and collaborative environment, and you would be really at home.”
- Positive attitude: “You really impressed me with your positive attitude and overall enthusiasm. Your enthusiasm for the role was evident and is something that would be crucial for this position.”
- Problem solving skills: “We were very impressed with how you thought on your feet and managed to effectively answer difficult questions during the presentation. That adaptability and problem solving is something that would be a huge benefit for this position.”
Constructive Interview Feedback Examples
If there are areas a candidate needs to improve, then some constructive feedback with actionable suggestions can be hugely beneficial to a candidate moving forward.
- Technical proficiency and hard skills: “Your technical experience and background looked really promising, but it wasn’t quite at the level we were looking for. We suggest working towards some additional certifications to strengthen your knowledge.”
- Communication and presentation skills: “While it seemed like you possessed the skills and knowledge necessary for the role, it didn’t come across too well in your communication and presentation. To more effectively communicate how strong a candidate you are in future interviews, we suggest working on posture, eye contact and tone of voice to come across as more confident.”
- Research and preparation: “While your answers showed your expertise and understanding, the examples and experience you discussed didn’t align with the role and our company. In the future, it may be beneficial to research the company more extensively, and how your work will be instrumental and contribute to the business.”
Negative Interview Feedback Examples
Unfortunately, you will likely need to give negative feedback during the interview process. You should however, strive to give feedback that is tactful and respectful. Here are some examples of negative interview feedback for unsuccessful candidates.
- Technical proficiency and hard skills: “Unfortunately you weren’t able to demonstrate the necessary level of knowledge that was required for the position.”
- Problem solving skills: “When faced with difficult questions, you struggled to provide appropriate answers and seemed uncertain in your response.”
- Years of experience: “Unfortunately, you didn’t seem to possess the depth of experience and knowledge that we need for someone for this position.”
- Communication and presentation skills: “Presentation and communication is a huge part of this role, and we felt that you weren’t confident in your presentation and didn’t communicate as effectively as needed.”
- Teamwork and Collaboration Experience: “This role is centred around being able to work as part of a team. Unfortunately your lack of experience working as part of a team meant you wouldn’t be right for this position.”
Interview feedback is crucial for candidates, to help them improve and find success in later interviews. And it’s also hugely beneficial for your business ensuring you give proper consideration to every candidate and to maintain your businesses industry reputation.
And now you have all the necessary information to give interview feedback that elevates your business and recruitment process.