3 Ways to Give Better Candidate Feedback

Steve Lowisz
Delivering feedback can be one of the hardest parts of the recruiting process. If you had to turn down a candidate, it only gets more uncomfortable.

However, this is also a crucial part of candidate experience. If you want to improve your feedback delivery, consider these three tips.

Send Feedback Sooner Than Later

It can be tempting to put it off, but the best thing to do for everyone involved is to send feedback ASAP. This way, the feedback is still fresh in your mind. For the candidate, getting negative feedback is already often unpleasant – but getting it late can come across as simply disrespectful.

The sooner you’ve had a discussion around feedback, the sooner everyone can close the book on the process and move on.

Be Specific 

Try to be as specific as possible with your feedback. Vague feedback is unhelpful and leaves candidates guessing as to why exactly you chose someone else. Even worse, vague feedback can be misinterpreted, which can then leave you liable to a lawsuit.

Instead of saying you picked someone with a stronger background, let them know exactly what you liked better about someone else’s background.

Balance Positive and Negative Feedback 

If you have to deliver negative feedback, you can always soften the blow by sharing some positive feedback too. Try to be honest and authentic here. People can generally tell when you’re lying or stretching the truth.

Avoid the sandwich approach (the approach of delivering positive feedback, negative feedback, and close with more positive feedback) for this reason. Many people have heard it, and if they notice you’re following this pattern, they may think you are only including positive feedback to avoid hurting your feelings.

Remember that at the end of the day, feedback helps the candidate improve so they can do better next time and advance their career. Without honest feedback, they don’t have a productive way forward.