What Are You Telling Unsuccessful Candidates?

Most employers know the feeling when they advertise a job. You find an applicant with a good CV and invite them to an interview but when it comes down to it the fit just isn’t quite right – so what do you tell the unsuccessful candidates? Or do you even tell them at all?

As a nation, we seem to have decided that giving constructive feedback to interviewees isn’t worth it. On average, only 20% of job applicants receive any written confirmation of rejection and of those, only 17% contained personalised feedback (Forbes, 2017).

That means that 83% of interviewees are simply being told ‘no’ without explanation.

When it comes down to the outcome of an interview, job seekers tend to see it in black and white and without any feedback, it can potentially dissuade someone from a career they could thrive in, simply because they aren’t the right fit for one company. It can also make for a poor interview, which 64% of job seekers say would make them less likely to purchase goods or services from a company (CNBC survey, 2017), and in a world where business reputation matters, bad word of mouth about your hiring process could prove costlier than you think.

That being said, providing feedback after an interview isn’t an always a straightforward undertaking. During recruitment, your company will have to move through the volume of applicants in a relatively short time frame so sending responses to each candidate can feel overwhelming. It’s not just the added workload that’s causing low statistics, but also the fear of backlash from a disgruntled candidate if they don’t take the feedback in the spirit it was intended.

So how does a business find the compromise between safeguarding their company and helping their candidates get the most out of their interview?

Tact will always be key, as your phrasing will be largely responsible for how it will be received by a candidate. Good feedback needs to walk a fine line between being positive and helpful. It should praise where it can, but to work it needs to be constructive. Keep in short, simple, and if you’re unsure – contacting your HR department is always a good step.

You should also keep it at a manageable level. Providing feedback to every interviewee can be a mammoth task and it’s not always a necessary one. Not all candidates will want feedback, so including it in every rejection can take up time and resources that could be better allocated elsewhere. The easiest way to make sure the feedback you’re giving will be valued by the candidate is by including them in the decision. Ask about their preferences before you do anything. By only giving feedback to those who want it, businesses can avoid any backlash from more sensitive candidates.

Feedback is an essential part of learning and personal growth for any job seeker. By taking the time to explain your hiring decisions, your business is actively participating in helping to create a better, more informed generation of potential employees. If you take advantage of the myriad of information available on exactly how and when to give feedback, you could be changing someone’s entire perspective of interviews. So, what are you telling unsuccessful candidates?

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