How to Give a Candidate Feedback


Lewis Moore


min read


28 May 2024

Interviewer giving feedback
Interviewer giving feedback

You conducted a series of interviews that wrapped up as smoothly as expected. Now comes a critical part of the hiring process: providing feedback. You realise that offering guidance doesn't just impact the individual but also reflects on your organisation's reputation. But where do you start? How can you make sure your feedback is both constructive and beneficial? In this guide, we’ll explore why giving candidate feedback is essential and how it can make all the difference for both parties involved.

1. Why Giving Feedback is Important

1.1 Helps Candidates Grow

Providing feedback helps candidates understand their strengths and areas for improvement. Candidates often miss the mark not because they lack skills, but because they don't understand what's expected. When you offer specific, actionable insights, candidates can adjust their approach and improve their performance in future applications.

For example, if a candidate failed to elaborate on their problem-solving skills during a technical interview, letting them know this gap can guide them in future interviews. Instead of vague comments like "You need to be more confident," be specific: "You could benefit from giving more detailed answers on how you tackle technical challenges." This specific guidance helps candidates to target their self-improvement efforts effectively.

Pro-tip: When sharing feedback, mention real instances from the interview. Statements like "During your response to the system design question, you didn't discuss scalability," provide clear, actionable points for the candidate to work on.

1.2 Improves Employer Branding

Your brand is more than just a logo or a tagline; it’s also shaped by how you treat your candidates. Providing meaningful feedback leaves candidates with a positive impression of your company, even if they don’t get the job. Word-of-mouth is powerful—candidates who feel valued and respected are likely to speak positively about their experience, which enhances your employer brand.

Companies known for their constructive feedback stand out in competitive markets. Candidates remember and appreciate two-way communication during the hiring process. It's not just about attracting top talent, but about building an environment where people feel valued and respected, both of which are key components in fostering a strong employer brand.

Pro-tip: Ensure your feedback loop is seamless and reflective of your company values. A branded candidate experience can reinforce this positive perception. Use tools like Evidenced to add your company logo and ensure a professional touch.

1.3 Encourages a Positive Candidate Experience

A positive candidate experience is essential for long-term hiring success. When candidates receive detailed, empathetic feedback, they feel their time and effort during the application process were appreciated, which is important for keeping their morale high. This positive experience encourages them to reapply for future opportunities or recommend your company to peers.

Candidates often invest significant time and effort in preparing for interviews. Recognising this by offering feedback can alleviate the frustration of job hunting. Detailed feedback shows respect for their effort and fosters goodwill, enhancing your overall talent pool. A simple 'thank you' can go a long way, but a detailed explanation of their performance builds a lasting, positive connection.

Pro-tip: After giving feedback, invite candidates to apply for future positions. This keeps the door open for talented individuals who may be a better fit for other roles within your organisation.

2. How to Give Constructive Feedback

2.1 Specific Examples and Observations

When providing feedback, use specific examples and observations. Vagueness can confuse the candidate and make it hard for them to understand what aspects they need to improve. Instead of saying, "You need to be better in interviews," pinpoint the exact issues. Perhaps the candidate was unable to fully elaborate on their past projects. You might say, “During your interview, you struggled to provide detailed examples of your problem-solving process. For instance, when asked about the XYZ project, the explanation lacked specifics about your role and contributions.”

Pro-tip: Pair feedback with concrete suggestions. For example, recommend they review their projects and prepare clear, detailed responses for future interviews. This provides actionable advice and shows that you care about their professional growth. Evidenced can help here by recording and transcribing interviews, allowing candidates to request feedback from you and understand areas of improvement.

2.2 Balancing Positive and Negative Feedback

Balancing positive and negative feedback is crucial. It can start with something the candidate did well, easing them into the conversation. Let’s say you admired their communication skills. You might say, “Your communication was excellent, and you explained complex processes clearly.” Always follow this with areas requiring improvement, for instance, "However, your coding examples were a bit brief and lacked comprehensive detail. Specifically, when discussing the ABC project, you could have elaborated more on your problem-solving approach."

Pro-tip: This balanced approach makes the feedback more digestible and encourages continuous improvement. Evidenced ensures consistency across all interviews, enabling interviewers to provide a balanced mix of positive feedback and areas for improvement, resulting in a fairer and more constructive process.

2.3 Using Evidenced for Structured Feedback

Using a structured approach to feedback makes it easier for candidates to understand and act upon it. Cite specific instances from the interview. An example could be, "In your response to how you handle tight deadlines, you mentioned teamwork but didn’t provide specific examples. Could you give a more detailed account of a particular project instance?”

Pro-tip: Using tools like Evidenced allows you to create a structured interview process where you can sync templates from your ATS or use a pre-designed question library. Additionally, features like live transcription and automatic question detection help interviewers focus more on the conversation and less on note-taking, resulting in more precise feedback. This feature ensures feedback is consistent and based on well-documented interview data.

3. Best Practices After Giving Feedback

3.1 Ensuring Clarity and Understanding

Clear communication is crucial when giving feedback. This ensures the candidate fully understands your points and can take constructive steps to improve. Begin by summarising the key points, both positive and negative. This reinforces what you’ve discussed and prevents misunderstandings.

  • Repeat main points: Summarise the feedback you've given.

  • Ask the candidate to repeat what they’ve heard in their own words. This checks their understanding.

  • Be open to questions: Encourage the candidate to ask for clarification on any points.

  • Provide examples to make your feedback more relatable and digestible.

Clarity not only aids the candidate in improving but also builds trust and shows respect for their efforts.

Pro-tip: Consistently use a structured interview process to standardise feedback and minimise misunderstandings. This helps ensure compliance and improves the candidate’s experience.

3.2 Offering Resources or Next Steps

After giving feedback, guide the candidate on what they can do next. Provide them with resources or actionable steps to improve. This could be suggesting relevant courses or advising on specific skills to develop. For instance:

  1. Recommend courses: Point them to online learning platforms like Coursera or LinkedIn Learning.

  2. Share articles: Send links to articles or blogs related to the skills they need to improve.

  3. Offer networking tips: Suggest industry-related networking events or professional groups.

Evidenced can assist here by providing detailed insights into candidate performance. This feature helps pinpoint areas needing improvement, making your resource suggestions highly targeted and effective.

Pro-tip: Document your suggestions and provide them in a follow-up email. This ensures the candidate has a clear action plan to refer back to.

3.3 Keeping the Door Open for Future Opportunities

Encouraging candidates by keeping the communication line open for future roles can benefit your talent pool. When you provide feedback, reassure them that your door remains open for future opportunities. This fosters a positive relationship and enhances your employer branding.

  • Highlight potential: Emphasise their strengths and potential fit within the company for future roles.

  • Invite to connect: Encourage them to stay in touch via LinkedIn or other professional networks.

  • Follow up periodically: Checking in occasionally shows you value ongoing relationships.

  • Keep records: Using tools like Evidenced to track candidate feedback and performance can streamline future re-engagements.

Such practices not only cushion the impact of rejection but also increase the likelihood of candidates re-applying when new positions open up.

Pro-tip: Establish a talent pool database. This helps in keeping track of promising candidates and engaging them for future opportunities efficiently.

Overall, giving feedback to job candidates is essential and requires a thoughtful approach. By ensuring your feedback is clear and offering practical resources, you help candidates grow. Furthermore, maintaining an open line for future opportunities can enhance your employer brand and create a positive candidate experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you write feedback for a candidate?

Begin by summarising both positive and negative points. Use specific examples and offer actionable advice. Ensure clarity by using accessible language.

How to provide feedback to applicants?

Provide clear, structured feedback with specific examples. Balance positive and negative points and suggest next steps or resources for improvement.

How do you comment on a good candidate?

Highlight their strengths and specific instances where they excelled. Mention how their skills align with the company's values or needs.

What is an example of feedback for recruitment?

"Your experience with cloud-based solutions is impressive, particularly the project where you led a successful migration. To improve, consider honing your skills in stakeholder management."