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What these interview feedback examples can do to improve your hiring process

What these interview feedback examples can do to improve your hiring process

Interview feedback is how you enhance and optimise your recruitment process. Interviews are part of a two-way conversation, and they’re as much an opportunity for you to grow as for the job candidate.

When you give good interview feedback, you help build a brand reputation as a company that cares about its people and values their insights. When you get good interview feedback, you can use what you can learn to improve your hiring process.

This is especially true with job candidates who almost made it to being given a job offer. Giving them feedback strengthens the link between you and the candidate, and keeps the doors open for a future relationship, and you should include it even in your job rejection emails.

I’ve worked in learning and development and organisational design for 8 years. During that time, I picked up a thing or two about how a company can grow and improve when it both gives and receives interview feedback.

In this post, I’ll give some advice about the do’s and don’ts of giving interview feedback, and give you some real-life examples of feedback Charlie has given (and received), and what you can learn from them.

Why is Interview Feedback Important for a Business?

Every hire counts at a small business. It’s time-consuming - and expensive - to find new talent and replace people when they leave. Even one missing seat at small business matters when you have a small company of fewer than 50 people and every man counts.

There are a few reasons why getting interview feedback is good for your business:

  1. Improving Hiring Decisions: Detailed feedback helps you evaluate candidates more accurately and lowers the risk of choosing the wrong candidate
  2. Enhancing Candidate Experience: Constructive interview feedback gives candidates a good view of you and your brand (after they've seen your job description), which can lead to them reapplying or even referring others to you
  3. Building Employer Brand: Helpful feedback is a good reflection of your brand image. Good feedback practices backed by a positive employer brand image can help you attract more and better candidates
  4. Encouraging Future Applications: Even if a particular candidate doesn’t work out, it can still be worth keeping a relationship with them

Do’s and Don’ts of Giving Interview Feedback

Interview feedback is a good skill for any HR professional to have. Some good and consistent practices can go a long way towards improving your brand image, and your chances of finding quality candidates.

There are a few do’s and don’ts you ought to watch for.

Do:

  1. Be Specific and Constructive: Give clear examples and reference moments from the interview. Give the candidate actionable advice on what went well and what they can improve on.
  2. Balance Positives and Negatives: Highlight strengths and acknowledge what the candidate did well. When giving criticism, be honest yet sensitive, and keep it to how the candidate can grow from the experience.
  3. Maintain Professionalism: Keep feedback strictly related to the interview. Keep it respectful, and keep the subject away from any personal characteristics.

Don’t:

  1. Be Vague: Avoid ambiguity and general statements. These can be very confusing and frustrating for any job candidate.
  2. Refrain from Personal Comments: Maintain professional boundaries. Any inappropriate comments can lead to legal action if not handled carefully.
  3. Don’t Delay Feedback: Keeping a candidate on edge while they wait on your decision is not nice. Give feedback promptly and help prevent that anxiety to improve the candidate experience.

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Examples of Feedback Charlie Has Given to Candidates

I’d like to show you some examples of feedback Charlie has given to job candidates - whether they were a strong match or just weren’t the right fit. In most cases, I’ve gone ahead and templatized the feedback we received so you can use it yourself in the interview feedback you give.

There’s something you can learn from each experience to make the process both for you and for future hires.

Example 1: Feedback for a Strong Candidate

This was for a candidate who just interviewed at Charlie. They were highly skilled and enthusiastic about the role, but they weren’t quite the right fit for the position they applied for.

Subject: Your Interview with Charlie - Feedback

Body: Dear [Candidate’s Name],

Thank you for taking the time to interview with us for the [Position] role. We were impressed with your extensive knowledge in [specific skill or area] and your enthusiasm for [relevant topic]. Your experience in [relevant experience] aligns well with our goals at Charlie.

While we are currently pursuing candidates whose experience more closely aligns with our immediate needs, we were genuinely impressed by your potential. We encourage you to apply for future openings, as your skills are valuable and could be a great fit for other roles we may have.

Best regards, [Your Name] [Your Position]

What You Can Learn

This example recognises the candidate’s strengths keeps the door open for a potential future relationship, and explores the possibility of other roles at Charlie in the future. The tone remains positive, encouraging the candidate to try again.

Example 2: Feedback for a Candidate Not Selected

In this scenario, a different candidate wasn’t selected for the role, despite their obvious strengths. This situation required a blend of encouragement and honesty.

Example 3: Feedback for a Candidate Not Selected

Subject: Interview Feedback from Charlie

Body: Hello [Candidate’s Name],

Thank you for interviewing with us for the [Position]. We appreciate the effort you put into the application and interview process.

We wanted to acknowledge your strengths in [mention specific strengths or skills]. Your approach to [specific scenario discussed in the interview] was particularly noteworthy and aligns with our values at Charlie.

After careful consideration, we have decided to move forward with another candidate for this role. However, we were impressed with your [specific skill or attribute] and encourage you to consider applying for future positions with us.

Warm regards, [Your Name] [Your Position]

What You Can Learn

In this feedback, Charlie was honest about what led to the decision and acknowledged what the candidate did well. It’s a good example of Charlie’s commitment to respectful communication.

Example 4: Encouraging Feedback for Future Potential:

This candidate didn’t quite work out, but we still saw the potential in them. A little encouragement can go a long way towards someone’s professional development.

Subject: Your Recent Interview at Charlie

Body: Dear [Candidate’s Name],

Thank you for the time and energy you invested in your interview for the [Position] with us. We enjoyed learning about your experiences, especially your work in [specific area or project].

While we have chosen a candidate whose experience more closely matches our current needs, we see great potential in your profile, particularly in areas like [specific skills or qualities]. We believe these strengths will serve you well in your career and encourage you to continue developing them.

We hope you’ll keep Charlie in mind for future opportunities, as we believe your skills could be a great match for other roles.

Best wishes, [Your Name] [Your Position]

What You Can Learn

This feedback shows genuine interest in the candidate’s future development, which aligns with Charlie’s values of building positive interactions with candidates.

Feedback Candidates Have Given to Charlie

Interview feedback works both ways. It’s not just about you sharing with the candidate, but in hearing what they have to say to you. Here are a few examples of feedback we have gotten from our job candidates, and what we learned from them.

Example 1: Positive Feedback on the Interview Process

This is some recent feedback we got that indicated a positive interview experience.

Subject: Feedback on My Interview Experience with Charlie

Body: Dear Charlie Team,

I wanted to express my gratitude for the professional and engaging interview process I experienced for the [Position] role. The clear communication and prompt responses from your team made a significant difference. I was particularly impressed by the detailed information provided about the role and your company culture, which helped me feel well-prepared and at ease.

While I understand that I was not selected for this position, the constructive feedback I received was invaluable. It not only helped me understand where I can improve but also reinforced my positive view of Charlie as an employer.

Thank you for a great experience, and I look forward to potential future opportunities with Charlie.

Best regards, [Candidate’s Name]

What You Can Learn

Keeping the lines of communication open with a candidate waiting on a decision shows respect and empathy. It goes a long way towards building trust and confidence for your brand, even if things didn’t work out this time. Who knows, maybe a working relationship may be possible in the future.

Example 2: Constructive Feedback on Interview Timing

Even candidates that don’t work out deserve to have their time respected. In this situation, the interview was mostly positive but the delay in the final decision caused the interviewee some easily avoided anxiety.

Subject: Interview Experience Feedback

Body: Hello Charlie HR Team,

I recently interviewed for the [Position] and wanted to share some thoughts about my experience. Overall, the process was well-organised, and the interviewers were knowledgeable and friendly. However, I noticed that the interview started later than scheduled, which caused some anxiety on my end.

I understand that delays can happen, but I believe better communication regarding the timing would enhance the experience for future candidates. Despite this, I am grateful for the opportunity to interview with Charlie and for the valuable insights gained during our conversation.

Thank you for considering my feedback.

Sincerely, [Candidate’s Name]

What You Can Learn

Punctuality and open communication are very important during the interview process. If something is going on with our interview process at Charlie, then we want to know about it. That’s why feedback like this is helpful.

Feedback Works Both Ways

We value the feedback we get as much as the feedback we give at Charlie. Having a constructive and transparent feedback process helps brighten your brand image, and make it easier for you to get quality candidates down the line. Making the interview process as stress-free and positive as we can manage is how we bring in the people that make Charlie such a great company to work for.

If you’d like more guidance on how you can emulate the success we’ve had with our interview process, you can get in touch with me or another HR advisor at Charlie and we’ll be happy to share what we know. Book a free call today and we’ll get you sorted.

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