Do you dread telling someone that they have been unsuccessful for a position with your company? Don’t worry, you are not alone, but why is it people harbour this deep rooted fear of giving feedback over the phone? Probably because there is a negative stigma attached to giving and receiving feedback, but ‘feedback’ is being looked at all wrong and it doesn’t have to be this way…
Telling someone that they are unsuccessful is not actually giving feedback, it is just the outcome. If you give people details on their performance in an interview, you are actually telling the person how they can improve, so they can do better next time. Whether they need some additional experience and/or exposure, or just some feedback on how they perform in an interview situation, it is 100% more effective for candidates to get feedback directly, rather than to sit around wondering what on earth they did wrong! Sure, there are candidates out there who are ‘not the best’, but by giving them constructive feedback we can make them that little bit better.
If a candidate has physically come in to meet with you, then calling them directly is a must, as it will show them that you value you the time they took to come and meet with you. It will also portray a professional company image and let’s be honest, a phone call can be as quick if not quicker than writing feedback in an email, we just need to get rid of the fear of the phone!
The first step in becoming more confident with issuing feedback is being armed with the facts. If you have a proper recruitment process and a good interview question guide, then you should have no problems issuing a valid and factual reason as to why the candidate is not successful. “We don’t feel you are the right fit”, will not cut it. It can seem a little personal and a candidate has the right to read into it. They can even assume in extreme cases that you are not moving forward due to discriminative reasons. The word ‘feeling’ really has no place in any feedback setting, facts should be presented.
“The other candidate we interviewed was stronger” is also right up there in most hated reasons for being declined from a position. If it actually is the case, then there will still be a clear reason why the other candidate was chosen over the one you are turning down… so write it down and let the candidate know why the other was hired instead of them and beware of using this as an ‘excuse’ for not selecting a candidate if it is not the entire reason they have not been successful. You don’t want to give unsuccessful candidates a false impression that you would in fact hire them if the other candidate fell through and the job became available again. Don’t learn this lesson the hard way… just remember, it’s important to be honest.