Fantastic Feedback Tips That Will Save Your Candidates From Sitting In Radio Silence

Fantastic Feedback Tips That Will Save Your Candidates From Sitting In Radio Silence
HireHive Team

HireHive Team


It’s a great feeling when you think an interview has gone well. Unfortunately, that post-interview buzz can soon turn into bitterness if a meeting is followed by radio silence. Over the weeks, candidates will switch from feeling inspired to feeling outright overlooked. Worse, they’ll have no way of knowing why. This awkward waiting game, and the disappointment that comes with it, is a large part of the reason why 77% of job candidates think that interview feedback should be a legal requirement. Yet, four in five of those individuals report never having received any kind of interview feedback. Not even a simple no! As well as burning bridges with candidates who might otherwise have considered you in the future, a lack of applicant feedback can build you a bad reputation. The question is, how exactly can you give great feedback without spending hours on this task?

Consider Interview Stage

A simple rule of thumb is to tailor your levels of feedback to each category of interview rounds. Ultimately, no one expects you to offer an essay of feedback for every person you interview. That would be a full-time job in itself! But, it doesn’t take long to give a simple answer, and the time you take here should increase as your interview rounds slim down. For example, a good feedback format could be – 

  • First round of interviews: A simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
  • Second round of interviews: A small paragraph explaining your decision.
  • Third round of interviews or beyond: A conversation or longer written form outlining strengths, weaknesses, and reasons for not moving forward.

Think About Formats

Feedback format matters, especially once you reach rejections in the third round of interviews or beyond. Your two main options will most likely be –

  • A phone call or in-person interview: A five or ten-minute conversation with the applicant when you provide feedback. 
  • Written feedback: An email or feedback form providing detailed, written comments.

Ultimately, both options have their strengths. Spoken feedback is typically faster to deliver (though you should still take some time planning what to say!), making it ideal for a broader range of third-stage applicants. However, by your fourth, fifth, or even sixth interview rounds, if you intend to have them, a mixture of both written and spoken feedback might be useful for candidates who can then return to your comments as required. 

Be Specific

Good feedback should never centre around generalisations. After all, a candidate can’t do much with an unclear piece of advice like ‘be more passionate’. Instead, you should always try to think of specific points and reasons for your decisions. This helps to avoid ambiguity and ensures that your feedback offers true value. 

Admittedly, this can be a difficult goal to achieve, especially after you’ve conducted multiple interviews that may have blurred into one. But, you can make your life easier by writing up feedback shortly after an interview, or even ensuring easy-to-access candidate profiles that you can update as and when. As well as helping to aid your decisions, this gives you something solid to look back on when compiling feedback, meaning that you could stick to specifics like answers given, body language, or even how well a candidate does at explaining their skill sets and experience. 

Provide Actionable Advice

Along the same lines, you should make sure to always provide actionable advice, otherwise your attempts to keep even rejected candidates onside may end in confusion. After all, your purpose for providing this feedback is to offer true value to promising candidates. Comments like ‘I didn’t like…[enter behaviour here]’ are ultimately useless, and will also sour relations by seeming inherently negative. 

By instead delivering your feedback in a more forward-thinking actionable way, you can make things seem far more positive and valuable overall. For instance, instead of just calling out a behaviour, offer a solution, or a potential way around it, such as ‘I wasn’t sure about the way you spoke about your experience with this company, but I think you could improve that with specific examples of what you did there, or the skills you utilised.’ This way, candidates go away feeling like the time they’ve spent with you was worthwhile, and you may even find that they return to you stronger for another role in the future. 

Include Positives

Of course, any chance of a candidate coming back to you fades away if your feedback focuses solely on negatives. Even if you make those points actionable, this can create resentments that may push candidates to disagree with or discard your feedback altogether. What’s more, a completely negative piece of feedback would be inaccurate considering that candidates who receive this benefit will have already gotten quite far in your recruitment drive. 

That’s why it’s important to focus on the positives as well as the negatives. By this, we don’t mean that you need to dress feedback up as a somewhat cliched ‘feedback sandwich’. Simply don’t be afraid to point out good things, like the skills or qualifications you were impressed by, the things you liked throughout the interview, or even something as simple as the quality of a candidate’s outfit choices. After all, these positives will have played just as much a part in your decision as the bad stuff. This addition is therefore vital for providing a complete feedback picture and making sure that candidates are more receptive to any suggested improvements. 

Say it Right With HireHive

Candidates who go far in your recruitment drive can spend as long as six weeks trying to impress you overall. Feedback is a great way to say thank you. It can also ensure positive relations after rejection and the potential for a stronger candidate if that person applies again. 

HireHive can simplify the feedback process by allowing you to create complete candidate profiles for every interview attendee. The use of scorecards and feedback from every member of your team via one simple platform can ensure high-quality feedback for half of the work. 

Fantastic feedback has never been simpler. Start your free trial of HireHive today.

Watch our demo

Hiring Pipeline

Arrange a product tour today and start using
recruiting software that helps you find and hire
the best candidates.

Read also

Company logo for Life Credit Union

“HireHive makes the team a lot more productive. We’d be lost without it. Team Leaders can do it all themselves if needed or jump in at the right time and know exactly where everything is and what’s happening.”

Profile of Hilary Dempsey

Hilary Dempsey Head of HR at Life Credit union

Join over 2,000 companies who streamlined their hiring process with HireHive