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How to Give Constructive Feedback to Candidates

Although many employers do not realize it, many candidates are looking for honest feedback after an interview to determine how they could make a better impression in future endeavors if no position is extended. Unfortunately, most employers also shy away from giving candidates constructive feedback because they find it difficult to navigate. Whether you are trying to improve your hiring process or just want to improve the experience for candidates that are declining, here are some things to keep in mind when extending constructive feedback to them. 

Avoid Focusing on the Person 

One of the worst things a hiring manager can do is put a candidate in an awkward position by focusing on them as a person and not the current situation. Many candidates devote their entire life to building their career and even the least harsh critique can be taken negatively depending on the delivery and subject. Focus on the problem at hand and not the person to ensure your feedback is as well-received as possible and position the issue as isolated and not something that defines their character. 

Be Specific with Constructive Feedback 

Unclear feedback can often be just as bad as not extending feedback at all. If you offer constructive criticism, be sure to give precise examples that you are referring to. For instance, if you are talking about an addition to their portfolio, give clear examples of what you are looking for based on the position or industry instead of leaving candidates to wonder what they may have done wrong with no direction. Remember, the goal should be to change behaviors, so they know what to work on or improve. 

Align Feedback with Company Goals 

Instead of just injecting personal views into hiring decisions, hiring managers should carefully review each candidate on their skills based on the goals of the company they are hiring on behalf of. Just because the person conducting the interview does not like the way a candidate has done something does not mean it is not correct. Take the time to look at the candidate, their experience, their skills and portfolio as a whole and determine how they best align with company goals before providing feedback. 

Frame Criticisms in a Positive Way 

Before offering constructive feedback to candidates, it is important to ensure that you are not framing what you say in a negative light. One effective way that successful hiring managers can do this is by highlighting a person’s strengths, provide criticism and then return to positive praise that you can extend to them. This not only helps soften the blow, but it also ensures that the candidate leaves with a positive experience and knows what to work on for the future opportunities they may have with the same company or a similar one. 

Extend Actionable Improvement Recommendations

Constructive feedback can often be useless if candidates are not given actionable recommendations for improvement. Instead of saying what skills need work, take the time to provide ideas on how to improve those skills through resources that are readily available to them. Take care to not give advice that may be outside of the company’s specialty and ensure the skills you are helping them develop ultimately align with the requirements of the position they are applying for or career they are trying to pursue. 

Why Certified?

At Certified Source, we go above and beyond to make sure our clients are protected and experience service excellence. All our staff members are Certified Staffing Professionals credentialed by the American Staffing Association. Our laser focus on quality and service excellence are the differentiators that have our clients relying on us as the emerging leader in the industry. 

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