Giving Interview Feedback to Unsuccessful Candidates

Giving interview feedback to unsuccessful candidates can be a difficult task for hiring managers, but it is an important part of the recruitment process.

6 Feb 2023
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Giving interview feedback to unsuccessful candidates can be a difficult task for hiring managers, but it is an important part of the recruitment process. Providing constructive feedback can help the candidate improve their skills and better prepare for future job opportunities, and it can also help the company maintain a positive reputation in the job market.

Honesty and Tactfulness

When giving interview feedback, it’s important to be honest, yet tactful. Feedback should be specific, focusing on areas where the candidate could improve, rather than just stating that they were not a good fit for the role. Providing specific examples can help the candidate understand what they need to work on.

Tone of Feedback

It’s also important to consider the tone of the feedback. While it’s essential to be truthful, it’s equally important to be kind and professional. Candidates may feel disappointed or discouraged after being rejected for a job, and a compassionate approach can help ease their frustration.

Highlighting the Positive

When giving feedback, it’s also a good idea to highlight the positive aspects of the candidate’s interview. Discuss what impressed you about their skills, experience, or personality. This will help the candidate feel valued and appreciated, even if they were not selected for the role.

Written Feedback

In addition to providing verbal feedback during the interview process, it’s also a good idea to provide written feedback in the form of an email. This allows the candidate to reflect on the feedback and keep it for future reference. The email should include specific examples of the candidate’s strengths and areas for improvement, along with an offer to connect in the future if they would like to discuss their feedback further.

Timing of Feedback

Another important aspect to consider when giving feedback to unsuccessful candidates is the timing. It’s recommended to provide feedback as soon as possible after the interview, while the candidate’s experience is still fresh in their mind. This will allow them to act on the feedback right away, if they choose to.

Tailoring Feedback to Individual Candidates

It’s also essential to remember that every candidate is unique, and the feedback you give should reflect that. Each person has different strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important to tailor your feedback to their individual needs and abilities.

Two-Way Process

It’s important to recognize that giving feedback is a two-way process. Encourage the candidate to ask questions and provide feedback of their own. This can give you valuable insights into how the candidate views their interview experience, and it can also help them to better understand your perspective.

Follow-Up and Staying Connected

It’s important to follow up with the unsuccessful candidate after you’ve provided feedback to see if they have any further questions or concerns. Additionally, consider staying connected with the candidate by adding them to your professional network on LinkedIn or other platforms. This can help you maintain a positive relationship with the candidate, and they may be a valuable resource in the future if they continue to develop their skills and experience.

Maintaining Confidentiality

When giving feedback to an unsuccessful candidate, it’s essential to maintain confidentiality. The information discussed during the feedback session should be kept private and should not be shared with others outside of the recruitment team. This helps to protect the candidate’s privacy and maintain the company’s reputation.

Providing Feedback as a Team

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that providing feedback is often a team effort. If more than one person was involved in the interview process, it’s recommended to have a team meeting to discuss the feedback that will be provided to the unsuccessful candidate. This can ensure that the feedback is consistent and that everyone is on the same page.

In summary, giving interview feedback to unsuccessful candidates is a critical part of the recruitment process. It helps the candidate to grow and develop their skills, and it also helps the company to maintain a positive reputation in the job market. When giving feedback, it’s essential to be honest, tactful, professional, and to tailor the feedback to the individual candidate’s needs. Additionally, it’s important to follow up with the candidate, maintain confidentiality, and provide feedback as a team when appropriate.

Bonus: Post-interview Rejection Letter Sample

Subject: Regarding Your Recent Interview for [Position]

Dear [Applicant Name],

I would like to thank you for taking the time to interview with us for the [Position] role. We appreciate your interest in our company and the energy and passion you brought to the interview process.

After careful consideration, we have decided to move forward with other candidates who better fit our current needs and requirements for the position.

Please know that this decision does not reflect upon your qualifications or the quality of your interview. We encourage you to keep us in mind for future opportunities that may align better with your skills and experience.

Again, thank you for your interest in our company and we wish you all the best in your job search.


[Your Name] [Company Name]

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