Communication. It has the ability to build relationships at work, in our private lives, in love, but also in motivation. Lack of communication or if misused, could have negative results. The same applies to the recruitment process. Good communication is a key element in the candidate experience, so ensuring you get it right, is a success for the recruiter and the organization.
One of the elements in good communication is our best friend – feedback. It’s easy to look at negative comments and opinions on the internet and based on this, we can easily see how important feedback is in the recruitment process. Today, I won’t just be touching on how important feedback is to the candidate but, generally, I would say only that feedback can support both the company and the candidate with understanding the outcome of the recruitment process.
Now, when it comes to the employer and the recruitment process, I would like to emphasize how important and beneficial good feedback really is. Just let’s see it from a professional approach. Economical and Management theory is telling us how many values we could achieve from both positive and the negative feedback. The first one has impact on the employees’ motivation. The second one gives to the manager and employee the possibility to correct what is wrong and not repeat the same mistakes in the future. It’s obvious that, the easiest way of learning is by doing and learning from our mistakes.
Human resources and the recruitment is obviously the part of Management so we can easily apply the feedback to the relationships with the candidates. It’s not about the standard messages being sent automatically from ATS or the generic emails sent to all rejected candidate, its more about the real feedback, which more often is not shared.
What are the benefits for the company in relation to a proper feedback process?
Let’s start from candidate experience. Some of you would say that it’s just a phrase commonly used everywhere. But no. The positive experiences coming from the recruitment process are the best reward for the recruiter’s hard work. Additionally, there is no better way to get free employer branding than as a result of positive feedback from a candidate. A happy and respected candidate, can be an ambassador, someone who might very well be interested in joining the company. Even if they are not hired, his/her experience can encourage the candidate to develop new skills, push them to apply again in the future or recommend another candidate from their network. How does it sound? 🙂
Shared feedback allows organizations to be transparent with the candidate. No frustrations, no negative emotions, and more importantly, no negative comments shared on the internet or social media. I’ll go back here to my first sentence – it’s all about communication.
The feedback shared on or after each stage of the recruitment process is likely to build the recruiter’s brand and credibility. What we want to achieve through this positive experience is: more direct candidates responding to our search messages and as we know, this can be a challenge.
Hiring manager feedback also plays an important role for the recruiter. Any constructive feedback from the manager will assist the recruiter in assessing if the sourcing strategy and focused profiles are accurate. There is always a chance that some requirements were not mentioned by hiring manager. Blindingly obvious things still need to be said.
In the end simple mathematic NO FEEDBACK = NO CANDIDATE.
And now I am going to surprise you the most. To present the feedback, it’s not just the recruiters or HR’s responsibility, but also or I would even say primarily the hiring managers as they have ultimately made the decision. I know it’s not easy. I also often face difficulties when I receive feedback which can be inconsistent, and not suitable for sharing with the candidate. In that situation, the only thing you can do is to share your own feedback in line with your own assessment of the candidate.
Does it mean the manager is relieved from this responsibility? YES and NO!
YES – when the manager presents their feedback to the recruiter, it’s the recruiter who will need to construct a suitability softer, toned down version that can shared with the candidate.
NO – manager is still obliged to respond and verbalize his or hers decision about the candidate, especially when rejected.
I understand the biggest challenge is how we present negative feedback. Let’s start with building a proper message.
- Treat candidates with respect.
- Maintain relationship with the candidates.
- Explain your decision when you reject a candidate.
- Appreciate candidate’s strengths.
- Share with them what is missing from their profile, what could be developed for the future.
- Avoid general points and conflicting messages.
- Try to have measured arguments.
- Remember candidate experience is key.
The feedback should be honest however also measured. When we don’t know how to clearly explain the rejection reason, I would strongly advise to think twice whether we made the right decision.
Big thank you to my amazing peer Scott for his support and proofreading! 🙂