Is job interview feedback worthwhile or worthless?
Hiring 5 minute read

Is job interview feedback worthwhile or worthless?

Megan Orr | February 4, 2021

Providing detailed job interview feedback to candidates may seem like a waste of time, but can be valuable for both the interviewee and your organization. Not to mention, taking the time to do so can create a positive company image.

The hiring process can be hectic, especially if you’re hiring for multiple positions at the same time. You may be dealing with hundreds, if not thousands of applicants, and interviewing dozens of different candidates for different roles in the same week—if not the same day. In fact, according to recruiter stats, the average employer “will interview 6-10 candidates for a job, and candidates will go through at least 2-3 rounds of interviews before receiving an offer”.

So, maybe it makes sense to send out a generic “We thank you for your time, but we’ve decided to go in a different direction with a candidate that more closely matches the job qualifications. Best of luck in your future endeavours” email. If you’re not currently sending a generic email to candidates you’ve interviewed, we recommend starting up the practice to provide closure to job applicants. 

However, writing specific job interview feedback is valuable for both potential hires and for you (or the hiring manager). 

Continue reading to find out how and why you should be sharing job interview feedback with candidates. 

Creating a positive candidate experience for someone, whether they end up your employee or not, is a key part of building a positive brand and company culture. 

From the job description to the application process and then the interview and post-interview, candidates should have a good experience with your company even if they don’t get the job. 

Providing specific and honest feedback to the candidate will not only leave a good impression but can also help the candidate in future interviews. These candidates are also more likely to speak well of your company, potentially increasing your talent pool. 

Writing out feedback can provide valuable insights about a candidate, whether you choose to share it with them or not. 

Taking the time (ideally on the same day as the interview) to write down your thoughts is a great way to reflect on how the interview went and your general impression of the candidate. It’s also good practice to record this feedback in case of a potential legal issue (i.e. the candidate alleging they weren’t hired because of discrimination). You can record your notes in Google Docs, Evernote or your preferred note-taking app. Within Rise Recruiting, you can record and share notes under each applicant.

Additionally, writing down your job interview feedback gives you the opportunity to think about any outstanding questions you may have for the candidate, identify any reservations, and organize your thoughts. 

Your feedback can then be shared with the hiring manager or the team and used to make a decision about hiring. However, before sharing your impressions, you should allow enough time for others involved in the hiring to come to their own conclusions so you don’t sway them with your feedback. 

Medium writes that good feedback should focus on the following five areas:

  1. The decision: either hire or no hire. If it’s a maybe, evaluate why.
  2. Why you came to that decision with clear examples and rationale. 
  3. Your own description of the interview and impression of the candidate. Medium writes that you should answer questions such as “Were they engaged in your conversation, did they directly answer your questions, were they defensive or open to critical questions [...] Would this person be someone you’d be able to work with daily?”.
  4. Use consistent criteria for each candidate.
  5. Last, but certainly not least, could they get the job done?

This feedback can inform your hiring decision and can be useful when writing to a candidate to explain why they did or didn’t get the job.

Not knowing what to say is why, more often than not, candidates receive a generic rejection email. It’s usually awkward to send an email that mentions all the reasons you didn’t choose a candidate. 

Here are some tips for writing a personalized rejection email:

  • Be honest, but keep your feedback about their specific qualifications. You shouldn’t mention how you lost confidence in them because they wouldn’t make eye contact. 
  • Offer advice, rather than pointing out things they didn’t do well. If the candidate was visibly nervous, suggest that they practice interview questions beforehand and are mindful of their body language. 
  • Work in some positives, too. Try to incorporate a point or two about what they did well. Keep it specific. Emphasize that it wasn’t an easy decision to make. 
  • Try not to be generic. Give feedback that’s specific to the candidate and their interview, rather than writing a generic statement such as “we decided to go in a different direction”. 

And, if the applicant is still persistent? You are under no obligation to explain yourself further. Some candidates can get defensive when dealing with rejection, especially if they’ve already gone through several rounds of interviews. A polite generic message works in this instance: “We are fortunate to have had many qualified candidates, and went with the one best suited to our needs”. If the person is still adamant that they should’ve gotten the job, you should feel assured in your choice, block their email and number, and add them to your Do Not Hire list.

Bring life to work, and your inbox.

Subscribe to our monthly email roundup of news and helpful resources on workplace trends, employee engagement tactics, and more.

Give your employees, and yourself, the experience we all deserve.

Book a demo