How to Give Feedback After A Job Interview

As a hiring manager you’ve likely asked yourself how you can best serve job candidates who come your way. Your first priority is hiring the best fit for the job you have open, of course, but what kind of feedback should you give to the rest of the candidates after you’ve made your offer to someone else?

According to informal poll results from a mixed audience of job seekers and employers on Twitter, 84 percent of respondents believe that a job interviewer should always give feedback after a job interview, whereas 16 percent believe that the hiring manager should not give feedback, perhaps because that is the role of a job coach or a specialized recruiter.

These results are greatly at odds with a 2012 study by Gerry Crispin in which he interviewed 100 of the top companies most admired for their hiring practices. In the study 70 percent of companies reported that they do not give feedback to unselected job candidates after interviews.

Many job seekers might not realize that employers often don’t provide feedback to avoid the risk of being sued from the appearance of bias or discrimination. However, many hiring managers don’t realize that providing feedback is also an opportunity to build relationships with people who could be a good fit for your company later in their careers or to boost your employer brand.

When Should Hiring Managers Give Feedback?

For many companies, the sheer number of applications and scheduled interviews precludes the ability to follow up with absolutely everyone.

Instead, hiring managers often arrange for automatic receipt notifications such as “Due to a high volume of applications, we are only following up with candidates who show a strong match for the experience and skills we’re looking for. Please consider this email your confirmation of application receipt.”

This explains why, of all the Twitter followers who were surveyed, 73 percent have not received job interview feedback in the past, 14 percent had received feedback and 13 percent only received feedback when they were hired for the job.

For high level rounds of interviews in which candidates make it in for a more comprehensive interview it becomes more normal to provide feedback, especially for candidates you hire. This can include positive feedback, such as why a person’s resume was appealing or what about the interview was especially compelling, or it can include negative feedback such as that the company is seeking a candidate with more experience in a certain area of the work.

Methods of Providing Feedback

If candidates were to receive interview feedback from an employer, 50 percent of them would want it delivered by email, 27 percent by phone, and 18 percent in person.

Candidates might prefer email communication so that they can clearly understand the feedback or so that they might avoid the personal confrontation of receiving negative feedback by phone or in person. However, the best practice for hiring managers is to provide feedback by phone or in person so that you have the benefit of personal communication, tone and voice (and you avoid the risk of having your words used against you).

Providing Feedback Is Up to You

Should your company provide feedback to interview candidates? Unless required by law, it is completely up to your discretion and your goals for the future.

If networking and word-of-mouth is important to your ability to build employer brand and see more prospects applying for your positions, providing feedback might be an effective way to increase goodwill and employer reputation.

Do you provide interview feedback to candidates whether you hire them or not? Why or why not?