Recruiter at a desk writing

Providing Post-interview Feedback Without Being Vague: 5 Useful Tips

Posted on 14 April 2023

Providing post-interview feedback has its pros and cons. It’s fantastic when you know you’re about to deliver good news. On the other hand, you feel like running for the hills when you have to let the candidate know they didn’t get the job. We get it – having to tell someone they didn’t get the job they worked so hard to prepare for and invested ample time on is gut-twistingly one of the hardest parts of the recruitment process. 

However, regardless of how the interview went, candidates like to receive feedback. In fact, according to statistics, 52% of candidates who received timely feedback said they were more likely to increase their relationship with the company.

So, how do you give useful feedback without leaving a sour after-experience? 

To help guide you toward successfully delivering post-interview feedback to unsuccessful candidates, we’ve put together a quick guide. 


Tips for giving interview feedback to unsuccessful candidates


1. Provide prompt feedback

Your feedback matters note on cork board

The most important first step in providing helpful feedback is giving it as promptly as possible. There’s no point in delivering your feedback one month later. Remember, the candidate may have other interviews lined up. In this case, your timely feedback may help them when interviewing for other positions. Also, not getting in touch with the candidate is not a form of providing feedback. 


2. Start with positive encouragement and be honest

you got this desk sign

Begin your conversation on a positive note. Let the candidate know about the core strengths and skills you saw within them. While being encouraging, this is not the time to build up their hopes, so be straightforward and let them know the outcome. In this scenario, you must choose your words wisely to express why you are not offering the job. 


3. Be specific with your critique

Advice in yellow text on blue background

Broad feedback such as “we want someone with more experience in research” has never helped anyone improve. It’s time to provide some answers without being vague. How do you do this without upsetting the candidate, you may ask? Well, instead of pinpointing the areas of improvement and attributes they may lack, turn these into detailed, constructive advice that will help them improve personally and professionally. For instance, instead of saying, “we felt you lacked…” turn this around and say, “to give you some advice...” Thus, you can avoid being vague in your feedback and provide practical advice. 


4. Provide helpful answers to questions

question note on a chalk board

Candidates will most likely have a few follow-up questions after receiving feedback. Once again, be sure to provide informative answers by providing any tips and suggestions. If you do not have the answer, assure them that you will get back to them and do so in a timely manner. 


5. End the conversation on a positive note 

gratitude note on cork board

All feedback does not have to be negative. As you end the conversation, leave the door open for future applications. Politely express your gratitude towards the time and effort they put into applying and interviewing for the position. 

Finally, give them a boost of confidence by highlighting a positive attribute they bring to the table. 


Boost the candidate’s experience

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Optimising on the points above and including them in your recruitment strategy can boost the overall candidate experience and enhance your employer brand. So, go ahead, and give them a go. 

Alternatively, remember you don’t have to do all the work on your own! With over two decades of recruitment experience, DukeMed is here to help you achieve your hiring goals. Get in touch today, and together let’s enhance your recruitment strategy. 

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