Definition of

Feedback is generally understood to mean feedback from another person. This serves to improve self-assessment through external perception. First and foremost, feedback should be as objective, neutral and free of interpretations and generalisations as possible. The more specific the feedback, the more other people can benefit from it.
With regard to candidate feedback, you can generally define two directions: Giving feedback to candidates and getting feedback from candidates. Some important do's and don'ts should be observed.

Giving candidates feedback

Candidates are very grateful for feedback, regardless of whether you hire them. Depending on whether you have had a personal interview with the candidates or have already rejected them after the pre-selection, you should define in advance how detailed the feedback should be. A telephone feedback interview is the best way to cover all points and give candidates the opportunity to ask questions. However, there are a few points you should bear in mind with regard to constructive feedback. Try to incorporate the following tips into your feedback to create the most value for candidates.

Tips for giving feedback

  • Objectivity: Only objective feedback helps the other side. Any subjective judgements are bad, as they take place on a personal level. The other person should not feel that they have to defend themselves. Subjective judgements usually bring little or no added value to the other person. You should therefore formulate your feedback in a neutral, non-judgemental and objective way.
  • Avoid generalisations: The more specific the feedback is formulated, the more benefit the other party can derive from it. Be specific and ideally back up your statements with examples.
  • Take the necessary time: Strength lies in calm. Take your time both for creating and submitting the feedback, otherwise you may forget important points.
  • Get an overview: Before you give someone feedback, you should try to consider all aspects you are aware of. Also, only refer to points that you can say something about.
  • Prompt feedback: If you are asked for feedback, pay attention to the timing. Don't let too much time pass, otherwise important points may be forgotten.
  • Balance between strengths and weaknesses: Not all feedback can be exclusively positive. However, the strengths of the other side should also be taken into account when giving negative feedback.
  • Openness to feedback: Be prepared for the fact that your feedback may be followed by questions. People often want to be able to better understand what has been said. If you have written down additional examples for your feedback, you should present these at this point at the latest in order to create understanding.
  • Identify behavioural options: Show the other person new perspectives and alternatives in order to give constructive feedback.
  • Be prepared: Take enough time to formulate your feedback. Think of examples, suggestions, possible questions and feedback. With sufficient preparation, you don't have to worry about saying something rash.

Obtain candidate feedback

Obtaining feedback from candidates is not yet very widespread. However, this should change in the near future, as it benefits not only companies but also candidates. Many companies underestimate the added value that results from this additional effort. Enabling candidates to provide feedback can significantly help you to optimise the application process and enhance your corporate image. It shows that you are endeavouring to improve and that you value the opinion of candidates.
It is important to wait for the right time to ask for feedback. If you ask for non-anonymous feedback immediately after an interview, candidates may embellish their feedback to improve their chances of being hired. Also, to get the most objective feedback possible, you should not only ask candidates you have offered a job to, but also those you have had to turn down for whatever reason.

There are various options Feedback from candidates to obtain feedback. While many providers offer online surveys, you can also obtain feedback over the phone or in a face-to-face interview. Depending on the number of applicants, you should try to find the best option for your company. Through constructive criticism, you can minimise weaknesses and build on strengths.

Tips for obtaining feedback

  • Evaluation: Before you collect feedback from candidates, you should think about the evaluation in advance. Think about how you want to use the feedback and adapt the question form accordingly.
  • Wait for the right time: Do not ask candidates for feedback during the application phase, as this may be spoilt. For example, candidates can hope to have a better chance of getting the job if they give positive feedback.
  • Choose the right feedback method: Adapt questions to specific applicant target groups and the application process used. In some cases, personal feedback is a good idea, in others an anonymous option may be more suitable.
  • Enquiries: Don't be afraid to ask applicants if you receive unclear or incomprehensible feedback. Constructive feedback should be backed up with examples. Motivate the candidates to give concrete examples. This way, you can be sure that negative feedback in particular was not just written out of emotion, but that the process was actually perceived as inadequate.
  • Say thank you: Whether in an online tool or in person, a quick thank you for the time spent not only shows that you received the feedback, but also that you care.


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