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 generalizations as possible. The more specific, the more likely it is that other people will benefit from it.
With regard to candidate feedback, one can generally define two directions: Giving feedback to candidates and collecting feedback from candidates. In doing so, some important do's and don'ts should be observed.

Give feedback to candidates

Candidates are very grateful for feedback, regardless of whether you hire them. Depending on whether you've had a face-to-face interview with candidates or are already rejecting them after pre-selection, you should define in advance how detailed the feedback should be. A telephone feedback interview is best to work through all the points and give candidates the opportunity to ask questions. However, there are some points you should keep in mind regarding constructive feedback. Try to incorporate the following tips into your feedback to add the most value for candidates.

Tips to give feedback

  • Objectivity: Only objective feedback helps the other side. Any subjective evaluations are bad because they take place on a personal level. The other person should not get the feeling that they have to defend themselves. Subjective assessments usually add little or no value to the other person. Therefore, formulate your feedback neutrally, value-free and objectively.
  • Avoiding generalizations: The more specific feedback is formulated, the more benefit the other party can derive from it. Be specific and ideally support your statements with examples.
  • Take necessary time: There is power in calmness. Take your time both for the creation and for the transmission of the feedback, otherwise you may forget important points.
  • Get an overview: Before giving feedback to someone, try to consider all the aspects you know. Also, refer only to points about which you can say something.
  • Timely Feedback: When feedback is requested from you, pay attention to timing. Not too much time should pass, otherwise important points may be forgotten.
  • Balance between strengths and weaknesses: Not all feedback can be exclusively positive. However, even in the case of negative feedback, the strengths of the other side should be addressed.
  • Openness to feedback: Be prepared that your feedback may be followed by questions. People often want to be able to better understand what has been said. If you have additionally noted down examples for your feedback, you should bring them up at this point at the latest in order to create understanding.
  • Demonstrate behavioral options: Show the other person new perspectives and alternatives to give constructive feedback.
  • Be prepared: Take enough time when formulating 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

Getting feedback from candidates is not yet very widespread. However, this should change in the near future, because it benefits not only companies, but also candidates. Many companies underestimate the added value that comes from this extra effort. After all, allowing candidates to provide feedback can significantly help you streamline the application process and boost your corporate image. It shows that you are striving to improve and that you value candidates' opinions.
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, don't interview only candidates you've offered a job to, but also those you've had to turn down, for whatever reason.

There are several options Feedback from candidates obtain feedback. While a variety of providers allow online surveys, you could also gather 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 minimize weaknesses and build on strengths.

Tips for soliciting 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 format accordingly.
  • Wait for the right time: Do not ask candidates for feedback during the current application phase, as it may be spoiled. For example, candidates may hope to have a better chance of getting the job if they provide positive feedback.
  • Selecting the right feedback method: Tailor questions to specific applicant audiences and the application process used. In some cases, personal feedback lends itself well; in others, an anonymous option may be more appropriate.
  • Inquiries: Do not be afraid to ask applicants if you receive unclear or incomprehensible feedback. Constructive feedback should be backed up with examples. Motivate candidates to provide 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 deficient.
  • Say thank you: Whether it's in an online tool or in person, a quick thank you for spending the time not only shows that you got the feedback, but also that you engaged with it.


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