Interviewing for a new job is a stressful process; one that requires multitasking, concentration and commitment. It is also like a long and drawn-out battle; competitive and full of causalities.
Candidates have to storm past other troopers and directly face off to hiring managers who put them through their paces, testing their suitability and stamina over a number of battle rounds. The weak ones drop off quickly; the strong ones hang on for as long as they can until one of them finally bags the role of their dreams. It really boggles my mind when applicants are invited to interview, give it their best shot and then just never hear back, so have to assume they were unsuccessful. Given how much time and effort goes into preparation and attendance, candidates shouldn’t have to accept that ‘no news is bad news’.
Recruiters are very strapped for time, working long hours to complete a workload which can never, ever be completely ‘done’ – there is always more to do! It’s probably a bit unrealistic to expect recruiters to relay in-depth client feedback to every single applicant who’s CV they have sent to a job, but surely every candidate who is met and mentored to interview deserves to know how they’ve performed, regardless of whether they’ve been invited back.
Are you guilty of neglecting unsuccessful interviewees? Here’s why you really need to start opening up on the feedback front:
You’ll shoot yourself in the foot if you don’t
As a recruiter, your candidate network is everything. It’s the product you sell to your clients. If your candidates have a bad experience with you and feel you have left them in the dark, they won’t want to work with you again. Just because they weren’t right for this role, doesn’t mean they aren’t perfect for your next one, so it’s best to avoid burning bridges in your own backyard. If candidates feel frustrated and are left to wonder where they went wrong, why would they recommend you to their peers? They wouldn’t. Their colleague could be your next placement, but you won’t know because you’ll never be referred to them. The flow on effect of this is huge – if you don’t represent a diverse pool of the best candidates in the market, why would clients choose your business?
Your clients will take you more seriously
Speaking of clients, providing feedback to candidates following an interview forces you to ask more questions of hiring managers and HR partners. Your clients will learn that you are thorough and consultative, not just a robot firing CVs into black holes. Talking to clients about feedback will also give you an opportunity to ask how the whole recruitment process is coming along t00; whether there are many others in the running from other agencies, where they are struggling and whether there have been any vital changes made to the original brief you were given.
It goes without saying that you would let candidates know when they have been successful. Joy! Instead of just taking the good news and delivering it, asking your clients why they have been successful is important too. Your new star candidate might have areas that need improving before the next round of interviews.
You’re more likely to place with a client
Learning the ins and outs of how your candidate interviewed, where they went wrong and where they were impressive is extremely valuable information for you. The next time you have someone interview with that client, or for that specific role, you will have a wealth of advice to offer them. Finding out that your unsuccessful candidate’s ultimate undoing was failing to answer X properly will allow you to give your next candidate the ‘heads up’ before they go in. You’ll also learn what types of personalities and personal attributes a particular client prefers from their interviewees. You’ll learn about different interview styles and techniques, too. As a recruiter, you want to equip yourself with as many tools as possible to help your candidates get roles with your clients, and knowledge is power here!
You’ll sleep better at night
In recruitment, putting someone out of their misery is simply the right thing to do. It’s never fun to be the bearer of bad news, but you should find some comfort in the fact that it wasn’t you who rejected the candidate, you’re just the messenger (so don’t shoot). As long as you deliver the feedback in a very constructive way, you are benefiting that person by offering them ways to improve and points they can work on moving forward.
Frustrated candidates who are being kept in the dark also tend to chase you constantly by emailing and phoning you at your desk, and can end up turning into a game of hide and seek where you don’t want to take their call. Biting the bullet and letting them know they were unsuccessful will save you time in the long run. To you they may really just represent a deal that dropped off and killed your chance at making the high achievers’ trip. However to them, you represented their dream role, their livelihood and their whole career.
Candidates, may the feedback be with you.