The official blog of Abacus Group — a place to share our knowledge and thoughts on trends in recruiting

November 14, 2017

Tick Tact Toe: Giving Feedback to Unsuccessful Candidates is no Game


Giving feedback to an unsuccessful candidate after an interview is not required however doing so is not only courteous but also in the best interests of your company’s branding. Candidate experience plays a large part in building and maintaining an employer brand. A common misconception is that candidate experience is only important for applicants who receive the offer. Rather, ensuring a good candidate experience for all applicants will have the most impact on the success of your company’s image.

Providing a good experience for candidates will benefit your firm in the long run. These pre-screened individuals with the desire to work for your company will have the means to work on their interviewing skills; making them more employable given their already evidenced skills and interest in your brand. Ultimately, you want everyone to have the best impression of your brand and this includes candidates, successful or otherwise.

Be Honest but with Tact

Give them honest feedback and keep it relevant to the professional sphere. Remember that it isn’t easy learning about being passed on for a job. Be tactful and make sure that feedback is constructive. You don’t want to come across condescending or that you know everything. That is why feedback should be relevant to the circumstances surrounding your encounter and the job, do not make assumptions. More likely than not the unsuccessful candidate is still incredibly employable, just wasn’t the right fit for your company.

Praise Where Possible

Feedback should not purely be critical. There must be positive things to say given they would have pre-qualified for the role after passing a resume review and phone screen. Again, keep praise honest but weave it between criticisms as to balance the delivery of the feedback.

Offer Guidance

Go the extra mile and say what was done well using specifics. Conversely, mention what could have been better with examples as to how to achieve that. If the guidance is taken onboard and a candidate had a positive experience, you are molding them to be have more success should they interview for you again in the future.

Keep it Concise

Feedback shouldn’t be lengthy as it loses impact. You don’t want to seem like you are nitpicking but rather being helpful. Identify key elements that with tweaking, are the most likely to lead to their future success.

Don’t Compare

Unsuccessful candidates know you chose another applicant. Don’t compare them to the person you chose but rather make it about the unsuccessful candidate. It’s better to mention that you wish they just had more experience than saying that you went with a candidate with more experience. This minor difference in semantics will be received much better by the candidate hearing the feedback.

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