Getting Your Candidate Feedback

21 Mar 2019

One of the most frustrating interview experiences I had when I was a developer was not knowing how my interview went. I went on-site for a development role and thought I did well. But it was radio silence after the on-site. I just assumed I didn’t get the job… it happens!

But it was based on my assumption not on actual feedback.

For the most part, most interviews processes are very similar:

  • You do a preliminary call
  • You get moved to a few rounds of phone interviews
  • You get an onsite

That’s a fairly sizable investment of your time. If you include coding assessments (or other technical work), then add another 2–4 hours. And if you are genuinely interested in the role, then you might even be suspending other career opportunities as you get further with the one you really want. If you end up getting the role, that’s great. If not? More wasted time.

For those working with a 3rd party recruiter: for the most part, they have sales quotas and pressures to deal with. They are running really hard in every direction to try to get roles closed. Sure. We all get that. Everyone is trying to make a living. But what the typical 3rd party recruiter fails to value is the time that has gone into the process and relationship. They might be chasing the next opportunity, but what about their current candidate? They have invested time and effort to get a candidate through a process to a certain stage. If they don’t feel like a close might be coming, they definitely will become less interested in seeing the value in the relationship. And that’s where short-term thinking hits home in the agency space.

Say you have developer candidate: Jane Doe. She’s already done an onsite. She thinks it went well, so she wants to know what the company thought. But her recruiter, who is meant to be her point of contact and middle ground between herself and the company, hasn’t spoken to her in a few weeks. The same recruiter likely knows that Jane didn’t get the job, and is now chasing after the next candidate to meet his/her sales quota. Jane doesn’t hear back from her recruiter, or the company, again. 

The solution here is a simple one. Jane just wants to know what’s going on. So if she didn’t get the job, the recruiter could at least notify her of that! It’s a lose-lose situation when communication between recruiters and candidates goes astray. What does Jane think of her recruiter now? Not much, most likely. There’s a very good chance Jane would leave an unfavorable review of her recruiter on Google, Glassdoor, Yelp… all the sites capable of driving new traffic to the recruiting agency. 

Now let’s fast forward to a year after this incident. The same recruiter secures a similar developer role with another client. The recruiter starts calling around, starting with candidates he/she has spoken to within the last year, year and a half. That means Jane would get a call. But Jane hasn’t forgotten the lack of communication from that recruiter the last time around. The feedback loop was abandoned. Why should Jane be interested in working with that same recruiter again? 

There really is a simple solution. If the recruiter had just done his/her job last time, Jane might be more willing to work with them again. Candidates tend not to blame their recruiters for not getting the job. They understand that their recruiters have no say in their clients’ final hiring decisions. But Jane is going to blame her recruiter for poor (or a lack of) communication. 

Recruiters: it’s not hard to give your candidates feedback. It’s part of the job.

Just close the loop. A quick call, email, even a text. Similarly, if you don’t have hard feedback yet, everyone likes to know that they are still on the radar. It turns that lose-lose situation into a quick win for both candidate and recruiter, keeps the line of communication open and ultimately, means that that candidate is more likely to entertain that recruiter if they come calling again in the future. Everyone benefits when candidates get feedback. 

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