Receiving feedback and giving feedback are extremely important steps in the hiring process. How and when we deliver feedback can sway a hiring decision and cause a search to speed up or slow down. Timely feedback is needed to keep the process moving. Here are some key details regarding feedback from the vantage points of the candidate, the hiring manager, and the recruiter.
Scenario – The On Site Interview
The candidate interviews at a client’s health system and he/she spends the day, meeting and interacting with a group of 10-12 people. He/She will be evaluated for a specific IT leadership position.
Candidate – “Gut feelings”
Either right after the interview or by the next day, the candidate needs to call or send a detailed e-mail message to me (the recruiter) describing his/her day. I need to know how he/she were treated. Did the candidate get bio-breaks? Was the candidate left alone in a windowless room for an hour with no water? Did he/she notice any red flags during the day? Was the candidate treated like a guest? What were the candidate’s “gut” feelings about the people, culture, position and department?
The candidate must be open and honest about their day and be aware of positive signs. Did the client talk overtime with them? Did they meet others not on the agenda? Were there references to future meetings? Was there a discussion about salary? Of course, things might not have gone well and I need to know that too. Were discussions cut short? Did some interviews not happen?
Hiring Manager – Timing is key
After the interview, the hiring manager may have evaluation surveys to review and internal discussions to conduct before feedback can be given. There might be a search committee that has to meet and compile their evaluations and feedback. If the hiring manager is the prime decision maker, I can usually receive faster feedback after a candidate interview. Unfortunately, timing of feedback can be delayed for a variety of reasons.
Last year, two of my candidates interviewed at the same client on the same day, but the hiring manager went on a two week trip to Europe immediately after the interviews, and could not give me any feedback. A delay of two weeks is critical if candidates are actively interviewing and may be lost to other suitors.
Feedback received from the hiring manager will determine moving forward with a candidate or eliminating them. Reasons can vary but honest and constructive feedback – positive or negative – about a candidate is appreciated. My experience shows hiring managers value interpersonal skills and a match with the culture, as much if not more than meeting the qualifications on the position description.
Recruiter – Connecting the dots
As the recruiter, I am responsible for gathering feedback from the candidate and the hiring manager during the interview process. There is a “flow” of information that moves back and forth to keep everyone informed. The hiring manager or search committee will give details of why the candidate is a fit or not. The candidate will let me know their interest to move forward or, for whatever reason, why they want out. I connect all the parties through my communication. There needs to be honest, constructive communications on a timely basis since an important hiring decision needs to be made.
There is an art to delivering constructive feedback to a candidate, and I am still learning, but the “The Golden Rule” applies here. I’ve learned that conveying honest feedback in a positive way can help a person move on and also foster good relations for future encounters.