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How do I give feedback to an interview candidate?

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Do you struggle with how to give feedback to an interview candidate?

Interview feedback is valuable and if you’re a good leader, you’ll want to help the candidate get better at their interviewing skills.  But let’s be honest, giving feedback is one of the hardest and most uncomfortable parts of being a leader.  

The following tips should help you better prepare for any type of feedback conversations.  And remember … stick to the facts.  This takes out a lot of the emotion.

  1. Be transparent.
    • Tell them what you saw, heard, and what you wanted to see and hear more of during the interview.  For example, it’s common that candidates will not provide depth to their answers.
  2. Give examples on how to do it better.
    • Since you’ve already provided examples of what didn’t impress you, tell them how they could have answered the question differently.
  3. Be kind.
    • Candidates are already disappointed and the best way to help them is to genuinely care about helping them learn from the experience.
    • Don’t be harsh with statements like “I can’t believe you said X.”
    • If they did say something that wasn’t professional or appropriate, you can respectfully tell them that and express how saying X gave the particular impression, and you recommend they refrain from such comments in the future.

When I have taken this approach, candidates who sincerely want to learn and do better have come back to me later sharing how much they appreciated my honesty and transparency.  They took my advice and were better prepared for the next interview.