How to Give Job Candidates Actionable Feedback

Cornerstone Editors

The hiring process is often a mystery from the candidate’s perspective. For many job seekers today, after crafting and sending a job application online, it becomes a waiting game. While most companies aren’t legally required to give candidates feedback on why they weren’t selected, leaving prospects high and dry can reflect poorly on a company's overall brand.

"Job searchers talk online and on social media. There are even websites, like Glassdoor, where candidates can publicly discuss a company’s hiring process," says human resources consultant Susan Healthcliff. "It’s vital that employers treat job applicants as humanely and professionally as possible."

As many human resources professionals know, providing feedback to non-hires can be both time-consuming and full of opportunities for misinterpretation. A 2013 study by the Talent Board, a nonprofit that seeks improve hiring practices, found that only 4.4 percent of 2,000 survey respondents received specific feedback from hiring managers after applying for a job. However, companies that do provide feedback to job candidates, such as software development company Nearsoft, stand out to applicants, who often encourage others to apply to the company, even if they aren't hired.

How to Create a Transparent Hiring Process

There are a number of ways that employers can make their hiring process transparent for job candidates. Job candidates spend a minimum of an hour applying for a job at a company, Heathcliff explains, and companies should communicate that the candidate’s time and effort is valued. Open and on-going communication is the first step — even if it's through automated messaging, any response is better than none.

Communication can begin well before a candidate even applies, though, by providing clear salary and qualification expectations in the job description. Heathcliff suggests telling candidates if the max salary for the role is $40,000, for example, or if it’s a deal-breaker if the candidate doesn’t have a specific skill set. Being clear about this in the job description will save hiring managers time and will prevent candidates from frustrated if they're not chosen.

Holding networking events is another way that employers can be transparent about their company culture, values and expectations. Potential candidates can attend and learn in-person whether the company would be right for them. Nearsoft goes as far as to hold feedback sessions for job candidates. "For the most promising candidates, we even have a program we call 'Office Hours' where we offer to mentor a candidate through their learning process," Matt Perez, co-founder of Nearsoft, tells TLNT. Perez explains that everyone involved in the hiring process benefits from this program. His employees get the opportunity to mentor and nurture job candidates, while the company benefits from the lowered cost in recruiting.

Photo: Can Stock

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