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It’s awkward to give and hard to hear, we get it. But negative interview feedback could help candidates achieve their dream career and boost a company’s reputation. In fact, any feedback at all is beneficial to both sides.

So why don’t we do it in the UK?

Here’s why both positive and negative feedback is so important for employers and candidates. Plus, our tips on how to get it and how to give it.

Why Don’t Employers Give Interview Feedback?

According to one recruitment study, four out of five candidates surveyed had never received interview feedback. This is despite another recent survey showing that 53% of UK candidates want feedback, even if it’s negative.

So what’s holding UK employers back?

Too Time-Consuming

The first reason cited by most employers is time. When you’re already in the middle of a busy recruitment process, taking the additional time to write, format, and send feedback can seem inefficient – especially if you feel like it only benefits the candidate.

Too Risky

Lots of employers also say they’re worried that negative feedback could land them in hot water when it comes to discrimination law. Many find it easier not to give feedback at all than to take the risk and end up getting in trouble.

Too Uncomfortable

Lastly, giving negative interview feedback is just plain uncomfortable! It’s never nice to give someone criticism, especially along with the bad news that they didn’t get the job. Managers and HR alike say they avoid feedback because it’s just too awkward.

Fortunately, we believe all of these concerns are wrong!

Employers: Why You Should Give Interview Feedback (And How to Do It)

As an employer, you don’t legally have to give your candidates feedback but here’s why you absolutely should:

It Boosts Your Reputation

Companies live and die on their reputations. The problem is, too many employers forget that a candidate is still a voice in your industry – no matter how junior.

Candidates want feedback and, if they don’t get it, they could take their grievances online or to other potential employees (or customers). Giving considered, constructive feedback breeds a positive relationship – even if that candidate wasn’t right for the job. It’ll boost your reputation in your industry and show you’re a fair-minded and compassionate workplace.

It Maintains Your Talent Pool

Sometimes a candidate might not be right for the job but perfect for a role further down the line. Keeping a good relationship with all your applicants guarantees you maintain a good talent pool to choose from later.

Candidates who feel they’ve been treated fairly during a recruitment process are also more likely to recommend you to their friends and colleagues – so you spread your net even wider.

It Decreases Discrimination

Employers worry that negative feedback could be seen as discriminatory. The truth is the complete opposite. Giving constructive feedback is actually the best way to root discrimination out of your recruitment process.

As long as you have clear requirements for a new hire, you should be able to demonstrate exactly why an applicant was unsuccessful. Your feedback should be based on the candidate’s skills and knowledge and never on any of the protected characteristics listed in the 2010 Equality Act.

Giving feedback in this way ensures that your process isn’t discriminatory – and that you can prove this if questioned.

Check out our full guide to getting rid of discrimination in recruitment for more tips.

It Doesn’t Have to Take Long

We understand that feedback feels like a time-consuming process but it doesn’t need to be. On the contrary, a few actionable bullet points are much more useful for a candidate than an essay about their flaws.

One good time-saver is to take clear and brief notes during the interview itself. Then all you need to do is pop them over in an email afterward – no long, awkward phone calls necessary.

It Might Be Necessary for GDPR

Remember though, if you do take and store notes about an interview, a candidate could be entitled to see them under GDPR rules.

Your safest bet is to always supply feedback to make sure you’re not in breach of the regulations.

Candidates: How to Get Interview Feedback (And Why You Should)

Negative feedback is hard to digest but it could make all the difference when it comes to securing your next role. So how do you get it and why should you care?

Just Ask!

The long and short of getting interview feedback is that you just need to ask. Most employers don’t offer feedback as standard and some might assume candidates don’t want it at all. The only way you can change the process is by asking.

Try not to be too combative in your request. If you’ve been unsuccessful, the employer already feels awkward – especially if their feedback is negative. Instead of a challenging, “Why didn’t you hire me?” try asking if there was anything you could improve on or any areas in which you could expand your knowledge or training.

Check In With Your Recruiter

If you’re working with a recruiter, it can be easier to ask them to contact an employer for you. We can filter poorly worded or unhelpful feedback to make sure you hear only what you need to improve.

If you get feedback from an employer directly, it’s still a good idea to talk it through with your recruiter. We can help you improve your CV, prep for meetings, and brush up on any interview skills you might be lacking.

Want to know how else we can help you secure your next job? Get in touch today.