According to the Talent Trends Report, 94% of candidates want to receive feedback after an interview. But, giving feedback is not always easy. Providing useful and honest feedback without offending someone is an art that every recruiter needs to master. Whether you are trying to improve the candidate experience for those you reject or nudge your hiring manager in the right direction, giving feedback that is useful and well-received can be a huge asset to your career.
With that in mind, here are 5 tips for giving effective feedback.
1. Focus on the situation, not the person
Describe the issue as an isolated, external event—something that can be fixed—instead of something essential to their character. Candidates often put their heart and soul into their career aspirations, so it is easy for a well-intentioned critique to be misinterpreted as a personal attack. Instead of telling a candidate, “Your experience is all over the place” you can tell them that you are looking for someone who has shown sustained excellence and that they would be a stronger fit in a couple of years.
2. Position the feedback in terms of results and consequences
Hiring managers are results-oriented. They care about the end game: efficiently getting the best candidate. A great way to get them to listen to and appreciate your feedback is to frame it in terms of the results they will see.
3. Be specific about the feedback
Not giving specific feedback can leave others feeling confused and peeved. The goal is to change someone’s behavior, so they have to know precisely what it is you want them to improve. Providing them with specific, actionable ideas helps the other person understand what they did poorly and how they can improve.
4. Use a “compliment sandwich” to deliver negative feedback
One of the most popular tools for giving constructive criticism is to frame it positively. Start by highlighting the person’s strengths, what you like, and what they do well. Then, provide the criticism, framing it as a way to improve. At the end, round out your feedback by going back to another point of praise.
5. Make sure your criticism aligns with the company’s values
Sometimes we have our personal preferences about how someone should conduct themselves or act, but if these aren’t necessarily relevant to the goals of the company, they may not be worth pointing out. Seek out other perspectives and make sure that you’re not just projecting your personal preferences onto someone else.
Learning how to give constructive criticism isn’t just beneficial to you as a recruiter: it’s a helpful skill in your day-to-day life and personal relationships. Feedback is meant to make a difference—make sure you’re making the right kind of impact.