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How to give great interview feedback

How to give great interview feedback

Recruitment can be a complex process, but there’s one haunting issue that you should exorcise from your approach – candidate ‘ghosting’. For talent acquisition and hiring managers within the games industry, giving feedback after an interview is not just a courteous gesture; it’s essential for creating a respectful and professional hiring experience.

Unfortunately, ghosts still haunt some recruitment processes and leave candidates alone in the dark. All too often we hear from disheartened job-seekers that they haven’t received feedback from previous applications (or in some cases haven’t heard back after interviewing!), and therefore don’t know what went ‘wrong‘. So, let’s shed light on why it’s essential to both parties that job seekers get valuable feedback from their interviews.

Why Candidates Benefit From Feedback

Self-Improvement: Interview feedback provide valuable insight to the candidate on their performance. Understanding where their strengths and weaknesses lie enables them to know where to focus on developing.

Closure: When candidates don’t get feedback as to why they got rejected, they’re left wondering why they didnt make the cut. Feedback gives them the clarity they need to move forward and onto the next opportunity with more confidence.

Resilience: When delivered constructively feedback can motivate candidates to keep striving for their goals. Highlighting areas for improvement without discouraging them encourages resilience, which is crucial in a competitive job market.

Potential Consequences of Not Providing Feedback

Professional Reputation: This is a small industry and reputation as an employer is important in attracting the best talent. Ghosting candidates doesn’t reflect well on a company’s values or culture.

Candidate Experience: Negative experiences can lead to disgruntled candidates sharing their ordeal online, possibly discouraging other candidates from applying to your roles. In contrast, providing feedback, even when rejecting a candidate, demonstrates your respect for their effort and time.

Missed Opportunities: A candidate you reject today could be the ideal match for a future role. Providing constructive feedback keeps the door open for potential future opportunities and leaves the candidate with more appreciation and respect for the company.

Rejection with Kindness and Empathy

It costs nothing to be kind when giving feedback to a rejected candidate. Constructive feedback should always aim at helping the candidate improve and understand your decision rather than question their ability overall. While getting ghosted is a surefire way to make someone feel insignificant, getting feedback wrong can be equally damaging.

Many people avoid giving interview feedback because its hard or uncomfortable. Perhaps they’re worried they will get it wrong, and perhaps they don’t feel like they have the time to worry about it. But feedback is a responsibility that you take on with your role as the interviewer.

“There’s probably an element of letting someone down and having that guilt of rejecting someone they may have even liked but decided to go with someone else. There’s also a lack of educating hiring manager the importance of providing feedback and a good candidate experience.”

Jon Norfolk – Lead Recruitment Consultant, One Player Mission

So how do you do it and where do you start?

How to Provide Valuable Interview Feedback When Rejecting a Candidate
Man sits at laptop drinking tea while reading. Three speech bubbles coming from the laptop, a positive thumbs up, and negative thumbs down and arrows signifying improvement and feedback.
Be respectful of the candidates time

If they weren’t selected to move to the next stage, respect their time and notify them promptly. Remember candidates put a lot of time and effort preparing themselves for interviews and are often anxious when waiting to hear back.

Be Specific and Constructive.

Offer specific points about their interview performance, where they excelled and areas that need development. For example:

‘Another applicant has a better-matched skill-set for this role.’
Your experience with X really impressed me and your growth mindset will take you far in your career. Unfortunately for this particular role we need someone with more experience in [skill].

‘You didn’t complete the task to our standard.’
Parts X and Y were completed to a great standard, unfortunately that attention to detail was not maintained throughout the process, including this mistake in part Z. Attention to detail is critical for this role. In future when completing these tasks be careful to keep a closer eye on those finer details.

Discuss the skills and qualifications that led to your decision.

Encourage candidates to build on these strengths and provide resources or suggestions for improving in areas where they fell short.

‘You need to improve your communication skills.’
Your experience with X is excellent but your communication skills could do with some refinement. During the interview, you struggled to articulate your thoughts clearly, which is crucial for this role. You have a lot of potential, so I would recommend you consider practicing your communication by presenting your ideas to peers and seeking feedback for improvement.

Remember that feedback is about their skills and fit for the role, not their worth.

End on a positive note

Encourage candidates to continue their job search and apply for future openings in your organisation. Let them know that while this particular opportunity didn’t work out, you value their interest and potential. And remember to provide an opportunity for questions. Allowing candidates to ask questions can help them better understand your decision and may even open the door to a future dialogue.

Leverage your resources

Of course, if you are working with experienced recruitment agencies like One Player Mission, and it happens to be one of their candidates that havent quite hit the mark, you can utilise that relationship. If you can’t quite put your finger on the right words to use, or just a bit unsure of how to go about it, just talk to your agency contact about it!

“As a Recruiter I make it my business to get some feedback as to why, wherever possible.”

Jon Norfolk – Lead Recruitment Consultant, One Player Mission

We are all looking for same outcome, and understanding why a candidate was declined doesnt only protect your reputation and provide a better experience for candidate. It also helps your recruitment agent understand who it is you are looking for.

Let’s make a pact to banish the ghosts from our recruitment processes. Timely, respectful, and constructive feedback can transform a negative experience into a positive one for both candidates and your organisation. In game recruitment, you don’t want to be the one haunted by the ghosts of candidates past.


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