Closure for candidates: The smallest but most important token.

What do you all think about candidate feedback?  Do recruiters and hiring managers have an obligation to provide feedback to candidates who didn’t get the job? Or is it the candidates’ responsibility to glean their own conclusions about what went wrong, based on the fact that they didn’t get the job?

Maybe it’s a little of both.  A hiring manager shouldn’t necessarily play the role of career counselor to every single candidate by providing a detailed assessment of why they were passed over.  But in some cases, it really pays to provide feedback.

Particularly in the case of good candidates.  Good candidates may not have been right for a particular position, but you may need their talent and skills later down the road.  If you’ve developed a good relationship with that candidate, you don’t close any doors.  And vice versa, candidates.

Good candidates often have valuable networks of talent.  Maybe they weren’t the right fit, but they can send great talent your way, if you’ve taken care to maintain a relationship with them.

One more argument for providing feedback for a positive candidate experience is social media.  Candidates have tools at their fingertips for sharing their experience with a particular company, good or bad, with thousands of people.  In that sense, companies can’t afford not to provide a positive candidate experience.

What does a positive candidate experience require, on part of the hiring manager?

How much feedback you want to provide candidates during the recruiting process depends on your company, your priorities, your resources (like manpower, time, and technology), and your values (like transparency and integrity – it isn’t easy to face a candidate you must reject).

Of the many ways to go about feedback, one suggestion we heard was using a company blog to announce new employees and describe why those individuals were chosen for the position.  Candidates who weren’t chosen have the opportunity to read the post and understand what skills or qualities they might need to further develop to meet the criteria for a similar position.

Each company’s recruitment process is different.  However, we can’t find an excuse for never informing interviewed candidates that the position has been filled.  The minimum gesture you owe a candidate who didn’t get the job is closure.

About TRC Staffing Services, Inc.

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