Growing a technical team is an exciting endeavor. It requires a balance of patience and an understanding of good interviewing practices. If you have experience interviewing and hiring engineers, we won’t sugar coat it. Technical interviewing is time-consuming, complex, and often unpredictable. When hiring internally or working with a recruiting agency, providing interview feedback is a vital catalyst in finding the right hire.
Building a concise methodology around how your team collects interview feedback is the first step in honing the interview process. Then, quantifying and distributing that feedback is just as important as collecting it. This guide will cover the impact providing interview feedback has on an employer’s brand, and ideas for generating meaningful feedback that saves time.
The rise of employer-rating platforms like Glassdoor has pushed companies to build engaging, efficient, and even enjoyable interview processes. Even if a candidate is not the right fit, consider providing interview feedback as the final step in the overall experience. Companies that ghost candidates are missing the mark on how this grows resentment. That animosity from never hearing back can backfire. Bad reviews from people who had a negative interview experience can influence others applying to your open jobs.
While most hiring managers are incredibly busy, failing to button-up feedback, especially for those not making it to a next-round interview, has lasting reverberations. According to responses from technical candidates, never hearing back is far worse than rejection with helpful, or at minimum, kind feedback. As it stands, only 41% of professionals received feedback after a rejection.
This huge gap is an opportunity to grow your ongoing candidate pool through good communication. By not burning any bridges, it also encourages candidates to apply for positions at your company again in the future. We all know it takes time to prepare for an interview. Showing that your company values the time and effort a candidate took to be involved in your process is just another touch-point for maintaining a healthy reputation.
Working with an agency to help grow your team maximizes efficiency. However, useful feedback is an essential part of this process that should take higher precedent. Especially today, it is safe to assume each candidate you are interviewing is most likely interviewing with at least two other companies. Providing quick feedback, even if not highly detailed, ensures a candidate stays engaged and interested. Nowadays, candidates are interviewing the company more so than the company is interviewing them.
If you think an individual could be a fit, provide that feedback to your recruiting partner right away. Think about it this way, so you’ve found an incredible candidate and the interview went well, and you intend to continue the process. If it takes more than a week to gather that feedback from five members of your team and aggregate it into a decision, that candidate is likely to have lost interest or accepted another offer already. Understanding the pace at which talented people are being hired affirms the importance of providing feedback as soon as possible.
Providing interview feedback is a two-way street when it comes to making the most of your recruiting partnership. On one hand, feedback needs to be sent to the candidate. It also helps our team zero in on who we are looking for when supporting our clients’ roles. For example, a broad response of “not a fit” is less valuable for tweaking our searches to find the right candidate. If a client were to express that the candidate was not a fit because they need someone with at least four years’ experience in a certain technology, this is useful feedback. Then, our managers can translate to their teams more specifically what that client is looking for.
Creating high quality, easy to understand feedback does not have to cause massive delays in the hiring process. Ensure those conducting interviews have a clear understanding of what they are looking for. Discuss specifically designed questions to ask the candidate. Cover all your bases in what those questions need to answer, from technical ability to alignment with company values. Coach your team to assess based on categories like “X software skill ability” or “eagerness for teamwork” to imagine how this person could get the job done.
In general, interviewers should reflect on an interview within a day of it happening. Delay much further, and those first impressions and details of someone’s performance are not as strong. Especially without onsite interviews where you can more easily remember someone’s face and expressions, writing down interview feedback sooner rather than later is key.
Once you have your interview teams and questions prepared, use rating systems to further distill what the ideal candidate will have. This is where the “what to write” comes in. Having a way to objectively quantify an interview from a feedback standpoint helps make sense of multiple perspectives. In order to better standardize interviewer feedback, interviews could rate a candidate’s response from 1 to 5, or use a qualitative scale from “exceeds expectations” to “lack higher level understanding.” Also leave room for reflections and comments outside of standardized answers, to build the most well-rounded perspective of a potential new hire.
Tech teams scrutinizing their process found that having a central location for feedback made a big difference. Comments and impressions of someone’s interview are easily lost in email chains. Instead, try creating a shared document. This way, you’re creating a centralized feedback package that can be shared with hiring managers, leadership teams, and recruiters.
While every interviewer should have access to this collaborative document eventually, customize its use according to your unique processes. If multiple people need to screen a candidate, find a way to prevent interviewers from reading other feedback until they have conducted that interview themselves. Being cautious about sharing feedback is crucial to avoiding bias. Premature conversations can muddy the waters of that candidate’s overall performance in the interview.
Ultimately, the best feedback answers the question, why? Why is this person a good fit or why are they not? Calibrating feedback is certainly easier when there is a standard format, but short answers cannot paint the whole picture. More often than not, a client’s needs surface through interview feedback. By bringing up another potential technical requirement, or certain characteristic that wasn’t identified initially, feedback enhances the entire process. Excellent feedback is specific, timely, and constructive. In turn, excellent feedback fuels better, faster results for finding your next hire, and helping candidates improve as professionals.
In conclusion, providing interview feedback, whether good or bad, goes back to the human experience. Rejection can be painful, but silence is even more discouraging. Companies that have explored what works in terms of technical interviews have found feedback ties everything together. As talent acquisition manager at Exchange Team, Laurie West explains, “candidates need to understand how they can improve. People’s own ideas about how they think they are perceived and how they actually are perceived in interviews can differ greatly, and it’s all about closing that gap.”
We are all looking for meaningful work and a great team. Amidst the tech tests, standardized feedback responses, and rating people based on their resumes, interviews should also find out what core values resonate with a candidate. What would make them enjoy working at our company? How do they deal with situations? In what ways have they exceeded in collaboration or creativity? Passing on honest impressions helps someone improve, even if they are not a technical fit when all is said and done. It also gives your company peace of mind there will not be any revenge posts on social media.
Phew! You don’t have to tell us twice, tech interviewing is a lot. However, creating interview questions, collecting feedback data, and making a shared document will bring time-saving structure into your interview process. This way, creating interview feedback to provide to external parties is built into the process of hiring.
Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.
If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!