In Giving Feedback, You’re Doing Your Recruiter – and the Candidate – a Favour


The other day I stumbled on the blog of an IT specialist in the UK that got my attention. Phil Bennett is a job-seeker with an all-too common gripe.

He writes that after being sent out on interviews, his recruiter failed to return his calls or emails to let him know how he’d fared. Phil adds, “Perhaps the company left valuable feedback for me that I’m not receiving and could further my chances next time.”

I sympathize with Phil. Firstly, it’s unprofessional for recruiters to not communicate with candidates post-interview. And just as importantly, it’s unkind to leave someone on pins and needles, waiting and worrying by the phone.

At The Bagg Group, debriefing isn’t an option, it’s essential. What’s more, we need to know the impression of the candidate, and the client, to ensure a good fit for both.

But job-seekers like Phil might be shocked, and disappointed, to learn that it’s not uncommon for hiring authorities to neglect to give recruiters feedback on interviewees.

And that’s a missed opportunity, not only for candidates but also for companies. Every bit of feedback from a client helps us refine our search.

I can’t emphasize enough how honesty truly is the best policy. In speaking with your recruiter, you have the freedom to be blunt about your impression of a candidate without worrying about impact. It’s our job to ensure we pass on useful notes to job-seekers in a constructive, respectful way.

To get the best staffing solution, information that is extremely helpful to know includes:

  • What did you like about this candidate?
  • Did the person have the right skill set for you?
  • Did you feel they had the right personality for the job?
  • Did you feel they had the right attitude to fit in with your team?
  • What didn’t work for you? 
  • What mannerisms irked you about this candidate?

I remember that in 2006 when Starbucks was in a hiring frenzy, the New York Times ran an article on the company’s “candidate bill of rights.” As a show of respect for applicants, hiring managers were encouraged to respond quickly to candidates with personalized notes or phone calls rather than form letters. Plus, as a gesture of goodwill, all interviewees were to receive Starbucks gift cards, in nominal amounts, regardless of whether they were hired.

I was impressed that Starbucks recognized that today’s candidate is tomorrow’s customer. That holds true for all of us, recruiters and clients alike. And is there any better way to respect the customer than by giving them information that can help them succeed?

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