I was thinking over the weekend about someone who didn’t get the job they wanted. A job for which they genuinely thought they were the best candidate. Maybe they even felt entitled to the job because, right now, that someone doesn’t seem to be accepting of the outcome, or the feedback from the people in charge of the selection process.

If you’re a Recruiter, high-profile examples of the rejection of clear, honest feedback might make you feel it’s not worth the bother. But when we’ve focused our RPO services on improving candidate experience, not least by frankly and forensically examining candidate survey results and comments, a lack of detailed feedback on negative outcomes has come up over and over again. 

Candidates expect, and deserve, to be left with something of value. Not just a “no” but the opportunity for self-assessment to ensure that they are presenting themselves in the best possible light and are equipped to do better next time.

The article linked below highlights some of the things Talent Acquisition teams do instead of providing good feedback. While I don’t accept the premise that there was some sort of golden age of Recruiter communication and feedback that’s fallen by the wayside because people are just ruder these days, it's an instructive read. I’ve definitely seen a focus on speed/volume of work create a “will this do?” attitude to feedback, or a refusal to engage at all. That should not be accepted by those who rely on Recruiters to engage brilliant talent with their equally brilliant organisation.

Interestingly, one of the reasons the article provides for an absence of feedback in recruiting processes is “Third-Party Outsourcing.” I’ll debunk that one happily. As an RPO partner I’ve often been the one promoting the value of feedback, insisting on its inclusion in the Recruiter service, and highlighting the improved experiences it creates

We’ve all faced disappointments. Many job applications have a single digit chance of success. Managing what that experience feels like to candidates putting themselves out there against the odds should be as much of a priority for Recruiters as finding the best hire. That’s how you deliver reputational value, not just results, for your clients, partners, or business.

As unlikely business inspo Samuel Beckett put it:

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better.”

Don’t underestimate the value of helping people fail better. Feedback is important, is always worthwhile and will always have impact. Even on the candidates you really don’t like.