Based on our primary research at Alooba for our structured interview product Alooba Interview, most companies would - at least superficially - like to provide prompt & useful interview feedback to candidates.
However, the vast majority of candidates do not receive interview feedback. Our recent LinkedIn post revealed that 43% of candidates almost never received interview feedback and only 17% almost always received feedback.
With more and more companies signing up for great things like the Circle Back Initiative which involves them agreeing to provide timely feedback to candidates, it’s clear that there’s a disconnect here between what companies are saying they’re doing, and what they’re actually doing.
So while there seems to be some good intent, or at least lip service, there’s a lack of follow through in actually delivering the timely and useful post-interview feedback.
So, we know feedback is rare, but more importantly perhaps, is why exactly don’t companies provide feedback? Our recent research delved into the reasons why, and it tends to come down to 7 factors.
Check them out below, and some actionable takeaways on how to solve them.
The responsibility for delivering interview feedback falls between different people. For example, talent acquisition, hiring manager and the interviewers. If something is multiple peoples' responsibility, it's nobody's responsibility.
Suggestion: Make it crystal clear before hiring who is going to be responsible for delivering, how, what and when. Is the hiring manager with a quick phone the day of the interview for an open discussion? Or is it going to be a generic talent acquisition email once the whole process concludes (no great, but better than nothing). Committing this to the candidate up front might be a clever way to force yourself into the healthy habit of providing the feedback.
Let’s be realistic, nobody wants to give negative feedback, and I’m sure it will feel like - as the messenger - you’re about to be shot by an emotional candidate. So it’s easy to see how it always falls down the priority list of the day, and then eventually is never done.
Suggestion: You’re just going to have suck this up and do it, as putting it off only makes it worse. Consider ‘eating the frog’ and doing this first up in the morning if you know you’re procrastinating. Another option is to provide the feedback asynchronously in an email or via a video. This is perhaps less personable, but is also less intimidating for both parties. Better to have the feedback delivered imperfectly, than not at all.
There's no useful feedback to provide because the data collection is just not there. Any interview notes are scattered around email threads and word docs.
Suggestion: Longer term, sort out your hiring tech stack, and adopt skills-based hiring where measuring things properly is by design, not an afterthought. In the meantime, a well-organised Google Sheet can be a great first start as it’s collaborative and easily shareable with the candidate, and anyone can use it easily. Try taking notes in the interview when it’s fresh in your mind.
They're swamped in back-to-backs and, honestly, can't even remember the first interview of the day. Being ‘too busy’ is a BS excuse that anyone can use for anything, but in talent acquisition it’s often the case that the role has an unrealistic workload.
Suggestion: Put aside a slot in your calendar to do a batch of the feedback sessions. This will make it both more efficient and help to ensure that you always have time for them. If you’re generally struggling with time management like this, we suggest reading Paul Graham’s excellent piece called Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule.
They're procrastinating waiting for a better candidate, but want to keep the others 'warm', which in this case means no feedback.
Suggestion: Deal with each candidate as they go, and don’t batch anyone or ‘keep them warm’. The best candidates aren’t going to put up with this anyway, and will have other opportunities that you will lose them too.
In some jurisdictions, like the United States, there's sometimes a fear of being sued depending on the feedback. So these organisations figure it’s best to say nothing at all.
Suggestion: This is where having a measurable, objective skills-based hiring approach wins again. If you’re actually hiring ethically, ensuring the best person for the role - objectively speaking - gets hired, then you should have nothing to fear.
So, there’s 6 reasons why ghosting happens - are any of these present in your organisation? Time to overcome - let’s all say no to ghosting. We can do better!
I wouldn't dream of hiring somebody in a technical role without doing that technical assessment because the number of times where I've had candidates either on paper on the CV, say, I'm a SQL expert or in an interview, saying, I'm brilliant at Excel, I'm brilliant at this. And you actually put them in front of a computer, say, do this task. And some people really struggle. So you have to have that technical assessment.
Mike Yates, The British Psychological Society (Head of Data & Analytics)