Feedback - Critical in Construct and Execution
At Preve, we work very closely with all our candidates, and in many cases support them well beyond the basic transaction of getting them placed. We take their professional growth seriously, with the firm belief that it is a win-win in every way. As part of that, comes the task of giving them constructive feedback after every job interview. This has given us many important insights about the personality and growth mindset of different people, further allowing us to develop deep, trust based relationships with our candidates and clients. Below, we share some of our practices, experiences and observations.
In our experience, irrespective of seniority, most people get their hackles up if you start to chronicle feedback in a blatantly critical way. At the end of the day, people are just that - each with their own egos and feelings. If anything, with seniority comes the requirement of even more tact when it comes to giving feedback and constructive criticism. So is there any magic formula to giving feedback? You are sure to find books and articles in plenty about techniques, all of which are good and can be used to varying degrees. At the end of the day, it is all about intent. Your intent to support and help needs to be clear in your communication of the feedback.
Almost every effective recruiter will have their own unique way of working with their clients and candidates when it comes to collecting and dispensing feedback. Since the early days of my career, I have resorted to the good old “sandwich” feedback that most people fall back on even now. I have added dimensions to it with each passing year, but at its core, I find it intuitive in it’s effectiveness, and simple in execution. I always start giving feedback with everything that went well. Constructive feedback will always also reinforce strengths so that they get amplified. It also shows that you also made the effort to observe or enquire for those areas that are most effective. Once that is covered and the candidate is in a receptive mode, with a fair degree of trust, then the areas of improvement could be brought out. This is the most important part of the feedback process, where you can make a huge difference to the future prospects of the candidate. I always bring things to a close on a positive note, reiterating the aspects that are optimal and effective.
It is important to remember that in order to be constructive, feedback should always be actionable. True expertise will allow you to link your recommendations to training programs or suggestions that will allow the candidate to work on their improvement areas. This requires you to be well informed and updated about industry trends and best practices. There are times that we have to follow up rigorously with our clients to get feedback for the candidates that we represent, but the time and effort is always worth it. We also try to partner deeply with clients to understand nuances of company culture and team dynamics, to know if those factors come into play while assessing candidate fit and feedback.
At the end of the day, everyone is looking for professional and personal growth. By providing honest, constructive and actionable feedback, you become an agent for that growth. It also allows for a much deeper partnership at every level. You display to your candidates that you are truly invested in their development and show clients that you are serious about ensuring good candidate fitment by finding out exactly what is needed for the role. Everyone wins.