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How to give feedback to unsuccessful candidates.

  1. Monitor and respond to reviews on sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, Google and Facebook.
  2. Weigh the alternatives of giving unsuccessful candidates feedback carefully.
  3. Decide your limits for feedback including what to say and the language you’ll use.
  4. Create a script (with this formula) to respond to online complaints.
  5. Avoid personal feedback; all feedback should be focused on the candidate professionally.
  6. Have resources ready to give to unsuccessful candidates.

Let’s break this down. Recruiting has branched out into social media for some time now and with that change, we have needed more and more advice from those who have legal experience. Mainly, so we don’t screw things up. Add review sites like Glassdoor and Indeed to this mix and you have a real recipe for disaster if not handled correctly. Here are some things to keep in mind:

It’s HARD to get reviews taken down so stay ahead of this.

Most larger companies are ensuring they get reviews inside the employee lifecycle. Different employers use avenues to make sure they are staying on top of their review game: Communicating with hiring managers about recruitment goals, asking employees regularly to contribute, responding to negative and positive reviews alike with proactive steps and purchasing premium services from the aforementioned companies. A bad employer review looks terrible if it’s the only one you have, it looks even worse if it’s from six months ago, it looks awful if there’s still no response. People are constantly asking us how to get these taken down. Answer: Unless it’s true defamation, you can’t. One exception, according to Teresa M. Thompson of Frederikson & Byron, if the reviewer uses language that connotes a medical condition like bipolar, schizo, crazy, depression, insane, you may have a case to have it removed.

Not selected candidates want feedback, they NEED feedback but should we give them feedback?

In general, every applicant does not need to get feedback. If they misspelled things on their cover letter, faked dates on their resume or was late to the initial phone screen, I don’t think it’s necessary to make sure you give them feedback. If they are farther along in the process, you should give them feedback. Beware your own language when doing so.

Set limits for feedback.

When a candidate asks for feedback about why they weren’t selected, vague phrases like “not a cultural fit” can get you in legal hot water, especially if your culture is relatively homogenous (age, race, gender, etc.)

The best way to respond to a negative review online is a pretty simple formula.

First, apologize they had a bad experience (yes, even if they’re mean). Second, take note of their feedback and consider if there’s any merit to the critique. Third, tell them what you plan to do to fix it or how the interaction was supposed to go. If necessary, do this in private. If you have spoken to the department or person implied in the bad review and devised a plan, make sure they know what you plan to do in the future regarding this issue.

Don’t give hyper-personal feedback.

Body odor, clothing, or their choice of words (unless it’s profanity or hate speech) is not something you need to share. However, being late to an interview, not being able to pass the assessment or giving one-word answers to interview questions are all thing you can help someone improve upon.

Offer resources to help them where they need it most.

The great thing about the internet is that there are thousands of articles for job seekers to help improve their skills at resume writing, interviewing, navigating the job seeking process, making a great first impression and selling themselves. No matter what you think their issue is, you can find a way to break it gently via a helpful resource.

Reviews and feedback are two crucial parts of those who go through your interview process or work at your company. Candidates need this feedback so they can find the job that’s truly right for them; they also need a holistic picture of your company to make an accurate decision, so you have to make sure your reviews are honest and complete. Reviews are also a great way to determine where your recruiters, hiring managers and employees may be turning candidates off and gives you the opportunity to trailblaze a solution.