*Kinetik Hiring | Insight on Demand | The importance of candidate feedback*
Updated: Feb 21
Improving candidate feedback is the most impactful thing an employer can do to improve their employer branding.
The double edged irony is that it costs the least to implement, though is the most costly if overlooked. My observation is that many companies that are mass hiring in Digital are not looking out for what they leave in their wake. This mass volume aspect to many of the Digital hiring initiatives we are seeing currently, is opening up a danger of undermining their relationship with what is already a finite community of talent.
Employers need to see their relationship with the available candidate community as a continuum. Having been in the Asia market for over 10 years, I have seen the many iterations it can take for an individual to land a role with their employer of choice and vice versa. Employers should aim to keep such avenues open and not leave a bad taste at any point, which may close this path. In the majority of cases, people’s prospects and suitability evolve over time and yesterday’s ‘rejection’ could very well become an ideal prospect at a future date.
Employers also need to think about employer branding and the viral nature of perception. In an age of Linkedin and Glassdoor, word travels fast about bad candidate experience, which can easily be defined as no feedback from an application and, worse still, following an interview. Let’s state the obvious here; if a candidate takes the time to give up a chunk of their schedule to interview for a role, sometimes multiple times, with multiple stakeholders, at the very least, if they are not to be taken forward, they need to be informed in a timely fashion, in the right way and better still with a clear explanation if the situation has changed, or with some detailed, constructive feedback.
It’s pertinent to point out how constructively candidates respond to good quality updates and feedback, even if it’s not a positive outcome and how effective this can be in terms of maintaining cordial relations between employers and potential future employees. Ultimately, high caliber, niche staff are typically on a journey where they are both proud and hungry for self development. The pride element leads to a need to be shown respect for what they have achieved and the self development point means constructive feedback is generally well received if positioned correctly. This means a failure to do either is a double whammy in terms of, understandably dented pride and lost opportunity for self development. Conversely, companies that do invest in best practice in this area end up building bridges with the candidate community, which then becomes a narrative and perception that is shared with other professionals and, as such, a positive employer brand is formed. It then becomes that much easier to attract staff at the level needed without reservations based on company ethics or general respect and courtesy levels for candidates going through their selection process.
Overall, this is an area companies need to plan for as part of a ‘candidate journey’ approach they commit to in their selection process. The easiest thing to overlook needs to be put front and centre. The notion of ‘out of sight, out of mind' needs turning on its head and replaced with an acute consciousness as to the viral nature of employer perceptions within distinct candidates communities. Feedback post submission needs to be normalized with an appropriate communication framework in place, highlighting whether it’s a ‘yes’, a 'no’ with the reasons why, or perhaps a ‘not for now, but in future', based on consent to retain candidate details.
More pressing is the post interview feedback cycle and, for reasons outlined, this needs to take full consideration around the time invested from the candidate side in the interview process. A professional, detailed and constructive feedback framework needs to be forthcoming, again detailing the reasons for moving to the next level, or otherwise. If it’s a ‘no’, then the reasons need highlighting in a comprehensive format; this approach can help shift what may be a disappointing outcome to a constructive experience with development areas for the candidate to work on and make personal progress with. The gaps highlighted need to be tangible and refer to areas the candidate can actually seek to address and fix through continual learning, as distinct from anything that may constitute a personal swipe. If it’s a ‘not now, but in future’, a timeline is needed to manage expectations in an appropriate way, again with consent given to retain details,
This is not wishful thinking as we do see a proportion of companies follow suit and it comes as no surprise these are the employers that experience the best retention and ‘offer to acceptance’ conversion rates. Too many employers are at a loss as to why they are not able to attract and retain the talent they need and, whilst the candidate sources in Malaysia are under strain to keep up with demand, the answers can all too often be traced back to failings in the basics of employer brand building. It should come as additional comfort that good practice in this area costs nothing, and it really only needs planning for and engaging the business around a formula for success in this area; the return on investment is potentially exponential.