In our recent research, we discovered that over 70% candidates expect detailed feedback without having to ask for it after an interview.

In fact, consistent candidate feedback (or lack of it) was a real bugbear for our respondents.

Why is this still the case? Is it time? Not having the right technology?

Let’s explore.

Manage expectations

This is essential. From the first moment a candidate reads your job description, be clear on your timescales for feedback.

If you have a lengthy recruitment process, explain that upfront – and where possible, explain why. Candidates are more likely to stick with you if they understand the reasons behind a long hiring journey.

The same applies for feedback. If you can’t provide an acknowledgement of their CV or application, or are unable to provide interview feedback unless it is specifically requested, be transparent about this. But be human, too. The phrase ‘due to the high volume of applicants, we cannot respond…’  is so overused and clinical.

Consider the emotional journey a candidate takes when they apply for a role with you, and the time and effort they put into their application. Match this with human language (if it is in line with your employer brand).

If there are barriers to you providing consistent feedback, explain that to candidates in an authentic and considerate way. Acknowledge the energy and time candidates invest in the job search. A little bit of humour doesn’t hurt, either, if appropriate!


The right technology

If you’re using a reputable Applicant Tracking System or recruitment CRM, you should have the ability to send automatic emails to candidates throughout their journey with you.

At the very least, you would expect to be able to trigger an application acknowledgement email when candidates first apply, to avoid the so-called ‘black hole’ of recruitment.

If your ATS cannot do this, it could be that it is not configured correctly, and you need some more support from your supplier. With the right tech, you should be able to trigger personalised, branded emails at certain points. You should also be able to adapt these communications to suit different roles and application processes.

Automating your communications with an Applicant Tracking System can save vital time and resource. It also ensures your candidates have consistent touchpoints with your brand throughout their recruitment experience.



Create feedback templates

Whether you record your interview feedback straight into your Applicant Tracking System, or you’re a pen and paper fan, consistent candidate feedback is a must.

This is particularly valuable if you’re interviewing as part of a panel and need to compare notes afterwards.

If you have an ATS, you should be able to record all interview feedback within the system. This ensures that all comments are secure and consistently formatted. It also means you interview panels can share feedback simply and quickly with one another, and all comments are stored against each candidate’s record.

You can also configure notifications to remind Hiring Managers, or other stakeholders, to submit their feedback by a certain date after the interview. Reminders can be set to provide candidates themselves with feedback.

If you’re responsible for collating all feedback, a template (whether in the ATS, as an interactive PDF or even a printed Word document) means you can quickly and easily review everyone’s comments in the same format.


Empower Hiring Managers

It is not always easy to secure Hiring Manager feedback in a timely manner. With busy to-do lists of their own, recruitment actions can slip.

So, how can you avoid hold-ups and obtain the feedback you need for your candidates?

If you have capacity, run an interview feedback session for Hiring Managers, so they can understand more about the recruitment journey and their role within it. Be clear on where their input is required and why it is so valuable.

You could also produce guides on how to best record and share candidate feedback (also taking into account data protection practices and secure data sharing amongst teams). Manage expectations around how quickly you require their feedback and how you will share it with candidates.

With an ATS, reminders can be sent to complete tasks, such as providing interview feedback, by a certain date. Hireserve ATS also has its own Hiring Manager portal, designed to be as simple and intuitive as possible. Managers can log in and out to quickly schedule interviews, review candidates and share their feedback.



Be human…

Those are four practical ideas for providing consistent and quality feedback to your candidates. But for us, the key is this: Don’t forget what it feels like to apply for a role. Don’t forget how to be human.

Even with powerful technology (Hireserve ATS you say?), you can still make a human connection with candidates. Manage their expectations around feedback. Be open and authentic if you don’t provide feedback at all stages of their recruitment journey. And acknowledge the time they have invested in their application.




Are you looking for more insights into how your candidates think, feel and act during the recruitment journey? From research to attitudes towards online interviews, we cover it all in Candidate Behaviour: The Big Report – one of the most comprehensive research reports in the industry.

Created in partnership with Monster, we asked jobseekers across the country, of all ages and working in a wide range of sectors, to tell us how they act, think and feel during the hiring process. So, for a deep dive into your candidates and how they feel, download your report today!



About the author

From candidate experience to flexible working, and from supporting graduates to ATS reports; Hannah's written it all over the years! Hannah has contributed to publications as diverse as The Guardian, UK Recruiter and University Business. She is also the wordsmith behind our whitepapers and guides, from GDPR to Employee Volunteering.