How to give interview feedback (with simple steps and tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 3 September 2022 | Published 6 August 2021

Updated 3 September 2022

Published 6 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

As a human resources professional or manager of a team, you'll often prepare job descriptions, advertise positions, interview candidates and make hiring decisions. When making hiring decisions for the company, it's important to provide interview feedback to candidates so they have an accurate idea of how they did, which can help them in their job search. By learning how to provide effective feedback, you can also help your organisation earn a reputation as trustworthy. In this article, we discuss the importance of interview feedback, share how to give interview feedback and explain what to include in your feedback.

What is interview feedback?

Interview feedback is the feedback that you give to a candidate about their performance after the interview. It entails making detailed notes during and after a job interview about the candidate's suitability for the position. These notes may include candidates' answers to questions, skills they possess and qualities that make them a good fit for the role.

While you may make initial notes during the interview, you can refine and add to your notes throughout the day as you reflect on the interview and carefully consider the candidate. The notes you prepare can provide helpful feedback you can share with the rest of the recruitment team to inform hiring decisions.

Related: How to give constructive criticism

What is the purpose of interview feedback?

Interview feedback provides valuable insights to the recruitment team to best inform recruitment decisions. Sharing feedback with HR and the recruitment team helps in the immediate hiring decision. Also, by providing helpful feedback to candidates, you can improve candidates' experiences and enhance your company's brand as an employer. Some of the benefits of interview feedback include:

  • Helps interviews organise their thoughts: After conducting an interview, it can take some time and reflection to think more about a candidate's suitability for a role. Writing interview feedback helps capture an interviewer's opinion on a candidate, including first impressions, impressive answers and unique experiences or qualities that a candidate possesses.

  • Assists with comparing candidates: Interview feedback is best when it provides a full assessment of a candidate, so once you organise it into a concise document, you'll have an overview of each candidate. By comparing feedback for candidates, you can assess and compare candidates to make the best hiring decision.

  • Provides valuable insights to the hiring team: While some interviews may include a panel of current employees, it's common for one or two interviewers to conduct the interview. By preparing interview feedback, interviewers can share valuable insights with the rest of the hiring team, which helps everyone carefully consider each candidate.

  • Provides candidates with helpful information about their interview strengths and weaknesses. You can use your interview feedback to communicate to candidates the reasoning why they were selected or why you are pursuing another candidate from the hiring process. While it's not always easy to deliver news of rejection, providing insightful feedback to candidates can help explain your decision.

Related: Positive feedback: why it's important and how to give it

How to give interview feedback to candidates

When writing interview feedback, it's important to capture as much information as possible about a candidate so you properly consider their application for your open position. This information may include everything from first impressions all the way through to a considered analysis of the candidate's suitability for the role. To prepare insightful interview feedback, follow these steps:

1. Make notes during the interview

During and immediately after the interview, make notes about the candidate's ability to contribute to success at the company. You might note down your first impressions, any impressive answers to interview questions and highlights from their past experience that could help in the role. Use your interview question sheet or create a scorecard to help you organise your thoughts.

Related: 5 ways to be a good interviewer

2. Revisit and review your notes after a few hours

While taking notes during the interview is important, it's beneficial to take some time after the interview to reflect and consider the candidate before reviewing and elaborating on your original notes. This brief break can help you gather your thoughts. If you've conducted other interviews throughout the day, you may have gained a new perspective on candidates by comparing their interview performance.

3. Review the job description alongside the candidate's application

The job description outlines the role's responsibilities and describes the candidate you're looking for, including their skills, qualifications and desirable qualities. It's a useful tool when reviewing candidates' applications so you can determine that they have all the requirements and see how many preferred qualifications they possess. Highlight how a candidate meets the role's requirements and note any areas they might need to develop to make them eligible for the position.

Read more: How to write a job description template

4. Note whether a candidate reflected the job requirements

After reviewing the candidate's application alongside the job description, you can develop a clear understanding of how they meet the requirements and any areas in which they do not meet the requirements of the role. Prepare specific examples that elaborate on this further, such as stand-out answers that highlight their suitability for the role. You may even discover that you have some follow-up questions you want to ask to understand the candidate a little better.

Related: 5 strategic interview questions to ask candidates (and tips)

5. Compile your notes into a professional document

After gathering your thoughts and establishing an opinion of the candidate, tidy up your notes and organise them into a cohesive document. You may wish to format the document to highlight the candidate's strengths and weaknesses, or you could work through the requirements on the job description and note how the candidate demonstrated their competency in each required skill or quality. However, you choose to format the interview feedback, ensure you are consistent so that you can easily compare and contrast candidates when reviewing your feedback notes.

6. Review your feedback and input any final notes or comments

Finally, review your finished document and input any final considerations. For example, you may wish to add your opinion as to who your first and second choice candidates are. Remember, you may choose to use this feedback when telling candidates they were unsuccessful in their application, so you can add constructive feedback and highlight opportunities for development to help unsuccessful candidates in their future job search.

Related: An in-depth guide to recruitment and selection processes

What to include in interview feedback

Interview feedback is most effective when you've careful contemplated each aspect of a candidate's new employee potential. Consider including these details in your interview feedback:

  • First impressions of the candidate: Include initial assessments about their character and personality traits and how your impression has changed or remained the same throughout the interview.

  • Examples of memorable interview moments: When a candidate impresses you during the interview, make a note of that. Whether it's an interview answer that showcases exactly why they are the best candidate for the role or an example they provided of their work ethic, note these moments at the time so that you don't forget them.

  • Insights into both hard and soft skills: It's important to present a candidate's technical and interpersonal skills accurately in your interview feedback. As your feedback may inform recruitment decisions, be sure to capture both the hard and soft skills that candidates possess to ensure you're presenting an accurate overview of their skills and suitability for the role.

  • An overview of the interview experience: You might be the only interviewer in the room, so it's important to prepare a summary of how the interview went for members of the recruitment team who were not present. Outline how the interviewee was conducting themselves and how you felt when speaking with them.

  • Suggestions on the next steps: Make it clear whether you believe a candidate should continue through the recruitment process or not. If you're unsure about a candidate, say so, but explain why you're uncertain so that the hiring team can assess their application and assist in the decision-making process.

Related: 8 recruiting methods and how to use them to attract talent

Interview feedback tips

Here are some tips you can consider when preparing interview feedback during the recruitment process at your organisation:

  • Be concise with your reasoning and provide a clear justification for giving praise or constructive feedback to candidates.

  • Give feedback that's an accurate reflection of a candidate but be tactful when delivering constructive criticisms to avoid offending candidates.

  • Praise candidates when you can, as feedback shouldn't only be negative.

  • Deliver feedback in a format that's easy to interpret and use computer software to make feedback easy to access and review.

Related: What To Say in an Interview

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