A candidate deserves honest feedback, whether it is following the meeting he/she has just had with you, or after an interview with the prospective employer. If they have gone to the time and the trouble to apply for or attend the interview and have given it 100%, then skipping on any feedback stage is doing the candidate a total disservice.
The candidate can only improve their interview technique and their possibility of earning you a fee if you constructively help them via carefully considered feedback. A few minutes planning will always be worth it for them and you.
There is a straightforward way to implement this so that, no matter what negatives you must state, the candidate will always take the information constructively:
- Start with a positive point
- Add in a second positive
- Next a negative
- Then a positive
- Then a negative
- And so on, ending in a positive
An example of this UP UP *DOWN UP *DOWN UP way of giving feedback might be ... " You know, John, I’ve been really impressed with your enthusiasm, it’s so refreshing, and I must say your CV looks impressive. *However, I have to tell you that I was looking for a bit more hands-on experience. Your technical ability is there for all to see, *but my client is looking for more man management experience than you have to date. Still, although you’re not quite right for this role yet, I am very confident that we can find you an alternative."
You get no Brownie points for demoralising someone (remember, everyone has an off day and today's candidate might be tomorrow's client) and, by the same token, no matter how embarrassing the issue may be, if it potentially affects their chances of landing that dream job, you have to tell them. Untidiness, bad breath, body odour can all be tackled before client interview stage if you tell them at your meeting. Far better a couple of minutes embarrassment on both sides now, than a lost fee later!
When briefing your client on the candidate before an interview, the same UP UP *DOWN UP *DOWN UP rule applies. If the candidate is not 100% right for the job (and very few are) but still highly credible, then countering any negatives with more than compensatory positives will still secure the candidate an interview. Also, by making the client aware of any shortcomings now, this will subsequently ensure a more mutually productive interview.
Contributor: Ken Kemp, MD, Recruitment Matters International