People are often nervous of asking for feedback. Worried about hearing something negative they may skirt around the issue and go and seek the views of those who are more likely to be favourable than those who are going to be the most critical. But it is through a realistic and honest evaluation – both the good and the bad points – that provide the best platform for self improvement.
This is particularly true of the candidate experience. There are a number of hurdles – whether real or perceived – to overcome when thinking about implementing a regular feedback loop that is going to be held up to managerial inspection and business performance:
It’s resource heavy – resourcing teams only have so much resource themselves so where do they begin in gathering feedback from a large of volume of job applicants? Who is going to administer and report it? How do you maintain dialogue with all applicants to gather effective and honest feedback? Technology helps of course, but it is equally a shift in mindset that this is a ‘must’have’ rather than a ‘nice-to’have’.
We already ask for feedback – the question is from who? – many organisations do have some kind of anecdotal feedback in place, but this is also often from those recently hired and not the much larger percentage who were unsuccessful. Rejected candidates aren’t always the negative bunch that people portray them as and will give honest and frank feedback when asked. How they were handled during the application process and the way they were treated will influence their viewpoint and it will also influence their viewpoint as a consumer of the organisation. And guess what? They can provide some of the most insightful and actionable feedback.
Fear of the negative – The thing with negative feedback is context. As with the positive it is about understanding who says it, why they say it and what can be done about it. Recruiting teams may have concerns about being judged but this is how it should be if good performance is to be attained throughout. Mistakes do happen, the best laid plans don’t always go to plan but you’re in a much better place if you can understand it and do something about it.
Employers talk about what makes a good candidate experience – and rightly so. But it is equally important to identify the areas for improvement. Is a particular recruiter not meeting the right standards? Are particular groups of applicants not being treated equally? Is there a significant difference in expectation between job families and roles that are being applied for? Overall, as an organisation, are behaviours and processes delivering a good candidate experience?
Monitor, track, benchmark and performance manage the candidate experience to generate real improvements as you would any other area of your business.