Why feedback is crucial in recruitment
We all know that old story: you see a job ad you like, you apply, then you get through the first stage, maybe even the second, the third. You’re excited!
Then the awaited email arrives, you get a PING, and frantically open your inbox: “Thank you for taking the time to apply, we’ve decided that other applicants are better suited for the position.” The end. Now what?
It’s difficult knowing how to proceed after such an email, especially when you don’t understand what you did wrong. Maybe you didn’t do anything wrong – perhaps you didn’t demonstrate your skills as well as other candidates did. Or was it a matter of culture fit? You simply don’t know.
Regardless of what it was, cookie-cutter responses might be all the recruitment team have time to send you, and while they’re not personal, they can leave you feeling low and deflated.
What’s important to remember is that interviewing is part of your learning process. It helps you better understand current market expectations, teach you more about companies you might be interested in, and even highlight some blind spots about your skills that could be useful for you. Feedback throughout recruitment is key to your development even if you don’t get the job. Here’s a little about how you can take advantage of it.
It's a two-way street.
This isn’t often talked about, but feedback on a company’s recruitment process is extremely valuable for hiring managers and decision-makers. Just like other functions, the People team have KPIs to meet: positions filled, time to offer, retention rates, satisfaction rates… among a few. Understanding how we can improve is essential in that. Candidates who take the time to provide clear, concise contribution in this area, quickly find themselves in the ‘call back’ list should a new opportunity with us – or a friendly company – arise.
Don’t forget: recruiters know recruiters. Even if they don’t have a role for you, it doesn’t mean they can’t support you in other companies. Think about your applications just as you would any other networking opportunity.
What if you don't get the job?
Any interview can end in rejection. If this results in the collapse of all you hopes, things can quickly spiral, making subsequent interviews painful and difficult for you. There’s a better way: turn rejections into a development tool.
Reasons for rejection can vary from irrelevant experience to lack of knowledge of key tools and technologies, or maybe they already had a shortlist of candidates by the time you interviewed.
It’s important to say that recruiters rarely provide individual feedback following the initial screening stage. This is because, particularly in a dynamic global environment such as the one we find ourselves in, there are simply too many applications for any given role. But if you’ve gone through that first stage and you’ve spoken to hiring managers, had technical interviews or gone through other stages, you are very well within your right to seek more detailed feedback – even if it is not readily provided.
As a standard at Movinx, we provide individual feedback to all shortlisted candidates, but we take so much pleasure when candidates want us to elaborate even further. When candidates ask for a feedback call, it shows us that they are curious and willing to grow – and that’s a sign that they’re awesome!
Rejection doesn’t have to be the end of your relationship with any company. Things like ‘lack of experience’ are easily fixed. Save your connections for the future and write to them directly for other roles or opportunities once you’ve got a few more notches on your belt.
One of our Movers recently shared that in her last job she was in the shortlisted for a senior position that went cold after about a month of waiting. She then saw that the company advertised a similar contract position. She immediately contacted the recruiter to throw her hat in the ring for the contract role. In that call she was advised that the initial role had already been offered to someone else, and while she had suitable skills, they didn’t believe the contract position would be appealing. They offered it to her, and within six months of starting the contract position, she was promoted to a more senior – permanent – position. This is a great example that you don’t need to wait for feedback to come to you, keep your contacts on side, ask them questions, and don’t hesitate to probe them about other opportunities that might come up! Believe me, they’ll appreciate it.
Tools like LinkedIn allow you to set very specific job alerts for roles and companies – use them! If you’ve already had experience with a company’s recruiters, remind them of that in your cover letter. Motivation plays a very important role; sometimes, it is even more critical than some hard skills, especially in startups and growing companies where they’re more willing to get people learning on the job.
What if you do get the job?
Getting the job doesn’t mean the end of your development. It shows good initiative to ask for feedback even when you do get a role. At Movinx we often take the opportunity during the offer call to congratulate the candidate and to explain how they will fit the role – and also what we feel might help them to success with us.
Particularly for our tech positions, our candidates go through astringent technical rounds and if even if they pass, if we see some gaps in knowledge, we certainly want them to know it. A part of our development plan is working proactively with Movers to get them the training they need to grow, knowing these gaps upfront helps candidates and their managers map out that plan from day 1, which is win-win for everyone.
Even when feedback is not given proactively by a company that offers you a job – ask!
Do not waste time having a pity party for yourself! Even if you don’t get a job, use your recruitment process as part of your learning and development. There are many reasons why you may have not got the job you wanted – some of which could be very easily fixed the next time around. If you don’t ask for feedback, you will never know what that is.
I understand that it can be nerve-wracking to contact a recruiter that just rejected you for a role, but it is 100% part of our job and it shows a lot of professional maturity and self-assurance.
Importantly, take stock of companies that are not keen and willing to share feedback with you during recruitment. Feedback is key to your development and companies that are not helpful during this important stage in your career, are showing you their true colors. Proceed with caution!
To sum up: don’t waste the opportunity to actively ask for – and give – feedback throughout the recruitment process. You won’t regret it.