How to Deliver Constructive Feedback to Candidates

Here are some of the Do’s and Don’ts every recruiter needs to know for delivering valuable and constructive feedback to candidates and employees.

According to LinkedIn’s Talent Trends Report, 94% of the candidates want to receive honest feedback after an interview. However, giving feedback isn’t an easy task and requires a lot of understanding on the part of the recruiter to deliver the right feedback and in the right tone. Providing constructive and honest feedback to candidates without offending anyone is a difficult task and is something every recruiter should be able to master.

When recruiters give feedback, it helps people improve upon their weaknesses so they can be more successful in the future. As such, candidates will often come back to you after being rejected for a position requesting information about how they could have improved in their resume or their interview.

A similar situation exists for the employees of the company. The managers and the employees are bound to make mistakes- it’s only humanly- and so a lot of it depends on the feedback provided to them so that they can improve while moving forward on their paths to success. Whether trying to improve the candidate experience for those you reject or nudge your employees in the right direction, giving feedback that’s actually useful and well-received can be a huge asset to your career.

Let’s discover some of the basics to constructive feedback:


1. Choose whom to give feedback

Choose who should receive specific feedback and who shouldn’t. Whether you receive 100 resumes or interview 25 people, it’s not a good use of time to call each individual. Perhaps only give specific details to those who ask or only who make it to the top 4–5 applicants.

2. Start with positive

Start by stating the positive facts first. Ensure the candidate knows that you recognized their strengths and give them the confidence to continue searching for new opportunities. Be optimistic and open to any form of new information that flows in and have an unbiased mind about them. Being accommodative can provide candidates with a sense of comfort amidst stressful situations that most of them tend to go through during such situations.

3. Provide specific feedback, not general

Make sure that you provide specific feedback and not generalizations. Tell the person exactly where in the interview they impressed you and exactly what they need to improve, or else it comes off as though you’re just giving boilerplate information. A good tip is to keep interview notes so you have something to reference while providing feedback.

4. Always tell the truth

Candidates deserve honesty. Telling them they were great in an interview when they know they messed up won’t earn their respect. Instead, it would make them confused about their own position. Keep your feedback tied to the job requirements and make it a point to always tell the truth.

5. Praise and aim to help

False praise is never a good thing. But if there were things you truly liked about a candidate, say so. Candidates need to know what they did well so they can keep doing it. However, the feedback should be meaningful. Don’t just make a list of things you didn’t like about a candidate. Think specifically about what they could change to interview better next time. This is good for your company too; great candidates will improve their interviewing skills and give you reasons to hire them in the future.


1. Don’t insult

Never insult the candidate. No matter how much you’d like to tell them how inappropriate they were in the interview, take the high road, have some tact, and consider your phrasing. While you should give them some advice on the topic, there’s no reason to hurt them or insult them.

2. Don’t make false promises

Never make any false promises or give a word about something that you cannot give them later on. Never give rise to any false hopes. Be it a new candidate or existing employees, don’t lie to them about anything. It’ll back-fire later on.

3. Don’t compare

Candidates know they didn’t get hired because you thought someone else was better. There’s no need to tell them, especially if they went through a group interview. For existing employees, comparing them to their colleagues can lead to a rising feeling of jealousy or of being less and incompetent.

4. Don’t appear condescending

Your tone always matters, be it conveying feedback or a normal interaction. For example, being shocked or disappointed by how little a candidate prepared for your interview can be off-putting. Neutral language and positive framing can help.

5. Don’t wait for too long

Give candidates news as soon as you know you will not be moving forward with their application and quickly schedule a meeting when they ask for feedback. This way your thoughts will still be fresh.

The golden rule is always to treat everybody with respect. Be sure to thank them and show your appreciation. Finally, in the spirit of improving, ask the candidate for feedback to learn if your processes can be more candidate-friendly!!!

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Suchismita Panda