Giving Constructive Feedback to Candidates

Constructive feedback to candidates: young graduate keen to impress at her first interview shaking hands with the female interviewer, man sitting beside the interviewer can only see the back of their heads

Giving constructive feedback to unsuccessful candidates may feel like a waste of valuable time or may put fear into a manager or HR professional in case they say, ‘the wrong thing’. While it is more time-consuming to provide feedback, could it be better for employers in the long run to educate unsuccessful candidates?

We know that a lack of constructive feedback leads to disengagement in the workplace, with 98% of employees feeling disconnected when they receive little or no feedback. If this statistic was even broadly similar for not providing constructive feedback to candidates, could you be damaging your employer brand?

This is particularly relevant when providing constructive feedback to candidates following unsuccessful interviews. Whilst they aren’t right for your business, they could be suitable in the future. 


Why Giving Constructive Feedback to Candidates helps them

Giving constructive feedback to candidates enables them to improve by identifying areas for growth, making them stronger candidates for future opportunities. Employers who provide this feedback contribute to building resilience in candidates, encouraging them to use the feedback positively.

If they can develop the necessary skills and competencies, they will ultimately create more impact and contribute more to their business and the economy generally. Candidates will have a clearer understanding of company expectations for a particular role or industry, by being more self-aware the candidate can work on those areas to perform to a higher standard in the next interview.

Providing feedback may help the candidate identify a role more suited to their skill set, helping to narrow their job search and increase the chance of being successful.  Constructive feedback is beneficial for both the candidate’s personal and professional development, especially when the feedback is specific to the candidate.

It shouldn’t just be a tick-box exercise. To be frank, if you have followed your recruitment process correctly and conducted professional interviews, candidates will have been unsuccessful for a legitimate reason, so you have nothing to fear. To put it into context 65% of employees wish to receive more feedback.


Why giving constructive feedback benefits your business

Employers often underestimate the value candidates place on feedback and its positive impact on the employer brand. A recent survey conducted by Eden Scott on LinkedIn, identified that 65% of respondents said the most frustrating element of the interview process is getting no feedback.  By providing feedback, your company distinguishes itself as constructive, helpful, and caring, positively influencing the employer brand.

A positive interaction, marked by constructive feedback, leaves a lasting good impression, encouraging candidates to consider reapplying in the future, referring others, or even supporting your business as clients or customers. Providing constructive feedback and fostering long-term relationships means that while candidates may not be the perfect fit now, they could be ideal for future opportunities. This may reduce the time and costs spent on future recruitment campaigns.

It positions your company as a leader committed to professional growth, extending beyond your immediate employees to anyone who engages with your organisation. A strong competitive advantage against business competitors helps you to pull in high calibre candidates.

Feedback sessions provide a unique opportunity to gain insights into your recruitment process from the candidates’ perspective, allowing for continuous improvement and ensuring your company remains a top choice for the best talent.

Lastly, providing constructive feedback underscores respect for the effort and time candidates invest in their applications and interviews for your business.

Dos and Don’ts of constructive feedback following interviews.

The key thing is that feedback needs to be constructive.  For example, telling a candidate that ‘your personality doesn’t fit here’ is likely to lead to problems but with feedback like ‘we would like you to have more experience of face-to-face complaint handling,’ they know what they need to do to improve for the future.

Even though the candidate was unsuccessful, they will have a positive outlook on your business by being transparent and communicating. Timing of feedback is also critical, providing it quickly and not having the candidate chasing is vital. Feedback should be provided when making the candidate aware they are unsuccessful.


  • Be transparent and honest with candidates
  • Provide specifics on where to improve using examples from the interview
  • Use a polite manner, avoiding rude or insensitive comments
  • Give feedback that is useful for candidates to improve in the future


  • Act superior or condescending.
  • Promise future opportunities if the candidate isn’t suitable, this gives false hopes.
  • Compare candidates against each other, this is seen as insensitive.

Statistics of feedback in the workplace

  • A majority of 65% of employees want more frequent feedback.
  • Organisations that consistently offer feedback to their employees, experience turnover rates that are 14.9% lower than those that do not.
  • Three-quarters of employees consider the feedback they receive to be of value.
  • Nearly half (43%) of employees with high engagement levels get feedback at least once every week. In contrast, 40% of workers who rarely or never receive feedback show signs of high disengagement.
  • Over half (60%) of workers have a preference for receiving feedback either daily or weekly.
  • A significant 77% of HR leaders believe that annual performance evaluations fail to provide an accurate reflection of an employee’s performance.
  • Regarding performance reviews, 28% of millennials favour a quarterly frequency, and 38% prefer an annual one, whereas 58% of baby boomers are in favour of the traditional annual performance review.
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