May 4, 2021

What Do I Gotta Do To Get Some Interview Feedback Around Here?


Episode Highlights

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Stop me if you heard this one.

You spent a ton of time and energy prepping for your interviews.

Nailed all 6 steps of the process.

You crushed it. High hopes.

Then…crickets. I’d say “a no would have been nice” but let’s be honest, that’s not enough either.

Why is this still a thing?

Jeff Smith and James Hornick dunk one of the worst practices in all of hiring in The 10 Minute Talent Rant, Episode 14: What Do I Gotta Do To Get Some Interview Feedback Around Here?

Episode Transcript

The 10 Minute Talent Rant is live. I’m James Hornick, I’m joined by Jeff Smith and we are on the clock. The 10 Minute Talent Rant is our ongoing series where we break down things that are broken in the talent acquisition and hiring space, maybe even pitch a solution or two. If we feel like it. Before we dig into things, remember to subscribe to Hirewell’s, YouTube and the Talent Insights podcast where you can get all the replays of what we’re going to do here on demand. This week’s topic: what do I got to do to get some feedback around here? So, let me just kind of lay this up for you here a little bit. People do interviews. Yeah. Exciting stuff. People do interviews. They spend tons of time prepping for them.


They get all kinds of effort put into it and then they get no feedback and it happens all the damn time. And I also want to say like, what – so I guess my first question to you is like first off what constitutes feedback, right? Because just saying that, “We’re passing, we’re not moving forward.


You’re not a fit” that’s not feedback okay. That’s a rejection, but that’s not actually productive, useful, actionable feedback for anybody. So I want to make that clear. Yeah, you might as well just say I don’t like you. Yeah. So Jeff, like give us some examples. Like what would you consider like real feedback?


First, I think the idea of juxtapositioning against like the selected candidate is just a good best practice, right? Talk about why you’ve selected somebody versus not selected somebody and use it as a skills matrix. Like this person has, you know, three to four more years of coding in this specific language on these specific platforms and while we acknowledge that you probably have the aptitude to acquire that skillset whilst working with us, this other candidate comes ready, baked for it. Like that’s feedback. That is something that’s constructive that says, okay I can match it against the job description and as the candidate, if you’re of right mind you’re saying, okay that sucks but I get it.


Right? Other things are if you really want to get into like cultural stuff, companies whether right or wrong can say things and require things like you must be on-site, if you’re thinking about more like manufacturing type jobs, of course you have to be onsite.


If you can’t make an onsite, you can’t do the job. Folks who can make it to the job are going to get that job. So, you just want to talk about and think about it in like very tangible skills centric types of stuff. I also think it’s fair to throw in here, giving specific examples of where people frankly blew it.


Everyone’s blown an interview before, everyone knows what it’s like, everyone knows that. And I guess the thing is that people have to realize they don’t get unlimited chances. Because that’s the thing that’ll happen sometimes if you don’t point out, “Okay, here’s where you didn’t do great in the interview.”


We’ll hear all the time someone says, “Well actually I have this experience. I don’t accept that feedback.” Right. Well, it’s okay, it’s great you have the experience but you didn’t articulate that in the interview. They don’t have unlimited time to keep giving every second and third place candidates more and more chances to kind of prove themselves.


So, I think that it’s also important to kind of call out things if someone blew it, not because they’re trying to rub it in their face but just because you need them to acknowledge, like it’s also a proactive way to help them get better at future interviews so they don’t make the same mistakes.


Later on. Yeah there isn’t an endeavor for all of humanity where everybody bats a thousand. Every candidate isn’t going to get every job. And you have to be able to – if you’re going to ask for constructive feedback as a candidate, you have to be ready to hear the real deal. Yeah. I mean, recruiters just basically don’t give feedback James because A: they chicken out or they feel uncomfortable about doing so.


Or they actually have no idea because no one at the company has even given them any sort of constructive feedback, which puts them into that weird middle man situation. More often than not, and this is the thing I think sometimes job seekers don’t understand is that a lot of times when I didn’t have feedback to give them it’s because I didn’t actually have any feedback to give them.


And it’s not just third-party firms like us but internal recruiters are in the same situation and I guess I want to get you to the root cause of this, like why this happens. A lot of times interviewers are not held accountable for actual feedback. There’s no process there that requires the people who are the hiring managers, the team, whoever’s doing whatever part of the interview process to give specifics at a lot of organizations of why what they do and don’t like about certain people that interviewed or the reason why they made the choice or what they’re saying. It’s just they’re allowed to get away with saying someone wasn’t a fit without actually having to expand further. So if you’re not getting that from the person who’s actually doing the interviews, it’s literally impossible to kind of do any sort of useful feedback loop from there.


I would also say beyond that, like a lot of companies, I’m going to say most people out there, people listening to this in general have never actually been trained in how to interview. And even short of being trained how to interview, they aren’t given expectationsin terms of what they should be interviewing for.


So, each person on the team might have different responsibilities for things they should be digging into, which also adds into this, if you weren’t like – if you didn’t have an agenda of things you need to find out in the conversation, then obviously you’re not going to have any useful feedback to give.


Yeah and it goes back to the first part of the problem is a lot of these jobs aren’t well-qualified in the first place so interviewers don’t have any sort of skills matrix to work off of. So that’s what inevitably comes. That’s what inevitably ends in the idea of having to say as a recruiter and being very uncomfortable doing so, “Sorry, the team just didn’t like you.”


Like talk about an adversarial situation. Again, we preface this by saying you go through all these hoops and all these steps and that’s the feedback you get, like no wonder recruiters get a bad rep, right? Because we are the messengers of that. Companies want to avoid this like the plague. There are legal reasons for it, but there’s also just lazy reasons for it. When they reject candidates, they hear complaint after complaint after complaint and it gets tense. And what, they’re not realizing that by taking a few extra steps on the front end of things to find these jobs better and to give interviewers a better understanding of what they should be delving into, it will organically create better feedback loops and more constructive information for the candidate to use moving forward. All right, let’s talk fixes real quick. And the first one I want to dump on, and this is not to totally shift the tables but to throw this at candidates right? So your last point, there’s a level of uncomfortability or there’s a reticence to give feedback sometimes.


If you’re a candidate and you keep coming in second place every time you’re doing an interview, you’re doing something wrong. You just don’t know what. If you’re always kind of – if it’s just never working out there’s probably something you’re doing that you just need constructive feedback for and not every company is going to just give it to you right off the bat. What I would recommend doing: disarm them, make sure they realize you’re not upset, it’s not a big deal. You just need the help. Ask them why you blew it and appeal to their kinder nature to give you the feedback you really need because they’re just worried that you’re going to blow up on them. I’ll be totally straight up. So if you take that off the table, that’s the one thing you can do as a job seeker to have a better job at getting feedback. It’s as easy as saying, “Hey recruiter or hiring manager,” whoever you’re interacting with posts the process “I constantly keep coming in second place, do you think there’s anything that you can give me that might be the reason why?” Like, there’s just easy ways of creating something other than “I’m a good person for this job. I don’t get it.” Look, on the company side James, please set some standards. Again, feedback needs to be tangible, it needs to be skills-based, it needs to be specific. So when interviewers go in trained or not, that they’re at least given some sort of specificity on the types of things that they need to be delving into. Again, this will create these organic feedback loops and the process has to be baked in and provided immediately.


That feedback loop just has got to happen quickly so that the candidate doesn’t sit on a string. Recruiters position yourselves within the organization so you have the credibility to create these processes because they’re not going to create themselves. It’s not going to fall on the hiring teams to do this.


It’s not really their job to do this. It’s your job. And the only way to do that is to carry yourself in a way that you have the authority to kind of make these recommendations and put these processes in place. Yeah, I mean deliver the message to your internal stakeholders. Like I get it, I hate it. It sucks.


It sucks even worse on the external side but like the worst part of this job is telling people no, but if I go out and I proactively solicit this information from my hiring managers and tell them why it’s important, not only does it go a long way in avoiding some sort of adversarial situation in each transaction but overarchingly it just creates a better brand for you.


And we are short on clock, so that’s a wrap for this week Jeff. It’s been fun as always. Look at that timing. I know everyone out there, thanks for tuning into the 10 Minute Talent Rant, part of the Talent Insights series which is always available for replay on the Hirewell YouTube channel as well as the Talent Insights podcast on Apple, Google, Spotify, and Amazon.


Remember to subscribe. Jeff, thanks again. Great time as always and everyone out there, we will see you soon! Happy interviewing!


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