There seems to be a lot of recruitment buzz these days about the importance of talent management for external candidates. I fully support this concept and feel that many of my recruiting colleagues are doing an excellent job of this today.

I think one of the biggest struggles continues to be not with the external candidates, but rather within our own organizations, with our internal candidates and the lack of feedback that is given to them when they apply to internal opportunities.

As a tenured recruiter, I’ve worked across my organization in many different roles; I understand the importance of providing specific feedback to an interviewed candidate for their own personal growth and development. The challenge however, lies in the grey area when the candidate is not interviewed by the recruiter and the interviewer does not give the feedback to the candidate.

I believe many recruiters struggle with this piece, in knowing how to proceed in these instances. Do you ask the interviewer for feedback and then provide it to the candidate yourself? Do you ask the interviewer to step up and deliver the feedback? Or do you simply tell the candidate they were not successful and provide no feedback to them?

While any of these three options would likely be common practice, which one makes the most sense in your organization, not only from a growth and development stand point, but from an engagement perspective?

After many years of practice delivering and receiving feedback, and truly enjoying the experience, I would have to say that option 2 would be the best choice. While I personally find it rewarding, knowing that you are helping another person to learn and grow, the person receiving the feedback is grateful for the time you have taken to provide the feedback and appreciative for the learning opportunities you have given to them.

Now that you’ve decided that this is the preferred approach, how do you go about implementing the idea with your hiring managers? Sure, you can ask them to do it, but often times they are resistant. Many managers may not have a great deal of experience giving feedback and it makes them feel uncomfortable. This is your opportunity as a recruiter to offer coaching, guidance and support to the business. Perhaps suggest a role play with them or offer to deliver the feedback on their behalf while they observe. Be sure to ask them afterwards for their thoughts on the session and let them ask questions.  You can also offer to sit in on a feedback session with them and provide coaching to them once it’s been done. 

Remember, practice makes perfect. For the recruiter, who may find it awkward advising hiring managers to deliver feedback, or hiring managers who are uneasy delivering it, it will get easier each time you do it. Just keep reminding yourself of the positive impacts you are helping to create on this employee’s development and engagement in the workplace.