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How would you respond to a candidate who you rejected for a position, but then follows up with an email asking you what they could have done better in the interview?

Carter O'Brien's Profile

how to respond to rejected applicants who ask for feedback


Chris Shumate
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: Dominion Development Group, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager, Dominion Development Group, LLC) |

I think it depends on the interviewee. For instance, if it was for a staff accountant's position for a fairly new professional, your advice could help them in a future interview. If it is for a senior accountant's position, the individual should have a better idea of what was done incorrectly. It could be a great opportunity to help build on a person's skills, helping them land their dream job later. Some people don't interview well, regardless of how well they prepare for it.

I say go for it! Be honest and professional with your response, even if you have to give advice they may not want to hear.

Ted Monohon
Title: VP -Finance / Controller
Company: Fantex
(VP -Finance / Controller, Fantex) |

Please be careful with this type of advice. It runs the same risk as giving out references for past employees. Seemingly innoculous comments could be interpreted as some violation of EEOC rules and complaints being lodged. I understand the desire to want to help the interviewee for future interviews, but I personally would either ignore the request. If you feel compelled to give some response, I would do it via phone and not in email so there is no written record of the repsonse.

Topic Expert
Malak Kazan
Title: VP, Special Projects
Company: ERI Economic Research Institute
(VP, Special Projects, ERI Economic Research Institute) |

Verbal confidential feedback based on objective criteria (e.g. experience qualifications) can be given without risk. However, if the reason for not hiring is "chemistry" or cultural "fit", it is difficult to provide feedback in those terms. Talk to HR, confirm with them the "procedure" for handling such requests and proceed according.

Topic Expert
Keith Perry
Title: Director of Global Accounting
Company: Agrinos, Inc.
(Director of Global Accounting, Agrinos, Inc.) |

It is very generous to give this type of advice; it is great to get, and good to model being honest. Per Ted, it is also risky.
1) Keep it factual; did they not have Hyperion experience? If that (or similar) is the problem), perhaps you can guide them to training.
2) Keep it verbal. Never ever give written feedback.

Topic Expert
Mark Richards
Title: VP Operations and Finance
Company: VP / CFO - Private Company
(VP Operations and Finance, VP / CFO - Private Company) |

This is sort of a no-win situation since the perspective of the interview will never be the same and unless you kept very specific notes it may be hard to remember.

I would simply reverse the question and recommend them to simply rate their own interview performance - you can them a few areas to rate: Level of preparation, clarity and crispness of answers, readiness for questions asked, knowledge of individuals with whom they interviewed.

If there was one area where their performance was below expectations or other candidates - add it to the list of areas they should consider.

Hope this helps.



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