Interview Feedback Examples and Tips to Give Constructive Feedback  

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Interview Feedback Examples and Tips to Give Constructive Feedback  

Employee interview feedback examples can be highly valuable, both from an HR perspective and useful for your candidates. The interview process can be nerve-wracking, soul-destroying, or downright intimidating for many candidates. Interview feedback examples can help candidates improve and get them the jobs they want. 

Luckily, constructive feedback examples can help candidates feel more empowered, knowledgeable, and confident for their next round of interviews. Even if they didn’t quite hit the spot last time, actionable insights can help candidates themselves and aid those working in HR to provide a better experience. 

This article will highlight the importance of employee interview feedback examples. 

The importance of interview feedback
The benefits of providing interview feedback
The different types of interview feedback
Examples of interview feedback 
How HR can help provide effective interview feedback

The importance of interview feedback

As you might expect, positive interview feedback examples can do wonders for a candidate’s confidence and knowledge of the interview process. Even if they didn’t quite land the job of their dreams, the interview feedback that’s provided could help them build on their experience and make them an even stronger candidate next time. That’s likely why 91% of candidates overwhelmingly preferred feedback. It can land them their next job. 

Feedback doesn’t just have benefits for the candidate. Examples of interview feedback for unsuccessful candidates and successful ones alike all contribute towards a good candidate experience. Essentially, it will leave potential employees with a good impression of the business. Considering that HR is a way in which many people directly interact with a company, this is essential. It also demonstrates an excellent corporate culture, where values such as honesty and integrity, hallmarks of many corporate culture pronouncements, are demonstrated in action to the candidate. 

Research has shown that 52% of candidates given interview feedback were more likely to continue a relationship with that company. So, while your current interviewee may not get the job, they could be coming back for another shot later. 

The benefits of providing interview feedback

Here are some of the benefits of providing interview feedback. These can range from benefiting the candidate experience to helping HR.   

  • Increases HR’s skillset in identifying good quality candidates.
  • Makes candidates more likely to reapply for another role with the company. Helps support the company’s employer branding.
  • Helps demonstrate good corporate culture.  

The different types of interview feedback

Non-constructive feedback

Non-constructive feedback doesn’t help the candidate’s interview performance. Generally, non-constructive feedback may be too negative, unhelpful, or vague for the candidate to gain anything valuable. For example, it might include feedback that’s not related to the candidate’s performance or personal criticism that’s not relevant to the job. 

Constructive feedback

An example of good feedback is by being constructive, or so-called ‘constructive feedback.’ It’s aimed at supporting the candidate to improve their performance at interviews. It provides actionable and specific advice for the candidate in their following interview. It helps and uplifts the candidate rather than undermining them. Examples can range from pointing out communication errors to offering suggestions on giving better workplace examples. 

Generally, constructive feedback is associated with more results than non-constructive feedback. For instance, positive feedback examples can help provide a better candidate experience overall because it gives something valuable to the candidate, even if they did not get the job.

The value of receiving feedback from candidates

The importance of soliciting feedback from candidates is paramount to your HR processes. Feedback from candidates can help improve the hiring process within your organization. 

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Some practical techniques include: 

  • Set expectations early. Let candidates know their feedback is essential early. 
  • Actively listen to feedback. Prioritize listening to feedback and take suggestions seriously. 
  • Provide multiple channels for feedback. Let candidates choose how they respond. Some might prefer to respond in person immediately after the interview, whereas others may want to respond by email after the interview process ends. 

These are just some suggestions for incorporating candidate feedback into your HR process. 

What to Say in Interview Feedback

Examples of interview feedback 

1. Interview feedback to candidates during the process 

Screening interviews are the first hurdle for many prospective employees. Screening interviews filter out any unsuitable or unqualified candidates before the primary interview. 

What to say:

  • Express gratitude for their time. Applying for a job, editing a resume, and undergoing a screening interview can still be lengthy. Let the candidate know you value their time. 
  • Provide positive interview feedback by highlighting what the candidate did right in the interview or their suitability for the first round of the interview process, i.e., the screening interview. 
  • Let them know that this is the first stage of the interview process and that they still have more rounds to go through. 
  • Give them any relevant information on how to prepare for the primary interview, for example, any company information that could be useful to the candidate or an overview of the interview process. 
  • Let them know if their necessary technical documentation was up to scratch or if they needed more to progress to the main interview. 

What not to say: 

  • If they have succeeded at this stage, do not let the candidate think they’ve got the job just yet. Be clear and tell them they still have the main interview to complete first. 
  • Don’t be too negative if they don’t pass at this stage. Encourage them to reapply if they see another suitable role. 

Screening interview feedback example phrase 

“We feel that your qualifications and expertise are well-suited to what we are looking for and would like to invite you to the next round of interviews. This interview will consist of an assignment to be completed before the interview with the hiring manager and the head of the team. Should you be successful in this round, there will be a final interview with the head of the department.” 

2. Interview feedback to unsuccessful candidates 

It can be a daunting task to provide interview feedback to unsuccessful candidates. Here are some ways to approach the situation. 

What to say:

  • Be straightforward and let them know they didn’t get the job. But also convey the positive aspects, such as the achievement of making it through to the interview stage. 
  • Make a ‘good news’ sandwich. Provide some positive, constructive interview feedback first, then followed by constructive criticism, and then some more positive encouragement to build their confidence. 
  • Wish them good luck in their job search and let them know they are welcome to reapply for another role. 
  • Provide tangible examples of where they could improve in the interview, not generic feedback such as ‘motivation’ or ‘communication.’
  • Let them know if you feel their skills aren’t right for the role, and if possible, direct them to the types of jobs you feel they might be suited to.  

What not to say:

  • Don’t provide unconstructive feedback. Stay away from any topic that’s not related to their actual performance. 
  • Don’t criticize their lack of technical skills or ability to work in the role. 
  • Don’t be negative about their resume or reasons for applying. 

Unsuccessful interview feedback example phrase 

“While we value your time in applying for this role, unfortunately, you have been unsuccessful at this stage. We feel that we were looking for a different skillset to the one you are offering. However, we feel that you would be an excellent candidate for [X] and urge you to apply if you see a vacancy.” 

3. Interview feedback for hiring managers

Hiring managers may not be used to hearing criticism directed toward them. Yet, hearing positive interview feedback examples from HR can help them improve in an interview and provide a better candidate experience. 

What to say:

  • Be honest about where the hiring manager excelled and where there was room for improvement. 
  • Think about how how the interviewee reacted in the interview and what the hiring manager did to make the candidate feel relaxed or nervous.
  • Provide some constructive criticism for their following interview, for example, this could mean being more engaging by looking at the interviewee more or giving them enough time to answer questions. 

What not to say: 

  • Avoid offering personal criticism to hiring managers. This is just as unhelpful as unconstructive feedback is to candidates. 

 Hiring manager interview feedback example phrase

“I sometimes found it hard to tell if you were listening to the interviewee’s questions as you were writing notes a lot during their answers. It would have made the interview more engaging and put the interviewee at ease if you made more eye contact”. 

4. Interview feedback to successful candidates 

You’ve finally found your ideal candidate and are ready to give them the good news. Here are some tips on letting them know they got the job and what went well in the final interview.

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What to say:

  • Be direct. Let them know they got the job immediately, and highlight some of the great things they spoke about at the interview or highlighted on their resume.
  • Explain what they did that worked well and what stood out to you. 
  • Still provide constructive criticism. Even though they were successful, interviewing is still a skill to be developed, and it could be an opportunity to highlight where their weaknesses may lie and how you can help support the development of these.

What not to say:

  • Don’t be ambiguous. Let them know up front that they are being offered the job and why. 
  • Don’t be vague. Give them feedback on why they got the job and the skills they exhibited to get there.

 Successful candidate interview feedback example phrase 

“We are delighted to let you know that you have passed the interview and gotten the job. We loved how you demonstrated your knowledge to us. Your communication was clear, concise, and knowledgeable”. 

How HR can provide effective interview feedback

As demonstrated in this article, there are some Dos and Don’ts of interview feedback. Crucially, what counts is being precise, communicative, and not being too vague. This honest, clear communication type can help you establish a rapport as an HR professional and inspire trust. 

Candidate feedback 

Candidate feedback is most valuable when honest, clear, and precise. A candidate has no use for vague or generic feedback such as “need to improve communication” or “more experience required.” They cannot use this to help them prepare for their next role. 

Instead, feedback that focuses on specific behaviors, such as the quality of a candidate’s communication while answering a question, or their aptitude displayed in a test, has far more value in demonstrating what they do well. Therefore, technical interview feedback examples are more functional.

It’s also crucial to avoid any subjective and discriminatory feedback, for example, feedback that relates only to someone’s background, professional or otherwise, is unethical and not useful to anyone. For example, unconscious bias can be reduced by avoiding assumptions about someone’s background. 

Hiring manager feedback

Just as providing candidate feedback, honesty, communication, and not being vague are required when giving feedback to hiring managers. Everyone needs to know what they did and how they can improve. 

Empathy is necessary when evaluating anyone after an interview. Providing feedback that focuses on the role and offers improvement tips is more empathetic than vague advice. That’s because constructive feedback gives value to the hiring experience.

Key takeaways:

  • Empathy: Being empathetic means putting yourself in the shoes of others. Consider the feedback you would like to receive and provide it for others. 
  • Actionable insights: If it can’t be acted upon, it’s not useful. Actionable feedback is empathetic, and practical and helps promote your organization. 
  • Clarity: Being precise aids the candidate and hiring manager’s feedback, vagueness does not. 

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