How to Give Interview Feedback in 2023, with Examples - Herd Digital

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How to Give Interview Feedback for Digital Marketing Interview with Examples

How To Give Interview Feedback

If you’re new to being involved in your business’s hiring process, you might be wondering how to properly evaluate someone through the hiring process. Because giving interview feedback is simple. 

But giving interview feedback that helps guide your hiring process to the most qualified candidate, while remaining impartial and unbiased can be a bit more challenging.

But before we get started, what is interview feedback, and why does giving interview feedback actually matter for your business or agency?

What is Interview Feedback?

Interview feedback is the feedback that you give to a candidate about how they did in their interview. This will include whether you are moving forward with them in the hiring process, and the reasons for your decision.

These reasons can be based around:

  • The candidate’s answer to questions.
  • The skills that they posses, or lack.
  • The qualities that make them a good fit for the role.
  • And whether they are a strong cultural fit for the business.

These are notes that are typically made during or at the end of the interview, and are then refined after. Especially if there are multiple interviewers to discuss a candidate’s suitability.

Why Does Interview Feedback Matter?

Interview feedback can be important for a variety of reasons: And not just to the candidate and aiding in their development, but also to your business and to your hiring process.

It Preserves Your Industry Reputation

Giving interview feedback to candidates you choose not to move forward with in the hiring process can be essential to maintaining your own industry reputation.

If your business has a habit of not giving any feedback, or even worse ghosting candidates midway through the process, then word may get around. Which can for obvious reasons, have a negative impact on your hiring and recruitment.

Giving interview feedback is obviously a nice thing to do for someone who has given up their time to interview for your business. But it also has multiple benefits for your own hiring process.

It Strengthens Candidate Relationships

Conversely, giving interview feedback to the candidates you interview can have a positive impact for your hiring in the future. Because while these candidates aren’t right for your business right now, they may well be in the future.

It Can Help Improve Your Decision Making

Giving proper interview feedback helps to improve your hiring process by ensuring that you give due and fair consideration to each and every candidate you interview.

It also helps to consolidate your own thoughts. Writing down during the interview what you thought of the candidate, gives you notes to refer back to.

And when you are interviewing candidate after candidate, it can be all too easy to forget small details that could be the deciding factor between two competing candidates.

Helps to Identify Areas of Weakness Within Your Hiring Process

Giving detailed feedback to candidates can also help you identify any negative patterns in your hiring process or potential areas of weakness.

This could be a task that is too hard, which is asking too much of the candidates: It could be that no candidates are presenting themselves well in the interview because of feeling under too much pressure: Or it could be too many interviews causing candidates to become burnt out through the process.

All of these can only be found out from speaking with the interviewees and giving the proper interview feedback.

Interview Feedback Best Practice

Following these interview feedback best practices will help to ensure that you give fair and impartial interview feedback. Which in turn will help you hire the best candidate for the role and give unsuccessful candidates feedback that will be a benefit to their careers.

1. Make Notes of Impressive or Memorable Moments During the Interview Process

One of the simplest and best pieces of advice we can give, is to make notes during the interview as you go along. 

Interviews can be long, and filled with information. And when you have multiple interviews to conduct in a short amount of time, details slip through the cracks.

Which is why it’s a great idea to note down anything memorable that the candidate says during the interview: Whether a positive or a negative. 

Some agencies and businesses we work with also use a scoring or grading system to judge how well a candidate answers questions during the interview.

This also helps by giving you something to refer back to after the interview, making sure you’re as impartial as possible, and to prevent recency bias.

2. Make Note of Your First and Last Impressions

Interviews are a stressful experience, and sometimes candidates don’t give the best first impression.

But as they become more settled into the interview, their personality, demeanour and overall impression that they make will change over the course of the interview.

So it’s important not to place all your faith in their first impression. We advise making a note of the first and last impressions you have of the candidate, to try and gauge a more accurate representation of the candidate’s personality. 

Instead of all that you remember being a candidate’s initial, awkward impression.

3. Consolidate Your Notes at the End of the Interview

Of course you’re not going to be making the world’s most detailed notes during the interview. After all, you should probably be focused on the person in front of you.

So take time to consolidate your notes at the end of the interview and organise your thoughts to make sure you don’t miss anything important. This is also the time to discuss the candidate and your notes with any other interviewers.

4. Use Standardised and Measurable Questions in the Interview

Intrinsic to giving proper feedback that truly reflects a candidate’s suitability for the position, is the questions you use in the interview.

If the questions you ask a candidate differ from interview to interview, then you won’t be able to give an equal consideration to each candidate and will have an unfair hiring process.

The feedback you give to each candidate will naturally be different. Some feedback will focus on not being a cultural fit for the business, some might be because the candidate didn’t have the necessary experience.

But if your feedback is different because some candidates are being asked questions that others aren’t, then it can be a sign you need to reevaluate your hiring process.

5. Make an Overview of their Hard and Soft Skills

Too often we find that employers focus on hard skills, because they can be much easier to measure. And, after all, whether the candidates possess the technical ability to do the job at hand, is crucially important to find out.

But soft skills can be equally as important. Leadership skills, client communication, team management, presentation and customer service are all soft skills that are crucial to success as you progress in a digital agency.

So making sure that someone moving into a PPC Director role is an expert on data analysis is all well and good, but client communication and team management are skills that are often much more important in a PPC Director’s day-to-day.

So sitting down and making a comprehensive overview of both their hard and soft skills will help you to gauge the true 

6. Measure the Candidate to the Job Description

After the interview you should cross reference the candidate and the interview feedback you have made, against the job description. 

This can ensure that the feedback you give properly reflects the skills, experience and requirements that you’re asking for in the job description.

And it can also help to make sure that the candidate isn’t missing any essential skills, helps to remove any personal bias you have about the candidate from the process, and make sure that your job advert and description isn’t missing any important requirements. 

For example, let’s say you’re not moving forward with a candidate and rejecting them from the process because they lack a certain skill or experience. But when you cross reference with the job description, it doesn’t ask for this specific skill. 

This is a sign that you may need to update your job description to prevent wasting any more time or effort interviewing unqualified candidates.

7. Compare the Candidates to Each Other

An obvious piece of the interview feedback process is to compare the candidates to one another.

If you have done a scorecard or graded the answers of each candidate, this will give you a clear indicator on which candidate gave the best answers in the interview, and will be the best person for the role. While helping to remove any of your own personal bias or preferences from the equation.

Sometimes however, you don’t have the luxury of measuring candidates against one another: If you don’t have any other candidates in the process for example. But you can also compare them to past candidates if you keep that data in your system.

8. Review the Feedback and Make Your Decision

Once you’ve properly evaluated the candidates and compiled your feedback, it’s time to review and make your decision. 

The decision making process should include everyone who was involved in the process, and following the above steps will help to ensure you make an impartial decision that hires the best candidate for the position.

9. Give the Feedback to the Candidate

When you’ve made your decision, you should give the feedback to the candidate via email, over the phone, or via video call. Although we advise against sending it via email.

Because while it can be more time consuming giving interview feedback over the phone, email can seem a bit more impersonal and less effort. And if a candidate has had multiple interviews and completed a task for your business, that extra effort can go a long way.

Especially if the candidate isn’t right for your business right now, but may be later in their careers. Putting in the extra effort with interview feedback now, can pay dividends in the future.

Interview Feedback Examples

Of course, it’s always helpful to see some real-world examples for different interview feedback that you can give. So we’ve given a few different examples of interview feedback that cover communication skills, technical proficiency, cultural fit, teamwork and collaborative skills and problem solving and adaptability skills.

Positive Interview Feedback Examples

Let’s start with the positive interview feedback examples, for when someone excelled in an area that is important to the role and to your business.

  • Communication Skills: “Communication is key to this role as you’ll be working closely with clients, and we thought that you communicated and articulated your answers very well.”
  • Technical Proficiency: “You showed a strong understanding of Data Analysis, and impressed us with the examples of how you have used data analysis skills to great effect in previous agencies.”
  • Cultural Fit: “You presented yourself well throughout the interview process and we think you would be a great cultural fit for the business. We pride ourselves on our social and collaborative work environment, and your previous experience shows that you work well in a setting like ours.”
  • Teamwork and Collaborative Skills: “Your previous experience in cross-team collaboration will be incredibly useful as a full-service agency. We need someone who will be able to collaborate with other digital marketing teams within the agency.”
  • Problem Solving and Adaptability Skills: “While some of the questions about your presentation seemed to catch you off guard, we were impressed with how you thought on your feet. Problem solving is an essential part of this role, so it is a necessary skill to have.”

Constructive Interview Feedback Examples

Sometimes the interview feedback you give isn’t so positive. But what you can do is suggest ways for the candidate to improve either their professional experience, or their interview techniques:

  • Communication Skills: “While we believe you possess the necessary knowledge for the position, we felt that you didn’t communicate or articulate yourself as well as we needed. We would suggest working on your presentation skills, as this held you back from being successful in your application.”
  • Technical Proficiency: “You expressed interest in moving into a Biddable Manager position, but lacked the necessary experience in Paid Search advertising. We would suggest gaining experience in this area to increase your chances of finding success in the future.”
  • Cultural Fit: “Our agency is focused on collaboration and working together, however you seemed much more focused on remote working, and we’re not sure that you would be happy here. We’d suggest being open to the opportunity of hybrid work to find further success in interviewing.”
  • Teamwork and Collaborative Skills: “From some of the answers in your interview it was clear that you have had trouble working as part of a team in the past. In the future we would advise against focusing on this in interviews, instead discussing the difficulties you encountered and how you worked to overcome them.”
  • Problem Solving and Adaptability Skills: “Some of the questions about your presentation seemed to catch you off guard and you struggled to give solid answers. In future interviews we would advise being better prepared to answer on-the-fly questions.”

Negative Interview Feedback Examples

And of course, when you reject someone from the process it’s because they’re not suitable. But when you give negative feedback, you don’t want it to be too negative.So here’s some negative interview feedback examples for you to give to your unsuccessful candidates.

  • Communication Skills: “While we believe you possess the necessary knowledge for the position, we felt that you didn’t communicate or articulate yourself as well as we needed. Given the client facing nature of the role, we need someone who will be able to perform under pressure.”
  • Technical Proficiency: “Unfortunately, you failed to show the level of expertise that we needed to see from you to be confident that you would be successful in the position.”
  • Cultural Fit: “While you were a fit for the role with your technical ability, we’re not sure that you would be a cultural fit for the business. All of your previous work has been remote and working as an individual: Whereas our work here is all in-office and working as part of a team.”
  • Teamwork and Collaborative Skills: “Being able to work as an effective part of a team is crucial to finding success in this position. Unfortunately we didn’t feel that you had much interest in collaborative work efforts, and with your lack of experience working in a team, we don’t think you’re as strong a fit as some of our other candidates.”
  • Problem Solving and Adaptability Skills: “When we gave you a hypothetical question about an area of your presentation, you struggled to provide a proficient answer. Given the likelihood of clients asking questions during presentations, we’re looking for someone with better problem solving and adaptability skills.”

And there you have it. The complete guide to giving interview feedback that not only is a nice thing to do for the candidates you interview, but also helps you to hire in the future and improves your own hiring process.

Of course if you work with us, then we deliver the interview feedback for you, as just one of the many bonuses and perks of working with a recruitment partner. To see what else we can do for your business, read here or get in touch today!

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