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The importance of giving candidates feedback

When clients are recruiting it’s due to a variety of reasons but most of these amount to the fact that both interviewers and HR will be busy in an effort to service business needs. The need to recruit new members of staff generally means that an aspect of the business is not being serviced efficiently resulting in existing members of staff working in excess of their reasonable capacity. They are, quite simply, very busy.

It is vital that a client recruits the appropriate member of staff out of what will likely be a pool of candidates that have been interviewed. When the successful candidate has been made an offer there is, amongst other things, a sense of relief that strength has been added to the team and that the existing members’ stresses will shortly be alleviated when the new addition joins the team.

With so much focus on ensuring that the successful candidates’ expectations are managed before they formally commence employment, whilst at the same continuing to meet business demands, there is sometimes the unintended consequence of failing to maintain the expectations of the unsuccessful candidates; those who made the effort to apply for the role and then find the time attend an interview by invitation, generally at the cost of using precious annual leave.

The knock on effect of this is that feedback on their performance at interview, as well that the actual decision in relation to whether they‘ve been successful or not, losses momentum. Candidates chase recruiters who aren’t able to provide substantive feedback. We then need to chase clients who have turned their attention to more pressing business needs. Sometimes the unsuccessful candidates get lost in the ether and when delayed feedback is eventually relayed the damage has already been done.

Candidates will have reservations about applying for alternative roles at a firm that has failed to provide any feedback following an unsuccessful interview. They will no doubt relay this lack of communication onto their friends, colleagues and peers. When this happens on more than one occasion to candidates who’ve interviewed at the same firm it begins to resonate with prospective candidates. Word gets around the close knit legal communities during lunch hour discussions or after work drinks. This has the potential to make an even greater number of prospective candidates wary of applying to a firm in the future and focus their attention elsewhere, meaning that some firms generally then end up operating from a reduced pool of potential recruits.

Another common grumble is when firms give a date for when a decision about a candidate will be made only for it to then pass. Candidates easily become disillusioned, sometimes thinking that they are a reserve choice. This runs the risk of candidates looking at alternative roles thereby creating a danger that firms will lose out on their number one choice.

This is an issue with which I’ve had mentioned to me on numerous occasions from a variety of candidates and the consistent message from all of these people is this; we don’t mind about being unsuccessful, we just want to know why and in a timely manner, regardless of how busy you are!

For more information please contact Matt Robinson or visit our website BCL Legal.

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