Recruiters are reporting being ghosted by candidates. While this is frustrating, it’s entirely possible that we’re part of the problem. On Episode 87 of The Talent & Growth Podcast we were joined by Helen Murdoch, the Talent Acquisition Manager at MPB, who explained the importance of feedback in building healthy relationships with candidates and improving their experience of the hiring process. Read on to level up your own recruitment practices. 

Why is improving the candidate experience through feedback so important? 

People want to do better. Giving candidates feedback feels like a really awkward thing to do, and asking them for feedback can feel uncomfortable too. There’s an element of the time that it takes. Without that, though, you don’t have the power to make changes. People get stuck in this cycle of doing what they’re doing and hoping for the best. Talent teams are stretched, talent partners are stretched, recruiters are stretched. It’s this constant cycle of not having enough time, but what feedback does is provide knowledge that saves me more time down the line.

When you’re gathering feedback, you need to get it from all of your candidates. If you get your feedback from the people that you’ve hired it’s always going to be positive, because they’ve got the job. What you’re missing out on is the person who was the runner up, or who you interviewed in your first cohort who didn’t get the position. Ask what they think of that process. It’s insightful to know that. I’ve been able to give solutions to candidates who want more personalised feedback, or for the process being faster. It’s about looking at that whole candidate journey, not just your successful people.

How can we use feedback from candidates to improve and impact the service we’re delivering? 

Feedback is powerful. I’ve been using a lot of the comments to understand what’s going well. People like the fact that we’ve got a real human touch to our process. They want more personalised feedback, so I’ve changed my automated email to include more information and give more personalised feedback whilst prioritising time as a factor. It’s been a rewarding experience to get the positives and turn the negatives around. It’s improved the service that I deliver, because I can engage with candidates as a human being. Feedback helps me develop as a person, and it’s giving candidates a voice. 

Understanding what your candidates want changes everything. It gives me an understanding of what they want when I’m posting a job. What it is may not be obvious to someone who doesn’t have the knowledge of the business that I have. When you’re in a job search it’s emotive because you might be living paycheck to paycheck, struggling mentally or things like that. When you get a rejection it feels awful, but if you have the opportunity to talk to someone and get some tips on how to improve, that can be a really positive thing. That’s why feedback is so important, because it helps us make the system better for the people who are going through it. 

What are your top rules for feedback?

Always be open to what candidates say. If you’re kind of scared about going on this journey, know that it will pay off in the long term, because you’re going to learn from it. Don’t take it personally, like I did. You have to step back and realise that it has nothing to do with you. Recruiters are massively empathetic people and we deal with people in a difficult transition of their lives, who do often give very emotional feedback. We are naturally scared of those negatives because we always want to secure someone that dream job that they want, we want to help our candidates achieve their goals. When they don’t secure it though, giving them feedback and asking how you can do better will either improve your process or reconfirm that you’re actually doing a good job, they just weren’t the right fit. It’s all about improvement, just remember that. 

To hear more about how Helen has implemented feedback to improve her own process as a recruiter, tune into Episode 87 of The Talent & Growth Podcast here. 

On Talent & Growth we speak to talent leaders about the challenges they face and their solutions for attraction and retention. If you’re interested in hearing about how companies are building a more diverse talent pool, how you can attract top people from the big players, ways to create a more inclusive interview process or learn about the latest and greatest automation software to make your life easier, then this is the podcast for you.