Working in HR or a managerial role requires individuals to create job posts, assess candidates and eventually make the best hiring decisions for their company or department. A vital part of the process is giving feedback for interviews to other company personnel to aid in hiring decisions. By taking the time to learn more about how to write useful feedback from interviews, you can provide valuable insights to your colleagues about a candidate's interpersonal and technical skills.
In this article, we explain what interview feedback is, explore why it's crucial, review how to write it and furnish examples of what to include in feedback for an interview.
What is interview feedback?
Interview feedback is the process where interviewers make thorough notes about a candidate's replies and traits to discuss with their hiring team. They take notes immediately after the interview and edit them throughout the day as they get more time to reflect on the interview. In their notes, they summarise a candidate's reply to each question and include their opinion of a candidate. Once that's done, the remaining members of the hiring team receive copies and use the feedback when making the final recruitment decisions.
Why is feedback for an interview important?
Such information can be important for a few reasons. These are some ways you and your employer can benefit from such feedback:
- Assists interviewers in organising their thoughts: after interviewing a candidate, interviewers need time to think more about a candidate and their employable characteristics. The notes may allow interviewers to document everything they can remember, which includes first impressions or interesting responses.
- Helps coworkers make good hiring decisions: hiring teams can refer to such documents to make important judgements and assessments of candidates, especially when they're written in-depth. For certain companies, the hiring process may take a longer amount of time, so this feedback can serve as a good record no matter how much time has elapsed since the interview.
- Provides candidates with meaningful data about their professional attributes: a document with feedback from the interview can help you in relating your reasons for choosing to hire or dismiss a candidate. For professionals who didn't manage to secure the position, you may send the information in a candidate dismissal email or give them a few positive comments to show them they possess impressive communication skills, enthusiasm or technical expertise.
Related: How To Prepare for an Interview
How to give feedback after an interview
In the midst of preparing feedback gathered from an interview, it's important that you adopt the right format. Here's how to give feedback in writing to accurately display a candidate's qualifications for a job:
1. Make notes on the interview question sheet
While the conversation is still new in your mind, it's best to type or write your feedback out. You can work on a shared document or workspace so that everyone's updated about a particular candidate. These notes can include your initial impressions of the interviewee and their ability to contribute to the organisation. You may also have an interview question sheet in which you give results with a scoring chart, recording their strengths and weaknesses.
2. Revisit and add to your notes after a few hours
This step is critical because a few hours can be sufficient time to contemplate and process the interaction. You may even form different opinions compared to how you've interpreted and assessed the candidate initially. Reorganise the notes you've made so that they are understandable and concise, which can be particularly important if there are many potential hires.
3. Refer to how the job description relates to the candidate's qualifications
By referring to the job posting, you can ensure consistency in the way you rate and review the candidates for a particular role. This also allows you to write more quickly and efficiently, while reminding you what exactly you're looking for in a possible hire. Recording relevant information can also help in omitting biases in the selection of your ideal candidate.
4. Take extra notes about whether a candidate displayed role requirements
It may be challenging trying to stay engaged in the session and taking notes concurrently. You may make better evaluations by focusing on capturing the necessary information. This can mean staying more alert when the person is demonstrating role requirements. Be it paying attention to what the candidate is saying or showing in terms of body language, you can take these additional notes, so you're also more likely to remember the person and what transpired during the interview.
5. Consolidate your notes
After your interview sessions with multiple candidates, make sure you structure all your feedback clearly and with a standardised format or template. This can aid you and the recruitment team in comprehending and reviewing all the feedback. Create a well-structured document by incorporating your first assessment of the candidate, an overview of their strengths and areas for improvement and a definitive statement on whether you believe they can fulfil the role in question.
How do you write feedback for an interview in an email?
In crafting feedback through email, you may be expected to generate more comprehensive notes and analysis. Apart from relating only the important information, you may also include one or all of these elements:
First impressions of the candidate
While you may use a rating scale to submit an organised feedback document, you may mention what attracted your attention about the candidate. This can also mean sharing your first impression. You can reflect on their character or personality, and if your impression changed or remained constant throughout the meet.
Insights into both interpersonal and technical skills
With the goal of making comprehensive hiring decisions, note the candidate's soft and hard skills. This can be especially pertinent if certain skills are required to do the job well, so make sure to observe and listen carefully.
In the process of writing feedback from an interview, provide balanced information on the candidate's soft and hard skills, so the hiring team can properly evaluate their potential as an employee. For example, if you mention a candidate has great interpersonal and teamwork skills, make sure you also speak about their expertise with project management software and data analysis.
Synopsis of the interview experience
You may include a synopsis that details how the session went and how a candidate presented themselves. You can use this when comparing several shortlisted candidates. The summary can answer the following questions:
- Did they respond to your questions directly?
- Were they distracted or focused during the interview?
- Were they keen to understand more about the position, the department and organisation?
- Would this individual be a person you'd enjoy working with every day?
Clear recommendations moving forward
These suggestions typically come after the summary portion. Present your perspective on whether you think the candidate is a match for the role. This may appear subjective, so you can elaborate on your choice. Ensure this part is constructive and definitive by making clear decisions.
How do you write an interview feedback example?
This example can give you a better understanding regarding how to structure your own evaluation:
From the start, Amanda appeared slightly shy or reserved, but when we started the interview, she showed herself to be an expressive, well-read professional. Throughout our meeting, she displayed extensive knowledge of marketing and advertising, as highlighted by her past roles. She's also finished extensive research on social media advertising analytics and gave me detailed examples of how a business can leverage data to make major changes to their marketing and advertising efforts.
In general, I think Amanda is a fantastic candidate for the position of marketing manager. She's experienced, she's enthusiastic, and she's a great multitasker. I believe she could provide valuable insights into our marketing strategy. I suggest we schedule Amanda for a group interview and start discussing salary expectations.
Tips in giving comments from an interview
These are some tips pertaining to giving effective interviewer comments:
- Offer brief, actionable comments, such as giving clear instances of when the candidate displayed certain strengths and weaknesses.
- Report the entire recruitment process for an objective and comprehensive overview of the candidate.
- Adopt a conversational tone of voice, and it may help if you're tasked to present your feedback in a debrief session.
- Use technology to ensure feedback documents are accessible by the hiring team.
- Automate the feedback sharing process by notifying interviewers after they conduct their interviews to leave their feedback.