We will get back to you!

Walking out of an interview

Notification tone and a Linkedin Message. There’s this girl I interviewed two months back.

Hi, Max, how are you doing? We met some two months ago regarding that product role. I understand you might have already found a better talent, or this might have gone on hold. But I would still like to seek your feedback on the discussion we had.

First thought that hit my mind was, “Hell, how she can come back after two months. She could have asked this earlier. “

This was a Vice President role. We had three rounds with her, and last call went was of asking for another discussion but then we never got back to her.

On other perspective, she had courage to come back and ask for feedback. Of all likelihood, this can be scripted conversation about follow-up on what happened about her eligibility or maybe she’s genuinely interested to know what exactly was missing.

There are many such instances where candidates are struggling to get feedback on their interviews but have no clue as what went wrong or is it something beyond them, internal or external. Very few of them can make out from the interview progress that they will never get a call. But in other cases, it becomes a black hole about how they are doing and what’s the missing trait that’s impacting their conversion rate.

This implies a lot of responsibility for recruiters who are face of a company and reaching out to multi-fold candidates for generally one or two vacancies. No harm, its good to get best talent available but what about 99% who are not selected. Leaving them in dilemma of whether it’s them or the company, why can’t we communicate specific feedback on the trait or quality which you are looking but they could not reflect impressively.

Speaking to one of such recruiters tells me that, we don’t want to be specific, as candidate may come back and try explaining, which is effort consuming, and we would not want to get into. Other HR professional clarified, it’s because indicating a skill might be missing for us but that can be candidate’s strength in some other role. We do not want to deviate him from his strengths. But we certainly need to have some basic ritual of helping these millions of professionals who struggles with rejections without even knowing why it happened and delaying their success for lack of feedback. Let’s see how and what can happen better for either side

1. Tell them that they will get the feedback with approximate duration & do share

Most candidates leave interview location with standard parting script, we will get back to you. Beauty is that no one means this and both knows. Underlined message is “If we don’t come back then take it as rejection” which is not fair. Why leave a space for assumptions and play with emotion quotient unnecessarily?

2. Stay flexible with timeline but have one

As we said, “We will get back to you” never happens in at least 90% cases and rest 10% there is no defined timeline of coming back. The reason one of my HR colleague gave is there are so many stakeholders before we shortlist or finalize the candidate. Everyone takes their own sweet time prioritizing other business exigencies. Okey, then this hiring is not urgent, perfect. Tell it to candidate; This may take 4–5 weeks for us to come back to you about the outcome. Nothing bad in that except you want to say 3 or 6 months, not fair.

3. Avoid Stereotype

“You’re rejected” it hits hard. But it’s important to communicate the outcome. If someone is rejected, It’s okey. One came prepared with 50- 50 probability of getting selected or rejected, except he came with reference of a job guarantee. Say it all, in a nice, polite and empathetic way. Need not be cheesy to say “Sorry about it” or “We are not compatible for each other”. A simple “Your Product Manager — interview Status update” should do.

4. Leave a room

Try to leave a room for candidates to not discard the company permanently. Give it a relevance that this was a thoughtful invite, but specific skills couldn’t match. It may be difficult to point out any improvement area in 30–40 minutes discussion so micro assessment of skill set cannot be justified. For some selected leadership profile where you don’t struggle with capacity to answer, it’s good to leave an open note about reaching out to you in case you would want a specific feedback about how your discussion went. An innovative, wild thought though; Try it out.

Very simplistic process flow to change the entire perspective of how recruitment process happens and making it far more transparent and friendly. Rate of unemployment and job uncertainty are already sky-high for pool of candidates and selected opportunities to meet that demand. One should try all mediums to make such agonies less intense for anyone.

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