Hiring /“…Not the right cultural fit”: How to give better interview feedback

“…Not the right cultural fit”: How to give better interview feedback

When interviewing candidates that aren’t suitable for a role, it’s easy to fall back on the ol’ “not the right cultural fit” excuse, rather than give in-depth feedback explaining why they’re not the one for the job – and most candidates can smell this BS a mile away.

Before you do, stop and put yourself in the candidate’s shoes for a second. They’ve spent hours, maybe even days, preparing for this interview and even though they’re not right for the job, their hard work and effort shouldn’t be disregarded. In order for them to improve and do better next time, they need to know where they went wrong. Makes sense, right?

But that’s not the only reason why sharing feedback is handy during the recruitment process. Candidates talk, the industry is small, so providing feedback to all candidates you interview will give a positive impression of your business.

Finally, whether you’re using a recruiter or an internal hiring manager, sharing the feedback with them also helps them to choose future candidates for you to interview. Maybe the candidate didn’t have the right attitude or not enough experience – the feedback you give means they can be strategic with their candidate search, rather than just serving up similar candidates and you nixing them.

Want to make sure you’re giving useful feedback for both candidates and recruiters/hiring managers? Here are our tips:


Take notes during the interview

We’re not telling anyone to suck eggs here, but it’s a vital part of the process that some forget to do. Taking notes will help you remember what you really liked about the candidate, but also what areas they were lacking in (and ultimately the reasons why you’re not going ahead with them). Refer back to your notes when giving candidate feedback.


Pair shortcomings with praise

While it’s important to be honest, it can be easy to stray into harshness if you’re only focusing on the negatives and what candidates need to improve on. A nicer and kinder way to give feedback is share your reasons why they weren’t successful with some of the things that you liked about the candidate. Think something along the lines of, “I thought you were great when (enter instance here) I felt you were lacking (enter instance here) and that’s something that the person in this role needs.”


Back up your feels with detail

It’s fine to say something like, “you didn’t have the right skills” or “your portfolio wasn’t right for our brand”. But take it one step further and actually go into the skills (or whatever it is) that they’re lacking. The more details and examples you can provide, the better for both the candidate and your hiring manager/recruiter as they look for more candidates.


Don’t delay in giving feedback

Giving feedback may not be high on your priority list, but for candidates and recruiters or hiring managers, receiving feedback is close to the top of theirs! Do it while the interview is fresh in your mind (within 24-48 hours) and then it’s off your to-do list and you can get back to your everyday work. It’ll take 5-10 minutes tops.


What if “not the right cultural fit” is the real reason?

Then explain it! Talk about the culture at your company and how you felt it wouldn’t be suitable for the candidate. Or perhaps you can’t provide them what they are looking for in their next role, or that the reasons they are leaving their previous role are also prevalent in the role they are interviewing for. Back up your statement so the candidate doesn’t feel like it’s a cop out.


Ready to do some hiring (and give great feedback)? We can help you find the talent you need across the creative / marketing / PR / digital space – just get in touch with our expert team of consultants today at hello@creativenatives.com.au.