The Hearing Back And The Feedback

Hearing back and receiving feedback are two big differentiating factors between a positive and negative candidate experience

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Apr 17, 2024

Hearing back and getting feedback after an interview is crucial, as it can greatly influence a candidate’s experience, positively or negatively. Let me share two stories illustrating the significance of hearing back and getting feedback.

The TA Leader

After listening to yet another TA leader tell me how bad their candidate experience has been the past three months, he mentioned the need for persistent follow-up even if he felt apologetic about it (he is apologetic about it). I told him he should always follow up professionally and relentlessly and not be apologetic about it (although I’m that way, too). Despite agreeing with my advice, he felt conflicted when the recruiter was diligent, but hiring managers or TA leadership caused delays.

My Daughter

The TA leader’s journey prompted me to think about one of our teenage daughters who applied for her first paid job. She wants to be a paid summer camp counselor at the same camp she’d been a volunteer junior leader for the past two years, where the kids loved her. Even though the application had to be printed out and completed (just like the past two years), it was straightforward (with a little help from Mom).

After she applied came the waiting. Our local parks and recreation department has limited staff and also relies on volunteers, but after a couple of weeks of not hearing back, our daughter was a little anxious. Normal. She asked us if she should follow up, and I gave her a resounding “yes,” just like I told the TA leader above. Do it professionally and relentlessly follow up, and don’t be apologetic about it (or try not to be – my daughter, like me, is apologetic).

Our teen daughter is Gen Z. As I wrote in my recent article, The Future Looks Bright-ish for Gen Z Candidate Experience, well, the future looks bright-ish for Gen Z candidate experience—emphasis on the -ish.

The Waiting Game

Waiting to hear back is a drag, and too many have to. And not just Gen Z either, although in our CandE Benchmark Research, Gen Z waiting 1-2+ months to hear back after applying has increased by 67% since 2022 (based on our North American data). It’s important to note that we’re still collecting data for 2024, so that may change for Gen Z as well as Millennials and Gen X. I’m only including those generations because Millennials and Gen X make up the majority of the workplace today, followed by Boomers and Gen Z, and Gen Z is about to take over that number 3 spot.

% of Candidates Still Waiting to Hear Back After 1-2+ Months After Applying

So, my daughter followed up and thankfully got a response that they were behind on reviewing applications. This is normal but frustrating for adults and teens alike. Soon after, they reviewed the applications and contacted her to schedule her interview, which she did in person. Before her interview, we coached her, and she thought she did pretty well.

And now, more waiting—just like the TA leader above (who’s Gen X like me)—waiting and waiting. At some point, both my Gen Z daughter and the Gen X TA leader will either get an offer or get a rejection. If they get rejected, what should they expect?

Ask For Feedback

The TA leader agrees that he should get feedback on why, job fit/qualification feedback. My daughter should be hired as a camp counselor, but if she’s not, I will tell her she should get feedback on why. And if she doesn’t, I recommend asking for it. She’s not going to be comfortable doing that and may not do it, but I’m going to recommend it nonetheless.

According to our benchmark data, most candidates don’t get feedback, but Gen Z continues to tell us they get more feedback. More than Millennials and Gen X.

% of Candidates Who Received Feedback After the Interview But No Longer Being Considered

However, when you asked any of the generations if they felt the feedback was valuable, only 25%- 35% said yes (based on our North American data). That’s another subjective story for another time.

Here’s Where The Story Ends And Begins

In the meantime, hearing back and receiving feedback are two big differentiating factors between a positive and negative candidate experience. They always result in higher positive candidate experience ratings, including willingness to refer.

I’m pulling for both my daughter and the TA leader in this article to get these jobs. Depending on their relevant applicable experience, how well they interviewed, and how competent the interviewers are will ultimately determine whether or not they have a shot at an offer. However, the ongoing relative odds for most candidates, even those highly qualified, is that they won’t get the job, but hopefully, they’ll at least hear back and get the feedback they deserve.

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