candidate feedback

One of my favorite blogs is Ask A Manager, written by Alison Green.   Recently, she (re)ran a post about candidate feedback.  Because I thought it was worthy of sharing, I posted the link on Facebook and it generated some conversation; some friends believe that candidates are entitled to feedback; others, like me, don’t believe they are.

If our small human resources office gets 80-100 applicants per job, and every single candidate wanted feedback on why he/she didn’t get the job, that is all we would spend our time doing.

We don’t have that kind of time.

There are times when I answer the phone and, if asked nicely, will try and provide some feedback, if appropriate.  Some candidates take it nicely; but when candidates get argumentative and even combative, that’s when I regret answering the phone.

So some suggestions. 

If I answer the phone:

1.  Ask if there is anything that could have set your materials apart.  Many times, the candidate we hired brought a knowledge, skill, or ability that we didn’t even ask for (bilingual/unique software/educational experience).   Sometimes the answer will be no and please accept that.

2.  Don’t argue with me.  If I suggest that your cover letter could have included more content, don’t tell me I am wrong.

3.  Don’t name drop.  I am always thrilled to know who you know but my job is find the best qualified candidates for the job, not the best networked individual.

4.  Be nice.  Thank me for my time.  If you are gracious and professional, I may remember you for other opportunities.  If you aren’t nice, I will remember you, too.

If I don’t answer the phone or can’t call you back:

1.  Double, triple, quadruple check your stuff.  Ask or pay a proofreader to check your stuff.  With as many applicants as we get, stuff with typos may be the first cut.

2.  Check with your Career development office, if your college or university has one.

3.  Check with the Unemployment office for resources to help.  The state of Michigan has terrific resources at the EDD.  

4.  Check your local library.  In Kent County, our library runs resume workshops frequently.

My best to you in your job search.
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