Rhona Barnett-Pierce

RHONA PIERCE

Photo of Rhona Pierce, a Black woman, and the words: Create a Candidate Feedback Process. Newsletter #004

Today I want to walk you through how to quickly craft personalized feedback emails for candidates post-interview. Knowing how to do this is important for any recruiter–it significantly improves candidate experience, strengthens your employer brand, and can even turn a rejected candidate into a future top candidate or hire.

Unfortunately, many recruiters skip this step. They’re either too swamped with other tasks, unsure how to provide constructive feedback, or worried about legal implications.

Time Constraints: The Primary Challenge

Most of the recruiters I speak to say they don’t see how they could find the time to message every candidate who goes through the interview process. Some of the other reasons for not sending personalized feedback that I’ve heard are:

  • Fear of saying the wrong thing and facing legal consequences.
  • Uncertainty about what to include in the feedback.
  • Lack of access to or understanding of how to use interview notes and scorecards effectively.

But today I’m showing you the simple process I follow to send personalized feedback to every candidate. It takes me about 2 minutes per candidate.

Here’s how to do it, step by step:

Step 1: Gather Your Resources

Your main resources are interview notes and scorecards. If your interviewers have been trained correctly, these documents have all the necessary information.

  • Interview Notes: Look for key points about the candidate’s responses, demeanor, and specific examples that stood out.
  • Interview Scorecards: Use these for quantifiable data and to see how the candidate scored in different competencies.

 

When I partner with my hiring managers to build scorecards, we define what each score means and what the candidate needs to showcase to get a certain score. At that point I define a base template for feedback on each area we evaluate.

I can then use that base template to share feedback with a candidate. I customize it based on interview notes.

Step 2: Structure Your Feedback

Now, you can take the information that you gathered and put it into a structured format. The goal is for your feedback to be helpful and not vague. To do this, follow the CLEAR method:

  • C – Concise: Keep it short and to the point.
  • L – Legitimate: Base your feedback on observable facts, not opinions.
  • E – Empathetic: Be understanding and respectful.
  • A – Actionable: Offer suggestions for improvement. Include resources if you can.
  • R – Respectful: Ensure it’s unbiased and constructive.

Example: Instead of saying, “Overall, we felt you were lacking the necessary skills for this role,” say, “Your ability to think on your feet was impressive. However, gaining more experience with XYZ software can help you in roles like this one.”

Step 3: Write Your Email Efficiently & Keep Legal Happy

Start with a template. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel for every email. If you’re using an ATS, the only section of the email that you should have to edit is the feedback section. The rest can be the same for every candidate. If you’re not using an ATS, you can still use a template; just remember to change the candidate’s name.

Most legal departments get nervous when they hear recruiters will be sending personalized feedback. That’s their job. If you keep the following in mind, you will ease their nerves:

  • Be Factual: Stick to observable behaviors or responses from the interview.
  • Avoid Personal Opinions: Keep it professional and job-related.
  • Confidentiality: Don’t disclose information about other candidates or internal processes.

Step 4: Review & Send

Before hitting send:

  • Proofread: Check for clarity, tone, spelling, and grammar. Use tools like Grammarly.
  • Timing: Send it promptly after the interview so the experience is fresh on everyone’s mind.

Takeaways

  • Gather Data: Interview notes and scorecards are your best friends.
  • Structured Feedback: Follow the CLEAR method for effective communication.
  • Efficiency: Keep the email concise but informative.
  • Legal Safety: Be factual and professional to protect against legal issues.
  • Promptness: Timely feedback shows respect for the candidate’s time and effort.

By following these steps, you’re not just sending feedback; you’re providing a meaningful, constructive experience that respects the candidate’s effort and safeguards your company’s reputation.

Give it a try, and let me know how it goes.

See you next week!

 


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