The inside story of why HR does not give clear feedback after a job interview


This article aims to provide insight into typical interview feedback we receive from HR which is like "We will get back to you" and many more such answers even if interview outcome is negative. It tries to answer what can be different interpretations of such a feedback for a candidate.

Introduction

Many of us would have attended different interviews during course of our careers and might be aware of feedback we get from company HR or hiring managers after the interview if interview outcome is not positive. Yes right! We never get clear cut answers of Yes/No but, instead, there are a number of different inconclusive answers given most common of which is "We will get back to you or HR will get in touch for furthur process". Based on different situations during interview process there are many other answers that are framed by HR and hiring managers as below:

Feedback to expect after unsuccessful interviews

  • Situation 1- First round of interview is over and candidate is not found fit.
  • Feedback from interviewer: "Well, thanks for your time. You can leave for the day now". There was going to be second round with my manager but today he is stuck in an important meeting so it will be scheduled next week. "
    Final outcome: Second round never gets scheduled.
  • Situation 2: HR has already scheduled the interview for future date but may be after scheduling position got filled or was put on hold.
  • Feedback from HR: "Sorry to say that interview needs to be rescheduled to some other day as panel is not available. We will get back to you with updated schedule."
    Final outcome: Interview is never rescheduled.
  • Situation 3- Candidate has attended two to three rounds after which interviewer feels that he is not fit for the role.
  • Feedback from the interviewer: "We are in process of conducting more interviews and meet more candidates in in next 1 week. After this we will analyse the feedbacks and the you can expect to hear from us".
    Final outcome: Candidate never hears back.
  • Situation 4- After attending interview rounds candidate has not heard from HR for 2 weeks since interview as he might have been rejected. Then candidate who is not aware of the outcome calls up HR to get the feedback.
  • Answer from HR : " I am very sorry I could not update you all these days. Actually all the hiring managers are attending multiple trainings since last 10 days and are very busy so I have not got any feedback from them. Once they are free from training which is supposed to be another 5 days more I will talk to them and definitely get back to you with feedback."
    Final outcome: HR never comes back with feedback.


So what does this actually mean to a candidate

I am not sure how many of you might have come across these kinds of answers but whole idea is to give novice interview candidates an idea that if interview outcome is not positive than in majority of the cases they are not likely to receive clear feedback from HR and hiring managers. Their responses will be something like above and as the candidates gather experience in attending interviews year after year they should be mature enough to interpret these feedback using their own intelligence and common sense.

Having said all this let me make it clear that its not always that you will get such indirect feedback but there are times when HR or hiring manager are pretty honest to convey you that you are not matching to their requirements and they will not be able to take the process further. As per me it is really appreciated when HR gives honest feedback about interview to a candidate even if its negative as at least they are not keeping candidate in dark and he or she can move on from there and prepare for further interviews and not get into false hope and keep on waiting for the feedback from HR. I feel all HR and hiring managers should try to give honest feedback for unsuccessful interviews and so that candidates do not stay in dark.

Reasons behind such feedback

Having said all these things its also worthwhile to have a look at the things from HR and hiring managers perspective as to why on earth they frame these kind of answers to the candidates. I think sometimes there also may be genuine reasons for them to do so. However, whatever may be the facts, lets look at some of the reasons which I can think of as to why candidates get indirect feedback from HR most of the times.

  1. HR professionals is in general are required to be very gentle and display etiquette so an HR person will not like to be straightforward and inform the candidate about his/her rejection as for them it may sound harsh towards candidate and they may feel let down. Hence they prefer hiding the fact.
  2. There are at times when hiring managers are themselves not sure at that point of time about whether they want to proceed with the candidate or not as they may be in process of conducting further interviews and meet more people, so only at the end they can take the decision as to who would be the best fit. Hence in such cases there is a valid reason for such feedback.
  3. One apprehension HR may have on giving direct negative feedback is that they want to avoid any possible cross questioning by candidate regarding interview feedback like what went wrong, what was more expected from them, can they get further opportunity to discuss the same with hiring manager and many other details. HR will never wants to share the interview analysis with the candidate.
  4. Final reason I can think of is that even if hiring managers have already made a job offer to a candidate still they would like to keep options open with other candidates who might be 2nd or 3rd choice for the position as nowadays its common to see candidates not joining even after accepting the offer as they sometimes find better offer with other companies so in such case hiring manager will want to go back to 2nd or 3rd choice candidates and offer them. Hence it makes sense form them not to pass negative feedback directly to any of the candidates.

Conclusion

Towards conclusion of this article I would like to add that while there may be both genuine as well as non genuine reasons for HR and hiring managers to pass indirect feedback to interview candidates in case of negative interviews it is left to wisdom and common sense of candidate as to how to interpret these feedback and move ahead in their job search. Its absolutely no problem in candidate calling back HR if they feel so after a week of interview for their personal satisfaction in case they do not receive any feedback, but continuing to do so again and again may be a waste of time for a candidate and also make you look desperate in job market. So candidate should move ahead from here and not dwell on what happened during last interview.

Please note one thing - if the company wants to hire you, then they will contact you themselves without a need for an interview follow up.


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