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The power of post interview feedback: why even unsuccessful candidates can be your brand ambassadors

Interviews are a two-way street. A vital part of getting to know candidates better, they also help shape a candidate’s opinion of a company and its culture. In a brand-conscious job market, interviews are now a dual exercise that can affect the employer brand – and it’s up to employers to ensure that effect is positive.

The importance of a positive job-seeker experience

To secure top talent, an organisation has to make a good impression both pre and post interview. Every candidate will walk away from a job application process with some impression of the company, and they’ll share this experience with others. It means that every encounter with a candidate represents an opportunity to build a positive brand, and perhaps create a new brand ambassador in the process.

Word gets around…

In a world of shared experiences and instant word-of-mouth, people aren’t only sharing their experiences as consumers, but as employees and potential employees, too. There’s a growing online window into what it’s really like to work for Company X or Hospitality Brand Y. Candidates are free to share honest opinions and reviews, which means the onus is on employers to ensure that the interview process is as carefully managed as its marketing campaigns.

Why is it important to provide post-interview feedback?

Besides the fact that it’s just plain polite, there are several reasons why getting back to every candidate after an interview is vital:

Building your brand: Candidate feedback provides an opportunity to gain, or lose, a brand champion for the future. If a company is together enough to proactively update its candidates and follow up with feedback, it indicates a culture that’s pretty desirable, and a company that most candidates will want to keep on their radar.

Candidates love communication: Job-seekers still cite an employer failing to get back to them as one of the biggest bugbears of applying for work. Would you rather be one of the countless companies that choose to ignore unsuccessful candidates, or one of the few that choose to make a positive impact? We know which candidates prefer.

Word of mouth still holds sway: Research reveals that personal recommendations are still the most credible form of advertising. When people talk about interactions with your company, be they positive or negative, their friends, relatives and social networks will listen.

Positive for the industry as a whole: As the hospitality industry continues to struggle with skills shortages, it’s important to also consider the bigger picture. Self-doubt is never helpful when candidates have to present themselves confidently at their next interview. Providing valuable, constructive feedback on their strengths and weaknesses can give them confidence going forward, helping them improve the skills they need to perform at the highest level within the industry. 

How can you use the process of post-interview feedback to create brand ambassadors for you?

Get in touch: Always let candidates know you’ve received their application. Make use of tools and applicant tracking software that allow you to send personalised automated emails to ease the process.

Feedback: When a candidate has spent real time and effort applying, researching your company and attending interviews, it’s just not acceptable for their efforts to be ignored. Feedback should be timely, telling them something useful and including relevant examples from the interview.

Stay in touch: Keep them updated with current or future vacancies. They’ll appreciate being kept on file and hearing from you if anything suitable comes up.

Successfully follow these tips and you should start to notice a positive change to your company perception from candidates that come for interview. The calibre of applicant is likely to improve – and even if they’re unsuccessful, you’ll be making a brand ambassador to pass on the torch.