Rejected Candidate Asking for Interview Feedback

What do you do when a candidate that looked good on paper turns out not to be a fit, but then asks you to give them a critique of their interviewing skills?

I absolutely hate when people do this and it only proves to me that my assessment of them was correct and they were indeed not a fit.  However, I hate to just ignore people and make the interviewing team seem rude.  I just do not want to get into all the reasons why this individual is no longer being considered.  The hiring manager and myself are not this person's career coach.

Any advice, examples of what you do, etc. would be most welcome.


- E.


  • 5 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Hey, I wouldn't do a critique--it's just asking for trouble (discrimination charges for whatever reason).

    Just say it is your company policy not to discuss its hiring decisions with nonemployees, and then repeat what you said in the rejection letter about a more qualified candidate for that particular job being hired and wishing applicant well.

  • I don't talk about "interviewing style" or "interviewing technique" because I don't want to train people in methodologies to sway interviewers.  The interview process is a weak enough selection tool (on its own) without helping people game the system any more than they already do.  However, if I have time, I will normally give someone strengths and weaknesses feedback about their knowledge, skills, and abilities relative to the position they applied for.  Telling someone that you didn't hire them for the generalist role because, although their EE relations KSAs are very strong, their benefits admin experience is insufficient.  Sometimes avoiding the question can create as much concern about the hiring process as saying the "wrong" thing about why you didn't hire someone (assuming the "wrong" thing wasn't actually wrong, because if it was, then you have a real problem, by definition [:'(])
  • Do not give a specific critique -- it opens you and the company to all kinds of liability. 

    When I have such a request, I simply tell the candidate that we consider many factors and select the candidate that best fits our needs.  Short and sweet.  If the candidate persists, repeat the response and become a broken record. 

     Good luck.   


  • I usually give a generic response like others have mentioned. I have, on occasion, given specifics if the person looked really good on paper and they were questioning why they didn't get the job.  An example that comes to mind is regarding salary requirements.  I had a great candidate on paper and when she interviewed, but her salary requirements were not even close to what we were offering.  This is a legitimate reason why we didn't hire her.  After I told her this, she even admitted that she had said she absolutely had to have this salary.  (She had pretty much been overpaid at her previous job for the position she was doing and then had gotten laid off.)  She then understood why we didn't hire her and had a better impression about the company then if I had said nothing. 
  • i think a generic response is better. who has the time to write a detailed analysis for every candidate that makes it to the interview stage?
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