Why insightful feedback should be a civil right in job search

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It’s obvious that recruiters are busy people. They need to review countless applications, often to several open positions, simultaneously. That´s why they can’t start meeting or calling hundreds of candidates each day, giving each of them detailed and personalized feedback. 

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Have you ever felt that applying for jobs is like shouting in the desert? Have you made noise about yourself but realized that nobody listens or responds? Have you felt frustration due to the lack of feedback from hiring companies?

You aren’t alone. Various people have the same feeling since many companies haven’t yet set resources, processes or tools for effective candidate feedback. This is unfortunate since inadequate or complete lack of communication with candidates hurts badly the various employer’s brand. You might apply to these firms once or twice, but sooner or later you get frustrated and start looking for other companies that take better care of you.

Every applicant deserves better communication in terms of feedback. We categorize candidate feedback into five levels, starting from the poorest to the most valuable ones. We encourage various companies to “move up in the ladder” and become better in giving feedback. Here´s how we think about the levels – and the opportunities for companies to improve their ways of working:

Level 1: You send your CV and application to a hiring company and never hear anything from them after that. This is the most frustrating type of recruitment communications. This is also very poor service from the hiring company, who ought to take better care of you if in the future if they still wish to see you apply for their jobs. (In fact, this level should be called `Level zero´ since you get zero in return to your effort)

Level 2: You send your CV and application to a hiring company. After that, you receive an automated confirmation message telling “Thank you, your application has been received…”. After the recruitment process has ended, you receive another message saying “We regret to tell you that you were not chosen…” Well, at least you get to know what happened. But you don´t feel too satisfied since you unfortunately received only the minimum communication possible, and you weren’t really able to take part in the process in any meaningful way.

Level 3: After sending your CV and application, you start receiving update emails, telling you that your application has been received, opened, read, shortlisted, and that the application period has ended. See, we are slowly getting there. You get to know what is happening and you are delighted to hear that someone is actually going through the applications and selecting people. Unfortunately, this level of communication is not yet helpful for you to understand what you should do better to succeed the next time.

Level 4: During the recruitment process, you receive information not only about the status, but you also get insightful comparison data against other qualified candidates. You get to understand how your educational background, your previous work experience and your personality compares with your peer candidates. You get to see if you are missing some essential skills that are required in the job. You receive information on those candidates that were shortlisted to the job. Now we´re talking! While this information still lacks human interaction, it greatly helps you get better as a job seeker!

Level 5: You get to speak with the recruiter during the recruitment process. He/she gives you verbal feedback about your strengths and weaknesses related to the open vacancy. He/she helps you understand how you could develop your skills, attitudes and ways of working to become a better applicant. If you are not chosen, he/she gives you the contact details of a few of his/her colleagues who might be looking for people just like you. This feedback is not only delightful and helpful, but it also increases your chances to succeed elsewhere. Even though you won´t get chosen to this job, you feel that you were treated with respect during the process.

As you might have realized already, excellent candidate feedback doesn´t only tell about the status of the recruitment process. In addition, and at its best, it also gives you tangible advice on the substance, e.g. what was good or bad, how to do better going forward, and what to do next.

It’s obvious that recruiters are busy people. They need to review countless applications, often to several open positions, simultaneously. That´s why they can’t start meeting or calling hundreds of candidates each day, giving each of them detailed and personalized feedback. But they should be able to give Level 5 feedback at least to the top candidates in each recruitment. And they should in all their recruitments use digital tools and automation to reach Levels 3 and 4, in which feedback giving is already much better than the industry average. For recruiters, it’s all about resourcing the recruitment function properly, developing processes to institutionalize giving feedback, and use of digital tools for automation. 

Why should recruiters do all this? Is their benefit? The main reason for investing in candidate feedback is in `word-of-mouth´. No company can afford negative rumours being spread about them. A company with a bad reputation can make people stop applying for jobs or decline buying their products. Further, market conditions may change quite rapidly and companies may suddenly need new staff again, so they need to continuously maintain a healthy pipeline of new workforce. These are the reasons why recruiters should never use their busy schedules or heavy workload as an excuse to compromise on candidate feedback.

When it comes to job search, receiving insightful feedback should be a civil right of everyone. If you are not getting enough of it from the companies you apply to, please contact the hiring managers and ask why. If your recruitment portal isn´t giving you enough, switch to a portal that will do it properly. The more you get feedback, the more you learn about yourself, and the more you can improve your performance in your job hunting.

Fuzu is a Finnish-Kenyan company that develops career guidance, online learning and recruitment services for the emerging markets. We help people to take the next step in life, get inspiration and unleash their hidden potential. Click here to see how Fuzu provides detailed insights to the candidates that apply for work through its platform!

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    Antony | February 16, 2017 16:22

    True, for the first time, I feel valued and cared for by FUzu recruitment. In the year 2014 I did an interview by a multi international company has its EA branch based in Kenya. Is a Germany company but has a regional office in SA. I saw an advert on daily nation and applied. Oral interview was done via the phone from SA, they then sent an aptitude test at the second level and a passed. Was then sent to their branch office for face to face interview , from my intelligence we three candidates. I feel I did so well in the interview and was told to get feedback after two weeks. Am still waiting for the feedback may be tomorrow. After all that hectic, time consuming recuitiment procedures it is always good to give feedback, someone feel valued and appreciated for. Fuzu is on the right track.

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