You are collecting feedback about candidates throughout the interview process, right? (If you don’t, then start doing it right now).

If in the end, you decline to hire a candidate, then share that feedback with her.  In particular, if you’ve identified specific weaknesses, you must tell the candidate what they are and give her some suggestions on how to correct them.

Just saying “sorry, we’re going to pass,” adds no value to the candidate. And it is a waste of your investment.  She is not only feeling rejected, but has no idea as to why?  She spent time and effort going through your interview process and in the end got nothing out of it.  That’s unjust.  And injustice breeds resentment, at best.  So, if for no other reason than to protect your reputation, don’t just say no.  You can add value to the candidate, give back to the community, and build a good reputation by giving the candidate detailed feedback.

Office Hours

At Nearsoft, we share a summary of the feedback with the candidate.  In addition, we recommend books, blogs, and other online resources that we think could help.  We even have a program we call Office Hours where we offer to mentor a candidate through their learning process.  We offer this to the more promising candidates, usually the ones that made enough of an impression on the interviewers that one or two of them are willing to invest their time to help them out.

Everybody benefits from the Office Hours program. Our developers act as mentors and as such this helps them to solidify what they know, by having to explain it to others. The candidate gets a live mentor who can help direct her. From the business point of view, it lowers our cost of recruiting. That’s because instead of throwing the “almost ready” candidate back in the deep water, we keep her near the shore, so to speak, where it will be a lot less costly later, after she’s shored up her knowledge and gained experience. Even if never hire this person, she will walk away with a very positive image of our company. In many cases, they become our most ardent evangelists.

Excuses, Excuses

But we are a huge company and can’t do this for every candidate.

If you work for “a huge company,” then it, more than others out there 1) you can afford to do it right and 2) you have the fiduciary and moral responsibility to do it (for its own well being).

As a big company, you already are investing quite a bit in recruiting.  If you don’t keep track of feedback on a candidate, you’re wasting that investment (and you are exposing yourself legally, big time).  Even if you do keep track of it, but you don’t share at least some of this information with candidates in a way that would help them grow, then you are leaving money on the table.

Do Well, Do Good

Think of it as leveraging your investment by giving the candidate the tools to grow personally and become a more valuable contributor to society.  If that doesn’t move you, then think of it as lowering your future cost of recruiting, because by giving value back to the candidate, she will remember your company fondly when she grows to be the type of badass you want in your team.

In our case, we want to leverage what we learn about this process by sharing with others, so please, contact us if you want to learn more about it or can help us improve it.  It makes business sense: if we were all doing this in our industry, more candidates would grow and learn a lot faster.