In today's age of the X Factor, the Voice, Britain's Got Talent and the like we have come to enjoy watching people perform and then watch in awe/horror as they are praised to the heavens/ripped to shreds by the judges. As a new series of the X Factor has just started the nation will once more get sucked in by the drama of the auditions and the subsequent live shows.
A lot has been said in the press about just how real the X Factor is and how much is dramatised to make good television. Instances such as acts who clearly can't hold a tune being put through to performing for the judges just for comic effect. It is usually at this stage that they come back down to earth with a bump, as the feedback that they get is never what they want to hear. You may think that this is harsh but at least they are getting honest feedback so that they can learn from their mistakes and move on (or at least most of them will, some of them are so deluded they're beyond help!).
I think that feedback is crucial in all walks of life so that you can learn from what you have done and build on it for the future. It is especially important in the recruitment world.
We spend a large majority of our working days providing feedback to both our candidates and clients. We feedback to candidates on the format of their CV, and clients as to the candidates who are available in the market. We take candidate and client feedback from interviews and how they felt their assignments had worked out. Without taking and providing feedback we are unable to do our jobs, and it is of paramount importance that we take feedback at every part of the recruitment process.
If a candidate has asked us to send their CV for a role then they understandably expect feedback on their CV from the client, whether it be positive or negative. If the process moves forward to interview stage then candidates want to know what the client thought of them after the interview, and vice versa the client wants to know how the candidate found it. When it comes to the offer stage, and a candidate has missed out on a role, then they understandably want to know why. Likewise, if a candidate is offered a role which they subsequently turn down, the client wants feedback as to their thought process and why it is a 'no'.
You can see why it is therefore imperative that we take feedback from all parties at all stages of the recruitment process.
Unfortunately not everyone understands just how much importance we place on taking feedback at each stage. I have recently had a situation where a candidate was offered a job in his interview, which he accepted. Feeding back to me that his interview went well, they had discussed start dates and that he would be delighted to assist the firm. Upon taking feedback from the client they too were very positive and were in the process of confirming a start date for the candidate. However, when calling the client to confirm start dates, I was unable to get through, merely being told that things were 'on hold'. As is my role I fed this back to my candidate who, understandably, was growing increasingly agitated. We continued the to-ing and fro-ing for six weeks until a one-line e-mail landed in my inbox stating that the department was full to capacity and they did not need any locum assistance. When I attempted to ascertain as to this sudden change of heart I got nowhere. I then had to tell a candidate, who was under the impression that he had the role, that he was no longer needed but I could not give him any idea why or the reason that things had changed in such a way.
I know that we are all busy people and that sometimes it is difficult to respond to an e-mail immediately, or take a call when you have a million and one things to do. However it only takes one minute to provide a bit of detail as to why someone isn't a right fit for a role, or why they haven't been successful in their application. It helps us to work with them for their next application, whether it be working on their CV or their interview technique. At the end of the day our job is to help people and that is what we are here to do. Taking feedback from our candidates and clients helps us to do this - it is only when this is not provided that managing people's expectations can be difficult.