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A Guide to Successful and Useful Interview Feedback

Have you ever been asked to give feedback after an interview?

Giving interview feedback is uncomfortable, but it can be extremely useful for an unsuccessful candidate if done correctly. Plus, how and when you offer interview feedback says more about your organisation than you realise. Bad interview feedback can damage your brand and your Employee Value Proposition. This in turn, can seriously hinder your ability to attract candidates and hire successfully. 

As a recruiter for the accounting profession, we see all too often hiring managers not taking the responsibility of interview feedback seriously. Not taking care with this vital part of the recruitment process, being slow to provide feedback, offering a generic reply or not offering feedback at all. Even with the extra pressures from the pandemic, this is pretty unforgivable.

So, here’s a really quick and simple guide to doing the right thing – offering useful interview feedback to help your candidate within the accountancy profession.  

Timing – Top marks if you offer insightful feedback on a candidate’s interview within 24 hours. We know this isn’t always possible but it’s a good benchmark. Candidates won’t be happy to hear they didn’t get the job, but they will be impressed with a fair and honest appraisal. 48 hours and you’re still doing a good job – especially if the feedback is specific and useful. Anything past a week and you’re bordering on gaining a negative reputation within the industry. Plus, by feeding back straight away the details are still fresh in your mind – making your job easier. 

Personal – Take the time to look over your interview notes and pick out the points where you showed concern about their performance. This is where a structured interview process and active listening pays dividends. You shouldn’t be too personal but useful feedback means being candid. So, steer clear on commenting on unnecessary areas such as weak eye contact, but make a useful note about their lack of IT skills for example. And qualify this in some detail with specific examples. And the most important thing…take the time to give them some brief advice eg “Explore the possibility of an online course to up skill in this area.” And finally, please, avoid clichés and generic terms!

Encourage – Balance out any negative feedback with some positive. Note their good use of interesting examples, or thorough preparation for the interview. While this person might not have been successful this time, they may just have been pipped to the post – and they may be useful as a contact in the future. And even if this isn’t the case, you don’t want to be the cause of a candidate feeling despondent. Let’s support, nurture and invest in our fellow accountancy partners as much as we can. Give them the opportunity to improve. 

“Do not fear employer review sites and social media – they can be used as a way of establishing yourself as an attractive proposition to talented accountants. By providing useful interview feedback and establishing this as a crucial part of the recruitment process, you can encourage candidates to sing your praises for you. There’s no better advertisement for your accountancy firm than a positive review.”

Garry Howling, Public Practice Recruitment Ltd

Feedback to your recruitment partner – Any specialist accountancy recruiter worth their salt would have spent considerable time sourcing candidates and preparing them for interview. Offer your agency some detailed feedback – good or bad, so that they can convey this to the candidate. Not only so they can provide a good service, but it also allows then to fine-tune their search and be more helpful to you.   

Do you need any help with your employer brand or Employee Value Proposition? Are you worried that you’re missing the mark when it comes to your recruitment process and interview feedback? Are there accountancy jobs within your organisation which you’re struggling to fill?  

Call Public Practice Recruitment on 03335 777 787. 


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