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“Take criticism seriously, not personally,” encourages Talener’s Gabe Klein.  The Chicago Director echoes this sentiment when he delivers negative feedback to his candidates during the interview process.  Whether he is conveying constructive criticism or relaying a ‘no’ after several rounds of interviews, Klein tries to focus on providing honest information.

Hearing negative feedback about yourself is never easy.  “Delivering it is just as tough,” says Klein.  “After making it through three or four rounds of interviews, candidates are often hopeful that they will get the call asking them, ‘when can you start?’”.

Whether you use a recruiting firm, or you are applying to a position on your own, it is important to objectively digest the negative feedback.  Did lack of sleep contribute to a less-than-stellar interview? Were you late? Or simply, was someone else more qualified for the job? Receiving negative feedback without understanding why you’ve gotten it, puts you back at square one in your job search. If you are taking on the job hunt alone and have received negative feedback, it is paramount to ask your HR team / interviewer what went wrong.

“Often, candidates don’t dig beyond surface feedback,” explains Klein.  “I’m trying to help both my candidate and client, so my goal is to listen for understanding rather than for debate. I can dig for detailed feedback that candidates may be uncomfortable asking for or too upset to address.” Klein says that he uses the feedback as a means for prepping the candidate for future opportunities. He has seen some of his best candidate relationships stem from a role in which they had been passed over or had received negative feedback.  Likewise, this feedback is an opportunity to qualify future candidates for that client.

“I often take responsibility for an unsuccessful interview process. It is my job to make sure that candidates are appropriately and effectively prepared. If they aren’t, I know that I have to do better as their recruiter.”

Overall, Klein advocates for open dialogue and transparency.  This includes things like knowing the number of candidates who are being considered, the interview type, and general information about the organization. The more questions you ask and the information you know, the better prepared you will be. Open dialogue and transparency all go hand-in-hand with providing feedback. Klein’s opinion is that any feedback can be good feedback, if you are willing to be open-minded and transparency on all sides shows that expectations are being managed and maintained.

Klein promotes cautious optimism. Being excited about an opportunity is part of the job hunt, but that doesn’t mean that a candidate should put all their time and energy into a single role. By looking into multiple roles, you’re given the chance to further develop your interview skill set as well as understand that each role and process is different.  And who knows? You may receive negative feedback from an interview on Monday and apply it to an interview on Wednesday.

If you are unsure about how to ask HR or an interviewer why you’ve not been offered a role or what you could have done differently, reach out to Gabe at gklein@talener.com for tips and tricks to successful interviewing.

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