Would you pay for feedback on your interview?
You've finally snagged that elusive interview, and you're just waiting for the company to send you their offer. Unfortunately, what shows up instead says "we have decided not to pursue your candidacy at this time."
What did you do wrong? How could you do better next time.
Earlier today someone on LinkedIn suggested that HR departments could take advantage of this by offering - for a small fee - to give you feedback on your interview. For $10, you could spend 15 minutes with an HR specialist who would "explain to you why your application wasn't successful."
This proposal generated a lot of intense discussion on LinkedIn - I'm curious what the participants of this forum think. To make the discussion more meaningful, maybe you can offer your own ideas on how to obtain this type of feedback.
I think any employer willing to do this needs to have a 15 minute chat with their legal department regarding unnecessary exposure to lawsuits. It's an unfortunate truth that we are a highly litigious society, and this suggestion only opens a pandora's box for the employer without any obvious benefit.
What an interesting topic - (legal issues aside for a moment), I'd probably focus on the type of feedback that would be the most useful for the interviewee. Assuming interviewing is a skill that can be developed, feedback would be valuable for an interviewee if it provided information about how to improve for the next interview; so "I'm sorry you're not a good fit" wouldn't be practical.
However, feedback on the content (interviewing competency) might be helpful. A proposed format could address common interviewing mistakes and generate a simple list of [least debatable] categories that may include:
- knowledge of the organization's mission
- negativity about previous employer/organization
- unprepared to discuss career plans/goals
- responses did not include relevant examples
- responses did not include specific examples
- did not provide professional references
I propose this fully aware that it assumes we function "in a perfect world"...
It is an interesting thread and I have been following it. Even if you solved the legal issues, it would be difficult to filter the biases in the opinions and those responses would be so carefully parsed. Plus, the money might influence the opinion. I have always followed the trite expression, "go straight to the horse's mouth" when getting advice and help in your job search; especially from those that are "trusted" experts and insiders. In getting to the key experts, it requires patience, networking, and salesmanship. It can be a frustrating and lonely experience because often you have to jump through so many gatekeepers, employees worried about their jobs, and the occasional jerk. Informational interviews and building relationships with insiders is the way to go, not playing around with the blackhole and keyword semantics. Most certainly, not paid advice from the HR guys manning the blackhole. Get the inside scoop from the managers in your network.
These insiders will give me the right advice and, hopefully, they will work on my behalf getting me in the door. Dave has been consistent in his advice over the many years I have followed his forum---focusing on networking and relationships.
Check out the cover letter thread posted by a CEO on LinkedIn; there is a lot of valuable content in the responses. Look at what the recruiters and VPs of HR are saying....so telling.
Former recruiters already do this; they are called career coaches. What a scam!
But wait here is your solution:
On a lighter note:
FREE CAREER ADVICE
Save your ten dollars for interview advice. Check these guys who give free advice in Dallas:
I'd rather DIE than pay some GREEDY company for information they should give if asked. I hope their greed creates a nice lawsuit.
Besides, even if someone did buy the information, the candidate would NEVER EVER know with 100% accuracy if they were being lied to or not; most would lie just to make a buck.
"Some men see things as they are and say why, I dream things that never were and say why not"
"If you think research is expensive, try disease." - Mary Lasker
I'm not sure how that would work. When I've seen some recruiter or hiring manager give some feedback it is often very cooked. For example "we/they felt your experience was not enough" instead of "PhD and postdoc in the same lab was seen as a red flag and we were concerened you haven't been exposed to different working environments" which I know was the reality in a real case.
And anyway, "why your application was not successful" can only have one answer: there was at least one candidate they thought was better (and accepted the position). It is a mistake to think you did something wrong during the interview, and that therefore you should change something.
On your question Rich, I would try to get that feedback from an insider that is not the hiring manager or the HR person in charge of that position. The hiring manager, the key HR person, and in some cases the external recruiter, are likely to give you that type of "polite" (=not so useful) feedback. Some of the other people that sit in the room during your seminar, or that joins for the lunch, are more likely to be open about what was said during the debrief. But for that you need to know someone inside.
And whoever you ask, I find it best to ask for advice on what they think you could or should do different for future interviews, as opposed to asking why you were not selected. The former is more likely to get you useful information and avoid the more defensive polite standard answer.
I also dont see that it would be worth the trouble of getting paid for this. If the company get paid by an applicant someone in finance have to take those 10 USD (probably in cash), get it into the accounting, get the money to the bank or whatever system the company uses and deposit it.
Only the time used by finance is going to cost a lot more than 10 USD and then you should add the cost for 15 minutes of an HR persons time + time for prep work, setting up the meeting etc. In total this is going to cost a lot more than 10 USD.
If someone asks me for feedback on why they didnt get a position they applied for I will do my best to give an honest answer.
This question reminds me of pitch applications at the famous tech startup "incubator" Y Combinator. Acceptance in the program makes your company value skyrocket with investors and instantly puts its founders in the tech big leagues -- so the pitch interview is a serious moment that some train months for.
Interestingly, the head of the incubator personally e-mails each failed interviewee and offers 1-2 sentences on what he feels their business needs to do to look better. (He almost always encourages the applicants to re-apply, too.) At first I thought this was pretty crass, but experiences shared by failed applicants suggest otherwise -- that it helped them significantly and has made their business more successful. In effect, they're getting highly a small bit of qualified consulting gratis. I also wondered why an investor would give out advice for free, but it makes a kind of sense -- if the applicant company does better, it looks like a better investment and the investor may have a chance to buy in. And, for what it's worth, seeing a fledgling group succeed has its merits too, I think.
If I were to re-frame the initial question to something resembling the above, it also makes a kind of sense. If the hiring company were "investing" in me, and they offered me advice on how to be a more successful applicant...I would probably take it. I don't know about paying for it, which seems a little arbitrary to me, but the advice can only help if one keeps an open mind.
"The single factor that differentiates Nobel laureates from other scientists is training with another Nobel laureate." -- Sol Snyder
Ye gods, Rich.... That's quite an inflammatory post!
But I'll bite anyway. No, you should not have to, or be asked to give money for a response. Let's be honest, people are hired for various reasons, or not hired, for reasons just as variable.
MY company is hiring right now. We've had a lot of people put into the very start of the hiring mill by people (me included) saying "hey, this person is pretty good..you want to give them a shot?"
From there, things can go a few ways. I've had one person hired (everyone they contacted said he was absolutely great, and he is great) and I've had my opinion asked on other people, and I've said "nope."
What we should never do is commoditise the interviewee relationship. I feel quite strongly about this. A decent hirer/recruiter worth their salt will provide this advice as part of their normal service.
I agree with the general sentiment that companies shouldn't engage in this practice. As a candidate, I find these canned and uninformative responses by HR particularly frustrating. Here is an example I received:
"Thank you for your interest in obtaining a Patent Agent position with our firm. At this present time, we do not have any openings in which we could utilize your work experience and qualifications." HR Coordinator
This was sent to me after I sent a general inquiry letter (with a resume) and email to a Partner after his patent agent switched firms. It is a regional firm based in N. Texas.
Here is a far better and more informative response:
"Thanks for sharing your background with me--very impressive! I will give this information to some people at the Firm and also see if there are others in my network that might want to talk with you. I am more than happy to help." and " We have reviewed your resume with interest and find your background to be very impressive. Regretfully, we do not currently have an open position for a patent agent in our biotechnology group. We will keep your resume in our database should a position matching your background become available in the near future. We also encourage you to keep in touch with us as our needs do periodically change." HR Director and Chair Partner.
All I want to know in any response by an employer is:
1) Did you receive my resume and is it being considered by the appropriate people within your company?
2) Do you have any jobs available?
3) Would you consider my candidacy?
In the past, employers would provide the basics and these answers would be given openly. It is like pulling teeth nowadays. Why?
Which employer response do you think I have a more favorable impression of?
Actually, firm two is a rather successful Midwest firm with a large biotech group. I would have expected a more favorable response from the local firm.
Personally, it would have been more informative if the local firm would have said we are not interested and we don't have any positions available.
This months Tooling Up addresses this topic,
Dave Jensen, Founder and Moderator
Bio Careers Forum
Looking back at this old post, I would say that I agree with Rich Lemert that there OUGHT to be a way to get feedback from a company after an interview.
I don't think I'll ever be seeing a system where companies collect money to provide such feedback, but WOW would it be great if you were working with interviewers who would take the time to tell you honestly how they felt and what you could have done better or differently.
Clearly, it doesn't mean that you'll hear about the nasty personal things that are a turn off ("I just can't get past that scruffy beard look you've got going on", or "Your makeup was hideous and I had a hard time looking at you.")
There's no way this will happen, Rich. It's such a great idea, though, to find a way to get SOME feedback. Has anyone here had success in approaching a hiring manager after being turned down, and just asking nicely if he or she had any feedback to help you do better the next time? I actually think that MOST PEOPLE would share at least some information that could help you,
Dave Jensen, Founder and Moderator
Bio Careers Forum