Technical interviews can often be long-drawn affairs featuring multiple rounds of assessments with different interviewers. At every stage of the interview process, candidates are assessed on various skills, both technical and non-technical or behavioral.
For successful candidates, the interview process ends with a job offer. Unsuccessful candidates, on the other hand, can be rejected at any point in the process. Not receiving a response from the interviewer is considered a tacit implication of rejection that often leaves candidates unsure of whether they’re qualified or not.
In this article, we’ll look at the possible reasons why recruiters do not share feedback, and what you as a candidate can do to get the feedback. We’ll cover:
- Possible reasons why companies do not share feedback
- Should candidates seek feedback after a technical interview?
- How job candidates can get feedback after a technical interview
Possible Reasons Why Companies Do Not Share Feedback
The reason could be related to a company policy or could even have something to do with the candidate’s performance in the interview. Let’s look at the most common reasons why companies do not provide feedback:
Candidates who are suitably qualified and have performed well in an interview may be passed up in favor of another candidate for a variety of reasons. For example, companies focusing on workplace diversity may base their selection on non-skill-based attributes to meet an internal requirement.
Sadly, companies wouldn’t offer candidates insights on internal company policies that can affect the hiring process.
Offering feedback in verbal or written formats can prove binding for companies.
Candidates may regard the reason for rejection as being discriminatory, and for this reason, they may even contest the same legally. Although this is not a common occurrence, companies always try to safeguard themselves against any and all legal fallouts.
Even minor infractions can impose unwanted strain on a company’s resources and time, and it can also negatively impact its brand value and reputation.
Lack of an Organized Feedback Process
Companies may not have a formal process or practice of delivering feedback to interview candidates. Besides, some companies just don't have a formal method or defined parameters to record and/or provide feedback.
This makes it difficult to communicate the outcome of the interview to candidates in an objective and useful manner, especially when candidates are assessed on multiple skills by multiple interviewers.
Another thing is that the interviewers are not necessarily trained to provide feedback to job candidates. Companies that don't have a dedicated hiring team tend to pick employees from varying positions and departments within an organization as part of the interviewing committee. In this case, interviewers may be able to conduct interviews but are not necessarily professionally equipped with the skills to deliver feedback.
Companies that utilize multiple interviewers and recruiters may not assign the responsibility of recording and communicating feedback to candidates to a single person.
Individual interviewers tend to shirk the additional responsibility of giving feedback for lack of anonymity and the fear of being singled out when an interview goes awry.
It Doesn’t Serve a Company's Purpose
Companies conduct interviews to fulfill a hiring goal (i.e., to find the right candidate for an open position within the organization.)
The hiring process usually ends when a candidate is either accepted or rejected for a prospective position. Companies don’t perceive any value in incorporating feedback to candidates as part of their hiring process.
Although this doesn't sit well with candidates, top tech companies don't face a dearth of talent to worry about their candidates’ interview experiences.
It’s a Time-consuming Process
From shortlisting resumes to screening and interviewing candidates, hiring is a lengthy process for most companies.
Larger companies deal with thousands of candidates annually. Tracking rejections, collating assessments, reaching out, and communicating feedback to every candidate requires extra manpower and time.
The additional effort required to achieve this makes the entire hiring process less efficient, especially if the interview process comprises multiple rounds conducted by different interviewers.
Simply put, interviewers and recruiters may be too busy to reach out to candidates once they’re rejected.
End of Process
Some companies deliberately choose not to respond to interview candidates.
Their interview process is considered closed once a candidate is either accepted or rejected for a role. They also don’t encourage follow-ups from candidates about their performance or status in the interview process, limiting communication to successful candidates only.
Some companies interview candidates without the intention to hire but to keep abreast with the talent available in the industry.
In such cases, companies don't provide feedback because these interviews are conducted more with the intention to glean information than to assess a candidate's skills.
Lack of Consensus Among Interviewers
Interviews, especially technical ones, usually involve multiple rounds of mini-interviews handled by different interviewers.
Candidates are assessed differently by each interviewer. They may not get a call back simply because interviewers held divided opinions about each of their skills.
Put simply, there can be no real feedback to provide when there is no unanimous conclusion about a candidate’s performance.
No Real Feedback to Give
In many cases, candidates don’t receive commentary about their performance in an interview because interviewers or recruiters have no useful or constructive feedback to offer.
Embarrassing or Awkward Observations
A candidate could be rejected for a reason an interviewer feels uncomfortable conveying to the candidate. It can be as simple as the candidate creating a bad impression by wearing inappropriate clothing or showing up to the interview in an unkempt manner.
Finicky, unprofessional interviewers have been known to reject candidates for flimsy reasons which can’t be communicated to candidates (e.g. the interviewer didn’t approve of a candidate’s hobby or interests or found their social media profiles controversial).
The Interviewer Made a Bad Decision
Interviewers may reject qualified candidates believing they don’t fit the bill, possibly holding out for a better candidate or owing to unrealistic hiring criteria. However, they may subsequently realize they incorrectly rejected a suitable candidate. In this case, interviewers wouldn't provide feedback to candidates.
The Company Is Still Interviewing Candidates
Larger tech companies interview thousands of candidates annually. Top tech and FAANG companies interview thousands of candidates a week, for example.
It’s not uncommon for candidates to have to wait between various stages of the interview process to hear if they can proceed to the next round.
A candidate may presume they have been rejected during this period, causing them to doubt their performance. This has been known to happen with candidates applying for tech roles in FAANG companies.
However, it’s also possible that the company they’re waiting to hear from is still in the process of interviewing other candidates and will only revert once the entire process is over. Some candidates at FAANG companies have been known to wait for months before hearing back about their hiring status.
Possibility of Future Hiring
Often, candidates with the right qualifications and skills don’t quite make the cut during the interview process. However, these candidates are not rejected but shortlisted as possible future hires for another role or department. Candidates, in this case, are not provided any specific feedback.
Candidate Didn’t Ask for Feedback
As simple as it sounds, candidates may not receive feedback about their performance in an interview simply because they didn’t request feedback.
Even if interviewers or recruiters don't provide candidates a detailed assessment of their performance, they may, on request, provide a generalized reason for their rejection.
Candidates Get Defensive
Providing feedback to candidates is not an easy task.
Candidates don’t usually view their performance from an interviewer’s point of view. Recruiters and interviewers often find candidates taking constructive or negative feedback very personally.
These reactions occur even in situations where candidates themselves request feedback, which only makes interviewers very wary of highlighting any observations.
Given that a considerable amount of effort and time is required to prepare for a technical interview, candidates tend to get easily frustrated if they are unsuccessful.
Interviewers prefer to avoid triggering unnecessary conversations or discussions over an interview experience with candidates.
Should Candidates Seek Feedback After a Technical Interview?
Feedback is very useful for candidates preparing for technical interviews.
Technical interviews, unlike non-technical interviews, are very challenging as they involve testing candidates on multiple aspects. It takes many candidates multiple attempts to succeed at technical interviews, especially at Tier 1 tech companies.
What most interviewers, and even candidates, fail to realize regarding feedback about interview performance is that it can help candidates:
- Identify their strengths and weaknesses to help improve performance at subsequent interviews.
- Get new insights into interviewing styles, behaviors, knowledge, and skill levels.
- Improve preparation processes by focusing on areas that require attention.
- Foster a professional image. Seeking feedback shows an interest in personal and professional development, and candidates may even be considered for an alternate role or future recruitment.
How Job Candidates Can Get Feedback After a Technical Interview
While there are many reasons for companies to not provide you the feedback that you need to learn and improve, there are ways in which you can try to get some inputs from your interviewers. Here are some tips:
Ask for It
The best way to get feedback from an interview is to formally request it. Few candidates follow up after an interview, losing out on an opportunity to get valuable feedback.
Create a Feedback Loop With the Interviewer
Candidates are usually given a few minutes at the end of an interview to ask the interviewer(s) any questions they may have.
Candidates can use this time to elicit feedback from interviewers about their performance.
Follow Up With the Recruiter or Interviewer
Candidates can follow up after an interview to inquire about their hiring status. Ideally, they should wait for a week or two before reaching out to the interviewer or recruiter.
Drafting a polite email or placing a follow-up phone call thanking the company for the experience and requesting feedback is one way to elicit a response.
Candidates can also build a relationship with recruiters by asking them about the interview process at the onset – keeping them updated about their interview preparation – and asking intelligent questions about the interview process as the interview date approaches.
After the interview, candidates can maintain contact by inquiring about the next steps of the process. They can subsequently follow up on their status and request feedback.
Recruiters are more likely to communicate with candidates whom they have a conversational flow with.
Connect with an Employee of the Hiring Organization
Recruiters or interviewers may not directly engage with candidates. However, if candidates can establish a connection with an employee of the organization, they can indirectly connect with the recruiter or interviewer.
Interviewers may be more willing to give feedback or insights, albeit informally, to an employee who acts as the go-between.
Attend Interviews at Tier 2 and Tier 3 Companies
Before attempting to apply for a position at a Tier 1 tech or FAANG company, many aspirants attend interviews at Tier 2 or Tier 3 companies to get a feel of how technical interviews are conducted.
As leaders in the industry, interview processes devised by Tier 1 companies are often emulated by Tier 2 and Tier 3 companies, albeit with more relaxed criteria.
Candidates attend interviews at these companies to assess their performance in a live interview setting.
Feedback from these companies provides candidates insights into their interview performance. It can also serve as a reference point if they got rejected by a top tech company.
Self-analysis or Peer Reviews
Since getting feedback after an interview can be a challenge, there are ways to obtain it indirectly during the interview.
Candidates can read interviewers’ verbal and non-verbal responses as they interact with them during the interview.
Positive and negative signals will tell candidates how their interview is progressing. Interviewers tend to be more interactive if they are interested in a candidate.
Here are some hints to take note of:
- If an interview or recruiter isn’t forthcoming with feedback, candidates can make a note or do a mental review of the interview experience immediately after the interview to identify areas they were confident in and areas they felt were potential pitfalls.
- Alternatively, candidates can analyze their interview experience with a peer or a mentor and use their inputs and opinions as feedback.
Practice Mock Interviews
One of the best ways for candidates to get feedback about their performance in technical interviews is to practice mock interviews.
The most effective mock interviews are those that simulate the actual interview experience as closely as possible and those that are conducted with hiring managers, tech leads, or recruiters from top tech companies.
By simulating a live interview experience with professional interviewers and hiring personnel, candidates can get feedback in a more professional manner.
This will help candidates better understand their performance and find out the reasons for their rejection, if ever. Mock interviews can be practiced with peers or with professionals from the industry.
Feedback acts as a game-changer for most candidates attempting to crack technical interviews at top tech and FAANG companies. If candidates don’t hear back from a hiring company, the best strategy to stay on track to ace technical interviews is to move on and work on possible areas of improvement.
Prepare for Your Next Tech Interview
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