Do employers owe you feedback after a job interview? Jeez Louise. Could job hunters be more brainwashed? How could anyone even ask that question? You might as well ask, Does a job hunter owe an employer answers during a job interview?
Nah, let’s all just waste one another’s time and agree that our time is worthless and rude behavior is par for the course.
It’s not. And it’s not. An employer owes you candid, detailed feedback after a job interview because it’s the right thing to do. But a well-intentioned reader demonstrates just how pervasive the brainwashing is, and how loopy this feedback failure has become:
I am a subscriber to your e-mail newsletter and I wanted to give you some feedback. I disagree with the recent advice you gave in a column about, “Do I deserve feedback after the interview?”
The person who wrote to you was obsessing because they didn’t get feedback from a single interview. Why? This is par for the course. You advised the job hunter to contact the hiring manager to talk more about the job, and then to casually press for feedback about why he wasn’t hired. Then you suggested he go over the manager’s head to talk to his boss. This may just make the guy appear to be difficult to deal with.
It is much worse when you go on one, two, or even three interviews, spend a day or two, take vacation time off work, and don’t get feedback. From what I’ve heard, companies don’t want any liability surrounding providing feedback after an interview. I have never gotten any such feedback and I have interviewed with lots of companies. It is just part of the competitive interviewing world and people should just accept it.
You do have a point — not getting feedback after a job interview is routine. But look more closely at what you’re saying: “…companies don’t want any liability surrounding providing feedback after an interview.”
So, job candidates need to grow up. They believe they are treated badly, but it’s just part of the process.
Bunk. The answer is not to accept how companies behave. The answer is to raise our standards even higher and to expect more — and to let companies know it.
Employers expect people to spend their valuable time discussing the company’s needs, talking about how they would do a job, and sharing their experience and expertise. Employers want you to fill out forms, divulge your salary history, share your references, and even to pee in a cup so they can see whether you’ve been ingesting haloocinogeenic powders, sucking down steroid shakes, or tootin’ maryjeewanna.
They use all this information you kindly provide to judge you.
But they shun any responsibility for giving you feedback. They won’t tell you why they aren’t hiring you, or what they found in the cup. It might put them at legal risk. Well, if they make you a job offer, that’s feedback, too, isn’t it? It’s a judgment of you. What kind of risk does that create?
I’ll tell you. They make you an offer, your current boss finds out about it, gets ticked off at your “disloyalty,” and dumps you on the street. There’s the risk you take every time you go on a job interview. So, do you avoid interviews and the associated risks? Of course not. When’s the last time you consulted with your lawyer before going to a job interview?
Any business meeting poses risks because it requires exchanging potentially sensitive information that potentially puts us at risk. That’s why we make informed judgments; we try to do business with people who have integrity; we try to avoid bad guys who will hurt us and putzes who will do something stupid that will hurt us. We know that if we lawyer up all the time, the competition will eat us alive. (That’s why you go on job interviews.)
This must cut both ways. What we see here is a corporate policy for which there is no excuse. “We want to avoid liability because if we tell you what we think of you, you’ll sue us.”
Now cut to the HR department, which is checking your references. It wants your professional friends to tell what they think of you so the employer can make a sound judgment about you.
Whaddowe want — a double standard? It’s insane, yet the HR department tells its managers not to tell you why you were rejected, and not to give references to former employees, but to get references on job candidates, and to find out everything they can about you in the job interview. (Any manager with a brain is buying interview futures, and paying for them with candid dialogue.)
It makes me dizzy. If I’m going to go on an interview, I expect honest feedback about the business exchange we just had. That’s not to say I can’t survive without it. I just don’t like giving companies a flyer on this poor business practice.
Maybe it’s time to get the lawyers and the personnel jockeys out of recruiting, interviewing, and hiring. Maybe it’s time to be big boys and girls and just tell what we really think. Jeez, imagine the legal liability if we eliminated the loopy feedback failure from business.
As is often the case, the answer to the dear reader’s dilemma is right there in the statement of the dilemma. Let’s just rearrange a few words… Providing feedback is just part of the competitive hiring world and employers should just accept it — or smart job candidates are going to walk across the street to a competitor who gets it.