Feedback and questions: Do’s and don’ts of the interview process p.3

Last part of this series. Here are the previous parts:

In this article, we will look at closing the interview. It has two major parts:

1. Giving feedback

2. Candidate’s questions

Giving feedback

I prefer the term feedforward, as Marshal Goldshmit calls it, over feedback. So why feedforward? There is a small but crucial difference.

With feedback, you essentially talk about things that went wrong, so like in cybernetics or machine learning — this a correction mechanism. Technically, giving feedback, you should talk about the situation and shouldn’t make this person wrong. People are not machines — they can perceive things differently.

So, although it works if you have a good connection with the person and they know you are not criticizing, it may misfire. Also, there is a fundamental problem with all types of feedback: it focuses on the past that can not be changed.

Just by changing perspective slightly, you will tremendously improve your chances that an interviewee will listen to you and will act upon your guidance. So instead of talking about the past — make suggestions for the future that might help the candidate achieve a positive change in their behavior. Give ideas for the future. Also, this approach will re-orient your thinking as well, to help people learn to be right than prove they are wrong. It is much harder to act condescending if you have that in mind.

Next, I suggest giving feedback immediately after the interview. It may not be complete feedback, and it need not include any verdict. Just talk through the interview itself and things that the candidate may need to look at more deeply to refresh his/her memory on to get better in this area. Here you can address any questions that the candidate has about the interview.

Candidate’s questions

It is surprising to me just how many candidates end the interview without asking any questions. Like after spending an hour on the interview, wouldn’t you be interested in what awaits you if you are hired? It is like they are not interested in what they will be doing or in the company at all!

I understand that many tech people are introverts, so I don’t lower my assessment based on that, but many people do.

So candidate asking intelligent questions is a very good sign. Try to answer appropriate questions as best as you can.

Again, I suggest not to give any verdict right away even if you are the decision-maker. It is better to take a timeout to think. Just tell that you will pass your feedback to the HR/Recruiter, and they will contact the candidate in a short while.

Ok, this was the last piece. Peace out. 🖖

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