Why Employers Don't Give Feedback to Rejected Candidates

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Employers Don't Supply Feedback to Rejected Job Candidates

The majority of employers are not legally required to supply job candidates with information about why they were not hired for a job. Exceptions to this may exist when an employer is a governmental agency, covered by civil service requirements, or if the employees have a collective bargaining agreement that outlines the process for promotions or transfers.

So, if you are seeking a job in the government or a workplace with a union contract, make sure you understand the rules that pertain to hiring, promotions, job transfers, and other conditions of employment. In these cases, it is best to seek legal advice for what is required in the city, state, or country where you live.

Even though feedback is not legally required, if you were not hired for the job after participating in an interview process, you can ask for feedback—and it's generally a good idea to do so. You might not receive any helpful information, but sometimes even generic responses can offer you a clue about why your candidacy was rejected.

Why Feedback Is Uncommon


Legal concerns and limited time are among the top reasons you might not get feedback if rejected for a job. Many attorneys recommend that employers provide little feedback to job candidates. They are concerned it can be used or misconstrued by the applicant to demonstrate discrimination in the hiring process. Many employers follow this advice and consider it safest to avoid providing any feedback.

Beyond legal concerns, time is limited. A form rejection letter still takes staff time to develop and send and providing feedback to a candidate takes additional time. On top of that, most employers want to avoid what can be a difficult phone conversation. They don't want to take additional time coping with a rejected candidate who becomes upset or angry. By the time you find out you've been rejected, hiring managers or human resources have already moved on from you as a candidate, so spending more time on you or providing you with feedback is not a priority for them.

In addition to a lack of time, most hiring managers want to avoid questions from rejected candidates about how they can improve their resumes or interviewing skills. HR employees know their own hiring practices, but they only can guess what other companies are seeking and don't see themselves as qualified to offer such advice.

Feedback Is Frequently Not Provided

As a job searcher, you likely are hungry for feedback. The longer you've been searching for a job, the more desperate you might be to find out why you are not getting the job. An employer who is willing to take the time and can offer constructive, actionable feedback is a welcome gift.

According to survey results obtained in their annual candidate experience survey, The Talent Board found that feedback during the screening and interviewing process falls short when:

  • 53.5% of job candidates receive no feedback after the screening and interviewing stage.
  • 69.7% of candidates receive no feedback after being rejected during the screening and interviewing stages of their candidacy.

"And while subjective, of those candidates who said they received feedback after being rejected, 77.3% said the feedback wasn’t useful. But, 53.7% said they were encouraged to apply again for another job."

Positive Results for the Employer Who Provides Feedback

According to the survey results, providing feedback to job candidates can create positive results for the employer. Of the candidates who received feedback, 52% are more likely to increase their relationship with an employer (apply again, refer others, make and/or influence purchases when applicable).

On the other hand, if the feedback is not provided to an unsuccessful job candidate, these candidates are more than twice as likely to have a negative relationship with the employer.

In summary, several reasons exist for why employers might want to provide feedback to a candidate.

  • They like a candidate and believe they would hire them for the right opportunity in less competitive recruitment.
  • They want to create an environment of goodwill for the company in which candidates will tell friends and social media positive things about interviewing with them. Reputation plays an important role as talent becomes scarce. The company's reputation as an employer of choice is dependent on how they treat candidates as well as employees.
  • They want a candidate to experience the company's integrity and transparency in its hiring practices so he is less likely to target the firm with a lawsuit.
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  1. Talent Board. “The 2018 North American Talent Board Candidate Experience Benchmark Research Report”. Accessed November 5, 2019.

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