As a seasoned recruiter, I don’t give a lot of interview feedback to candidates who didn’t land the job because I’ve found, over the years, the hard way, they can rarely take it. Grown men have been in tears but more commonly, I get yelled at or the conversation turned into a flashback from high school debate.
So much for constructive criticism.
Despite attempts by people cited in this WSJ article, recruiting and the selection of candidates is rarely an objective process in the end. Someone is confusing the 9th grade spelling or math test (pass, fail, 80%, 100%) with the real world.
In the real world, people pick up ‘vibes’ about one another and that impacts how one person is selected for a job over another. The more senior the role, the more this plays into it:
“I got the sense she wasn’t that interested in hands on work”
“His reasons for leaving his current employer don’t pass the sniff test”
“He doesn’t have the business / technical intuition we’re looking for”
“I didn’t like how she wanted to tell me about her accomplishments when I wanted to dialog”
“I didn’t get a good feeling about him”
And sometimes the reasons someone is passed over is simply hard to take, often about the company someone works for. If your company shipped crappy products, it’s very likely that someone from Apple or Google will be more perceived as more competitive for the role. Sometimes an entire industry is blanked—‘healthcare is too slow’.
I really admire coaches in professional sports—they are very publically fired (and hired) and they most often suck it up and take the high road. That’s the best advice I can give a candidate—it was a competitive process, you were in the mix, take solace in that and move on.