Significance of Post-Interview Debriefing

Neyaz Abbas


As a recruitment professional with over a decade and half of pure recruiting experience, my opinion is that it’s normal to focus most of your time on the “Pre” part of the interview process, however, “Post” interview debriefing / discussion with the candidate is also as important as the pre-discussion.

As part of the candidate placement process, you have to identify top candidates, do telephonic screening, set-up interviews with the hiring manager and finally brief the candidates in order for them to face the music of the “Straight Face” hiring manager.

Your job shouldn’t end there; post interview debriefing is simply as important as the pre-interview prep and should be done after every interview. Here are few reasons why I feel a seasoned recruiter should interact with his or her candidates after the interview with the hiring manager.

1. Candidate's Experience:
After the interview, a casual chat with the candidate often results in the candidate sharing his thoughts on the job & the experience of the interview. This information will help the recruiter get a sense of the interest level of the candidate in the role & excitement for the opportunity. It will also give you an opportunity to sense any red flags from the candidate.

2. Hiring Manager’s Expectations:
The questions asked in an interview will help reveal what's most important for the hiring manager. A debriefing session after the interview clears any doubts the candidate has about the roles and responsibilities or KRA’s, and it also helps you as a recruiter to understand the needs of the hiring manager for your next hire.

3. Hiring Manager’s Decision:
The candidate usually share his/her thoughts on how the interview went & whether or not he/she was able to adequately answer all the questions. Hence, you as a recruiter can get an advance indication on the outcome of the interview and plan your further search strategy for the role accordingly.
If the hiring manager has really liked the candidate, the interview will end with an indication for a next step with a statement like "I would like to meet you with our leadership, let me revert with my availability for next round”. Hence, you'll approach the hiring manager accordingly to expedite the steps.

4. Candidate's Perspective:
Often, though not always, a detailed discussion with the candidate after the interview leads to lot of feedback especially with leadership level candidates, and if you receive any negative feedback about the interview process or profile during the candidate debriefing, it helps in evaluation of any changes needed in the interview process or profile.

5. Organization's Culture:
The words exchanged with the candidate after the interview, also reflect the organization’s culture and the way the organization treats its manpower. It leaves an ever lasting impression on the candidate if he is treated nicely after the interview.

6. New Connection:
A good connect post the interview with the candidate will help you to further strengthen the candidate-recruiter relationship. A great candidate-recruiter relationship can go a long way in you getting strong referral from the candidate. A happy and satisfied candidate is always like an ocean of referrals. You never know when you will be able to utilize his connects for a future position.

I know several very large organizations that do not get back to candidates after their interviews because of various reasons. My personal feeling is that all recruiters across levels should try hard to debrief every candidate.

At times, it is a challenging job usually on account of of high volumes or shortage of manpower or just the recriter's attitude. I have made these mistakes myself but after spending so many years doing recruitment now I believe and understand that it benefits both the candidate and the organization.

Therefore, I riterate. An post-interview debriefing is essential if the interview has gone off well, and maybe more so, if the interview did not go well.

Do keep this in mind.