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Is it now normal practice not to receive a response after interview?

Is it normal practice now to not receive a response from a face to face interview if you are unsuccessful?  I recently qualified in Level 3 and trying to get into HR.  I feel that this is rude and unprofessional that I have attended two interviews without having any response especially as these are for HR positions.

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  • It’s normal practice not to receive any feedback from an application, but if a candidate has bothered to prepare and spent the time and money to attend an interview (which may involve booking a day’s holiday from work), they should receive feedback.

    However, it is worth bearing in mind here the following:

    (1) Will they give you the real reasons why they decided not to employ you, as if you disagree with that, write back arguing and challenging the Recruitment decision, it then opens a new whole can of worms for the employer concerned.

    Many candidates, if they really wanted the job, write back threatening discrimination if they don’t reverse their decision from higher above or offer them a second interview.

    (2) To avoid this, they never give the exact reasons why they did not decide to employ you, but just word it in general terms such as: ‘we received a heavy response, were fortunate to interview a number of high quality candidates and other candidates had more relevant and matching experience which better met the requirements of the role and needs of department.’

    In closing however and from my own personal and professional experiences, I can say that once an organisation has decided not to employ you, it is impossible to change their minds.

    Feedback also has limited use in that respect because unless there is a common denominator in the equation, it is just specific to the dynamics of that role, organisation and personalities you met on the day.

    Tomorrow however you may go for the same or a different role in the same or different type of organisation / sector and click with the interviewers there.

  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    29 Apr, 2019 10:21

    Hi Karen... and welcome to the Community. If you do well enough to get an interview and prepare for it... I think it entirely wrong not to receive a phone call. Assuming interviewees number less than 10... I can't see there is any excuse not to do that.
  • Hi Karen

    Whilst I agree that anyone who has taken the time to interview should be given a clear outcome, with feedback where possible, I know of 2 reasons that this doesn't happen;

    - Andre's reason re; spurious claims of discrimination to deal with when the response is not to the candidates liking
    - The company does provide feedback, but any recruitment agent involved does not pass it on

    If you are job hunting, be prepared for a very broken process/system in the UK. Assume you will not get proper communication at any point and then it is a bonus when you do (and highlights the right companies to pursue).

    Best of luck to you though!

    Kind regards
    Laura
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    29 Apr, 2019 10:54

    In reply to Laura Fazackarley:

    Fair points and well made, Laura... and your 200th post to boot. Thank you :)
  • Hi Karen,

    I have experienced this multiple times and completely share your frustration and agree with you that it is very unprofessional to operate like that and as you say, if the interviewer is a HR professional its even worse. When you have taken the time to prepare and attend an interview (usually at a cost to yourself in terms of transport and time which could ,mean taking annual leave to attend an interview) it is extremely annoying. The waiting after an interview is difficult enough as you feel as though you are in limbo as to whether you should continue looking or wait for them to get back to you first.

    If you haven't already I would suggest you contact the interviewer/ recruiter asking if there is any update or feedback. Other than that there isn't much you can do but to move on with your search. The way I look at it is if they cannot take a few minutes to provide constructive feedback then they really aren't the sort of company/ person I want to work with or for.
  • Having just gone through a job hunting process I do find it very demoralising when you get no response at all. I attended an interview, thought it had gone well and was confident that I would get a second interview but I never heard another thing from them! Luckily I got another job offer the day after the interview so I didnt chase it up but I still sometimes wonder if they are still considering my application!

    In regard to Andre's point about feedback, whilst I understand the "fear" of giving feedback in case it prompts a claim, I actually think the opposite is true - if you give proper feedback with constructive reasons why then the candidate is more likely to understand that rather than the general "we had a number of high quality candidates...blah blah blah" that means nothing and can leave the feeling that maybe it was due to discrimination.

    However, the other side is that I have recently held an assessment centre for interns of which we had to cut it down to 4 successful candidates. It was actually very hard to give constructive feedback to the second choice candidates as in some cases it was almost a toss of the coin as to which candidate to offer to. I couldnt really give them any constructive feedback as they were an excellent candidate and if we had had another position they would have been offered.
  • It's poor practice not to receive a response, from an interview, and also, I believe this extends to when Candidates send in application forms too. If a Candidate, suitable or otherwise, has taken time out to apply and has shown particular interest in an organisation, I think the decent thing is to acknowledge that and respectfully respond accordingly. I think everyone is entitled to a decision; it may not necessarily be the decision the Candidate prefers, but they are entitled nonetheless. Company branding and organisational reputation is everything these days, especially during an era of skills shortages when Hirers need to externally demonstrate more than ever their values as an organisation (and HR should be setting the example on this) and it really reflects so badly on an organisation if they don't recognise the value in closing off the process.

    I also think it is very easy to blame recruitment agencies in these instances, as they often act as brand ambassadors when representing your business, but invariably, often can't respond because Employers don't provide them with an update or keep them informed of decisions.

    Some next step decisions can take a while and interview processes can get protracted. It's important that you are kept in the loop and even if a decision hasn't yet been made (or a Hirer is stalling for any particular reason), you are informed of timescales so at least so your expectations can be managed. That said, Time kills Deals, and delays often don't always bode well for all parties involved.

    Hope that helps :-).
    Ginnie
  • I am sorry to hear you didn't receive any feedback after two face-to-face interviews, that is very poor.

    It is always good practice to offer feedback after any interview stage. At application stage, this can be more difficult given the volume you can receive, but if there are exceptional circumstances, then you may want to provide feedback. Nonetheless, I always offer feedback to any candidate that reaches interview stage for various reasons (e.g. gratitude and courtesy, employer branding, encouraging growth and improvement).

    Having a fair shortlisting process can help prevent discrimination claims by having clear evidence of who wasn't selected and for what reasons (i.e. missing job requirement or criteria).
  • I do sympathise Karen, I had an interview in April 2011 and I'm still waiting for the outcome even though I chased the organisation twice for an update. Think I can safely I didn't get the job ... :-)
  • Really agree with everyone saying that it's poor practice for any organisation to deal with candidates in this way and must damage their reputation in the labour market.

    The reverse is also true - an organisation I applied to work at I got through to the final stages for, and had been very impressed with the recruitment process. Finally the chief executive called me to say it was a no, expressed how sad she was that she wouldn't have the chance to work with me, gave me some broad/positive feedback and asked if she could keep my details on file. It was two years ago, but I still follow that charity on social media, and have a really good impression of them. I'd advocate for them if people were asking about working there, and they're the kind of charity that depend on quality recruitment. It cost her about 10 minutes, was a job she could easily have passed to HR to deal with, but was time well-spent.
  • It isn't normal practice and it's not at all polite.

    However, people are only human and life is busy. It is easy, once the decision is made, to move on and be distracted by other things. More than once I've found myself - a week after interviews - asking a manager if they'd given the unsuccessful candidates feedback only to be told "Oh, I thought you'd done that".

    Difficult conversations are difficult and, as Andre implies, if the selection criteria aren't well-founded in data but based, rather, on those false friends "gut" and "instinct", it leaves managers with little to say in terms of feedback which they therefore decide not to give (or, rather, don't decide to give).

    I encourage managers to use a simple scoring method so they can see at a glance in which areas a candidate was weak or, simply, not as strong as other candidates. But you can take a horse to water...

    That said,

    Many candidates, if they really wanted the job, write back threatening discrimination if they don’t reverse their decision


    I really don't think this is true. Unless your interviewer is exceptionally blunt and offensive, and unless your selection criteria are really blatantly discriminatory it is surely gross exaggeration to suggest that "many" candidates do this. A tiny handful of candidates, perhaps. A justifiably troublesome bunch, to be sure, but a bunch who are better responded to with more transparency and more intelligent selection criteria rather than a frankly suspicious wall of silence.
  • Thank you all for your comments.
  • Hi Karen, this should not be normal! However sadly I have had several similar experiences trying to get into some HR posts. I have to call them back days after they promised that I '...would hear back'.
    One thing I have found, is that when you apply through a workplace 'portal' it is sadly, becoming an excuse for employers not to get back to interviewees directly, they just click an 'unsuccessful' button for all the candidates who didn't make it. This is not acceptable at this stage in the recruitment process.
    It is good manners and much more professional if a company responds personally, even if the reasons for rejection are weak or unspecific. As for the companies who treat interviewees like this, they need to be careful as with social media things like this can dent reputations.
    Much of my work in HR has been in recruitment and I insist on all applicants being informed of the outcome at the same time, by phone if possible and feedback on offer. Judith
  • Hi Karen,

    After an interview this is unacceptable and unprofessional. Personally I'd take it as having had a luck escape - if they treat you like this when they're supposed to be enticing you what on earth are they going to be like when they've 'trapped' you?!

    After an application it's disappointing. Last year I wrote 66 applications that didn't get to interview (not all for me I hasten to add, I've been helping people back into work). Of these, nearly ¾ didn't even receive an acknowledgement of receipt which given the ease of electronic communication I find unacceptable. It was curious to note that the 'employers' split into three groups. 1 = employment agencies (c45%) who virtually never acknowledged or replied; 2 = HR departments (c45%) who were slightly better than agencies but not by much; 3 = a manager within the organisation (c10%) who is running recruitment alongside their day job and who always replied.

    Yes, we're all busy, but how much time does it take to set up a standard reply saying something along the lines of 'Thanks, if you haven't heard by the xx then I'm afraid that on this occasion you've not been successful'. This way the applicant at least knows you've received their submission.
  • In reply to Nina Waters:

    Finally the chief executive called me to say it was a no, expressed how sad she was that she wouldn't have the chance to work with me,

    But if she really liked you and was the CEO, did she not you have the authority to employ you? Why still the no?