Giving Feedback to an Unsuccessful Candidate

Giving Feedback to an Unsuccessful Candidate

Advice from Wendy Smith; Career Coach and author of The WiseWolf Job Search Pocket Book – order on Amazon

Giving feedback – in all kinds of situations you may need to give feedback to someone about something they have said or done. This could be an employee, a work colleague or a business partner. Here the  advice is targetted at giving feedback to an unsuccessful candidate. But most of the advice holds good in other work situations.

1. Prepare for the discussion. Be clear about what you want to say and make sure you can support it with evidence.
2. During the discussion think before you speak! Don’t make ad hoc remarks that imply, for example, that you personally would have made a different decision.
3. Stay positive. This doesn’t mean not giving constructive criticism about gaps but do make sure you balance criticisms with clarity about what you did like.
4. Be specific. Avoid general comments and try to be as clear and simple as you can!
5. Focus on evidence presented of competence and not the person and their personality.
6. Stay in the neutral ground emotionally but accept that it is reasonable for the candidate to feel disappointed.
7. Own the feedback. If you have been part of the interviewing panel, then own the feedback, it is about “we” not about “the panel.”
8. Empathize. Always put yourself in the other person’s shoes! Think how you would feel receiving the same information! No room here for humiliation!

Giving feedback – are you advising a job seeker?

Are they stuck in their job search? Have they have been out of the job market for a while? There are new techniques to learn and some they will need to refresh. From writing a modern CV to wooing at the interview, you’ll find lots of tips in my handy little pocket book.

giving feedback
A concise and practical little workbook. For all who have the courage to go out and learn the new skills necessary to find a job now.

A concise and practical little workbook. For all who have the courage to go out and learn the new skills necessary to find a job now.

Find this and my other books on my Amazon page at this link; http://ow.ly/BRSAL

Remember working with a career coach can really help job search. Get in touch at the Facing a mid-career dilemmaemail address below – I offer a free half hour trial session by phone or Skype.

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. 

Need help finding work, with problems at work, at home or with relationships? Book your free 30 minute, no obligation, trial coaching session with Wendy Smith now at this Link 

Giving Feedback

Giving Feedback

Management; Some Good Thoughts On Giving Feedback

Giving feedback to those you manage is an important task for any manager. Here is some good advice!

 

Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach and author of a new novel, The Wolf Project.  Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! To find out more emailwendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com, find her on Skype at wendymason14, or call +44 (0) 2081239146 (02081239146 for UK callers) or +1 262 317 9016 if you are in the US.  
A free trial/consultation allows you to give phone coaching a real trial without any financial risk. And remember there are great benefits to be achieved from coaching by phone or Skype.

CV review and interview preparation a speciality

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  • Career Development – The Value of a Career Plan and Making One!
  • Job Search Techniques To Help You Stand Out From The Crowd
  • Management, Orders and Attitude – Millennials and Beyond – Youth Unemployment
  • Why Telephone Coaching Works

Management:Some Good Thoughts On Giving Feedback

Management;Some Good Thoughts On Giving Feedback

Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach and author of a new novel, The Wolf Project.  Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! To find out more emailwendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com, find her on Skype at wendymason14, or call +44 (0) 2081239146 (02081239146 for UK callers) or +1 262 317 9016 if you are in the US.  
A free trial/consultation allows you to give phone coaching a real trial without any financial risk. And remember there are great benefits to be achieved from coaching by phone or Skype.

CV review and interview preparation a speciality

xxx
xxx

  • Career Development – The Value of a Career Plan and Making One!
  • Job Search Techniques To Help You Stand Out From The Crowd
  • Management, Orders and Attitude – Millennials and Beyond – Youth Unemployment
  • Why Telephone Coaching Works

When things go wrong! Giving criticism and negative feedback! Seven Ways to Be!

When things go wrong

Sometimes in leading or managing a team we need to give criticism or negative feedback.  Not everything can be perfect every time.  Sometimes things go wrong.  And sometimes that something is down to an action or lack of action by a person or a group of people.

First and most important be sure of the facts.  Try to find out exactly what went wrong and why.

To do this properly you need to have won the confidence and trust of your team.  They need to know that you will deal with them honestly, fairly and with compassion.  That does not mean that you will never give criticism when it is due.

Make sure that your criticism is constructive – it should be about getting things right in the future not about punishment or about scapegoats.  It should not be about the personal qualities of people.  You are not a parent, a school teacher or a judge in a Court of Law.

Dealing with discipline

If you think there has been a disciplinary offence then deal with it in line with your HR Policy. If necessary, take advice and if you are an SME don’t be afraid to have a word with an Employment Law Adviser.  Getting it wrong can cost you a lot of money.  If your team includes contractors be clear about the contract and where contractual responsibilities lies.

Giving Criticism!

Seven Ways to Be

How you sound, look and behave when you give the feedback often matters as much as the words you use.  But the words are important.

Here are my eight ways to be when giving criticism.

  1. Be direct! Get to the point and give the feedback in a simple straight forward way.
  2. Be clear! Set out what you are criticizing, the change you want to see and why.
  3. Be sincere! Say what you mean and mean what you say.  Sincerity mean you speak with care and respect. Don’t send a mixed message – for example “I think you are all wonderful but there is just this little thing I’d like to mention”.  This usually means the real purpose of the message gets lost. Putting the “but” in the middle just creates contradictions
  4. Be serious! Express concern but do not become emotional.  Getting angry and showing frustration will distort the message.  Again remember you are trying to create awareness and improve performance not to create noise, vent or make yourself feel better.
  5. Be objective! State what you have observed and the evidence you have gathered.  Do not reinterpret the facts and add your opinion beyond stating the gap between what happened and what should have happened according to the standards set by you or your organization.
  6. Be live! To have impact, feedback needs to be direct and person to person; not through someone else or through technology.  Talk live to people face-to-face when you can or by phone if there is no alternative.  If talking to a group be with them either physically or by a direct line.
  7. Be on time! No I don’t mean don’t be late for the meeting, although you never should.  Give feedback as close as possible to the event.  When everything is fresh in people’s mind your comments will have far greater impact than further down the line when many may have forgotten exactly what happened.

Those are my Seven Ways to Be when giving criticism and negative feedback.  Do you agree?  Send me your thoughts and observations by commenting below.

 
Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Writer. 

She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those;

  • looking for work
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • facing redundancy
  • moving into retirement
  • wanting to do a mid-life review

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

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Are you going to listen to me? The delicate art of communication! Giving bad news!

This week my posts are going to be about Communication and I start here with how to give the bad news – in this case seriously bad news, for example, about redundancy.

About a year ago I published a version of the post below!  It has been one of the most popular items on this site!

I started my working life as a nurse.  In those days we were given no preparation for giving bad news.  I can still remember feeling totally undone by the prospect of having to tell a young husband that his wife had died!  I was the only person there to give the message.  I did my best but to this day, I know that I could have done it better! I still remember every moment of the encounter with that poor man! So here is the advice which is now usually given to medical students in the UK and I believe nurses in training receive similar advice! It can be equally useful in the workplace.  Don’t under estimate the sense of loss and pain that accompanies news of redundancy!

“THE DELICATE ART OF GIVING BAD NEWS
This post is going to be concerned with, what John Nettles’ character described in a recent edition of Midsomer Murders as, ‘the delicate art of delivering bad news’

I covered giving feedback in a recent post and this is closely related, so you may wish to read that as well.

On most occasions when you give feedback your hearer is expecting a message of some kind – good or bad.  Bad news often comes as a shock, even if it is expected!  The reality and the details may be very hard to bear!  There is, and should be, a lot more to it than just saying or writing the words!

If you want to ensure there is the best possible outcome then you will need to prepare and to follow-up, as well as delivering the message itself well!

Preparing

Preparing to give bad news is almost as important as actually giving it. For instance, where are you going to have the meeting?  Where you sit or stand in relation to the hearer and even what you wear is important, if the news is seriously bad.  If you have to write, then you need to think about the medium – this is not the time for a very brief email! You will need to think about how you are going to follow up and provide an opportunity to handle questions

When choosing a place, you should make sure it’s quiet with little or no chance of interruption. Make sure it’s some place you can make the person feel as comfortable as possible.  If possible, sit close to the person at eye-level with no barrier between you.  Studies have shown that many people feel isolated and alone if you sit behind a desk or some other barrier. They may also perceive you as cold and uncaring if you sit too far away.

Knowing how you should comfort really must come from what you know about the person!  For instance, if you’ve found they don’t like people sitting too close this may make them feel uncomfortable rather than at ease.

One thing that is important is for you to be very clear about the facts, the explanation behind a decision, for example, before you begin.  You also need to know the options open to the person.  In case of redundancy, what support can the person expect from HR?  In this example, identify an HR contact so that you can pass a name and telephone number onto the individual?

The worst thing you can do when giving bad news, is to give the individual the impression that you didn’t even care enough to find out the facts.  Know your material and don’t work from notes, if you can, on this occasion!  Notes can provide a barrier and you will not be able to judge their reactions so well!

Work out what your own feelings are about the situation before the meeting, and how to deal with them!  You want the person to know you are sorry but it isn’t fair to overwhelm them with your own grief!

Giving the news

Watching the person’s reaction and listening are very important while actually while giving bad news. Just from body language or the extent of eye contact, you can tell if they understand and accept what you’re saying and what emotions they are experiencing.   Be prepared for anger or despair with serious news.

It is really important to remember to speak clearly and slowly.  Don’t jump straight into the news – go through the usual courtesies at the beginning of the meeting.  In a letter warn them that you have bad news and say that you are sorry about it!

Throughout the meeting, ask them if they have any questions and if they understand what you’re telling them.    Don’t let your feelings weigh on the listener!

Following-up

After you’ve given the bad news, don’t end the meeting abruptly. Ask again for questions or if they need any information repeated. Offer additional sources of information like pamphlets or the names of support groups if they are available. Make sure to pass on that name and contact details for HR.

Most of us feel somewhat lost after receiving very bad news.  One way to deal with this is to schedule another meeting shortly afterwards or to ring them to discuss how they are going to manage the time ahead.

At the very least you will want to make sure they understood what you told them and that they can respond to it as necessary. Then you may want to allow them some time alone! Just don’t rush them out of your office or wherever the meeting is taking place.  Take time to be kind – compassion costs us nothing!”

I would very much welcome your own tips on handling bad news and to hear your own experiences

I hope to publish the next post in this series on Communication on Wednesday 2nd March 2011

THE DELICATE ART OF GIVING BAD NEWS

This is post is going to be concerned with, what John Nettles’ character described in a recent edition of Midsomer Murders as, ‘the delicate art of delivering bad news’   We covered giving feedback in a recent post and this is closely related, so you may wish to read that as well.

On most occasions when you give feedback your hearer is expecting a message of some kind – good or bad.  Where as bad news often comes as a shock! Even if is it expected in principle – the reality and the details may be hard to bear!  There is, and should be,  a lot more  to it than just saying or writing the words!  If you want to ensure there is the best possible out come then you will need to prepare and to follow-up, as well as delivering the message well!   The advice given here is based on that usually given to medical students in the UK as part of their training.  But it applies equally well if you are giving seriously bad news at work,  for example,  about redundancy!

Preparing

Preparing to give bad news is almost as important as actually giving it. For instance, where are you going to  have the meeting?  Where you’ll sit or stand in relation to the hearer and even what you will wear is important if the news is seriously bad.  If you are going to write, then you need to think about the medium – this is not the time for a very brief email!

When choosing a place, you should make sure it’s quiet with little or no chance of interruption. Make sure it’s some place you can make the person feel as comfortable as possible.  If possible, sit close to the person at eye-level with no barrier between you.  Studies have shown that many people feel isolated and alone if you sit behind a desk or some other barrier. They may also perceive you as cold and uncaring if you sit too far away.  Knowing how you should comfort really must come from what you know about the person!  For instance,  if you’ve found they don’t like people sitting too close this may make them feel uncomfortable rather than at ease.

One thing that is important is for you to be very clear about the facts, the explanation behind a decision, for example, before you begin.  You also need to know the options open to the person.  In case of redundancy, what support can the person expect from HR?  In this example, identify an HR contact that you can pass onto the individual?   The worst thing you can do when giving bad new is to give the individual the impression that you didn’t even care enough to find out the facts.  Know your material and don’t work from notes,  if you can, on this occasion!  Notes can provide a barrier and you will not be able to fully judge their reactions so well!

Work out what your own feelings are about the situation and how to deal with them before the meeting.  You want the person to know you are sorry but it isn’t fair to overwhelm them with your own grief!

Giving the news

Watching the person’s reaction and listening are very important while actually while giving bad news. Just from body language or the extent of eye contact, you can tell if they understand and accept what you’re saying and what emotions they are experiencing.   Be prepared for anger or despair with serious news.    It is really important to remember to speak clearly and slowly.  Don’t jump straight into the news – go through the usual courtesies at the beginning of the meeting.  In a letter warn them that you have bad news and say that you are sorry about it!

Throughout the meeting, ask them if they have any questions and if they understand what you’re telling them.    Your own feelings should be dealt with before the meeting and should not weigh on them!

Following-up

After you’ve given the bad news, don’t end the meeting abruptly. Ask again for questions or if they need any information repeated. Offer additional sources of information like pamphlets or the names of support groups if they are available. Make sure to pass on the name and  contact details for HR.

Most of us feel somewhat lost after receiving very bad news.  One way to deal with this is to schedule  another meeting shortly afterwards or to ring them to discuss how they are going to manage the time ahead.  At the very least you will want to make sure  they processed what you told them. Then you may want to allow them some time alone!. Just don’t rush them out of your office or wherever the meeting is taking place.  Take time to be kind – compassion costs us nothing!

SOME BASIC GUIDELINES FOR GIVING FEEDBACK

In all kinds of situations we may need to give feedback to someone about something they have said or done.  This may be an employee, a work colleague, a business partner.    But it may  equally well be a close friend or relative.  In my view the same principles hold good and they certainly work for maintaining a positive approach in change teams

McGill and Beatty (in “Action learning: A practitioner’s guide”, London: Kogan Page, 1994, p. 159-163) provide useful suggestions about giving effective feedback:

1. Clarity — be clear about what you want to say. Think before you speak!

2. Emphasize the positive —  this doesn’t mean you are endorsing the present behaviour!

3. Be specific — avoid general comments and clarify pronouns such as “it,” “that,” etc – be as clear and simple as you can!

4. Focus on behaviour or the words spoken or written rather than the person.

5. Refer to behaviour/approaches that can be changed.

6. Be descriptive rather than evaluative. Try to stay in the neutral ground emotionally!

7. Own the feedback — Use ‘I’ statements. This is your view!

8. Generalizations – be wary of word like “all,” “never,” “always,” etc., be more specific — often these words are arbitrary limits on behaviour.

9. Be very careful with advice!  People rarely struggle with an issue because of the lack of some specific piece of information; often, the best help is helping the person to come to a better understanding of their issue, how it developed, and how they can identify actions to address the issue more effectively.

I would add one further piece of advise – always put yourself in the other person’s shoes!  Think how you would feel receiving the same information!  No room here for humiliation!