Examples Of Interview Feedback For Unsuccessful Candidates

Get tips for giving interview feedback to unsuccessful candidates, plus a variety of templates to customize for outreach to candidates who will not be progressing. Whether you're dealing with internal or external candidates, or talking to them on the phone, via email or on text message, these examples of interview feedback for unsuccessful candidates will help you turn a typically disappointing situation into a valuable learning experience for all parties involved.

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Examples Of Interview Feedback For Unsuccessful Candidates

Navigating the challenging terrain of blue-collar recruitment is much like operating a rugged forklift on a bustling construction site — it requires precision, insight, and a deep understanding of the landscape. With a massive labor shortage in the US, this challenge has become even trickier.

As of June 2023, there are over 9.8 million job openings in the country and an increasing number of employees are quitting.

This is a stark indicator of the critical situation facing hiring managers in industries like construction, manufacturing, distribution, and the home services, where an already precarious labor shortage is only getting worse.

The complex work of finding the right talent isn't just about hiring. It's also about providing constructive feedback to those who didn't make the cut (a crucial, yet often overlooked part of the process).

Below we'll dig into examples of interview feedback for unsuccessful candidates, helping you turn a typically disappointing situation into a valuable learning experience for both sides of the table.

Giving Interview Feedback To Unsuccessful Candidates

The art of giving interview feedback to unsuccessful candidates is much like building a solid infrastructure. Each brick laid - or word spoken - should contribute to a strong foundation for improvement and growth.

Every candidate interaction is a building block for your company's reputation. And when you're vying for the attention of candidates in a tight labor market, your reputation as a good employer matters more than ever.

When it comes to giving interview feedback, there's a delicate balance of action and reaction. You want to be honest and direct without coming off too harsh.

Here's how to strike that balance:

  1. Adopt a constructive mindset: Just like a careful welder preparing for a perfect arc, you need to approach the conversation with a positive intention to help, rather than criticize. Your mindset should be tuned toward developing potential rather than simply dismissing it.
  2. Embrace tact and grace: Communicating feedback is a delicate matter, so you need to make sure the candidate feels respected and valued, even when they didn't land the job.
  3. Set clear goals: Before sharing feedback, have a clear idea of what you want the candidate to take away from the conversation.

Why should you care about giving constructive feedback for unsuccessful candidates? Here are a few reasons:

  • Enhances your company's reputation: Word spreads quickly. So like we mentioned above, in a competitive job market, candidate experience can set you apart from the rest.
  • Builds a talent pipeline: Constructive feedback often encourages candidates to reapply in the future or refer others, keeping your talent pool stocked like a well-managed warehouse.
  • Boosts internal processes: Gathering and giving feedback allows for introspection, much like routine maintenance checks. It helps fine-tune your own recruitment process.

Your approach to unsuccessful interview feedback should be beneficial for both parties. It's about setting the foundation for growth, improvement, and long-term success, no matter the outcome of the interview.

Interview Feedback Examples

Now that we've discussed the importance of giving thoughtful, constructive feedback to unsuccessful candidates, let's look at some interview feedback examples.

Whether you're informing unsuccessful candidates after an interview by phone or crafting an email, it's crucial that your feedback is clear, concise, and polite.

Here are a few examples:

Unsuccessful Interview Feedback Email Examples

Subject: Re: [JOB TITLE] Interview Outcome


We appreciate you coming in and sharing your experiences with us.

It was a tough choice, but we decided to go with a candidate who will be a better fit for our fast-paced environment.

This doesn't take away from your capabilities, and we hope you'll consider future positions with us.

Thanks again for your interest in [YOUR COMPANY].


Subject: [YOUR COMPANY]: Interview Feedback


Thanks for interviewing with us. It was good to meet and gain some insight into your enthusiasm for the role.

After careful consideration, we've decided to move forward with another candidate who showcased a bit more confidence in their skills during the interview process.

This doesn't detract from your potential and we believe you can improve with more practice.

We hope you'll consider applying with us again in the future when you've honed your interview skills a bit more.

Thanks again for your interest in [YOUR COMPANY],


Informing Unsuccessful Candidates After Interview By Phone

Version A

"Thanks again for chatting with us about the position, [CANDIDATE'S NAME]. We ended up moving forward with another candidate whose skills better match what we're currently looking for in [SPECIFIC AREA]. You've got some great qualifications and we'll keep you in mind for future roles that would be a better fit."

Version B

"It was great learning about your skills, [CANDIDATE'S NAME]. We've decided to go with a different candidate for this position. We saw some strengths in your application and, while you have strong potential, this role requires advanced proficiency in [SPECIFIC SKILL]. We encourage you to apply for other positions with us in the future that align more with your skillset."

Example of Interview Feedback for Unsuccessful Internal Candidates

"[CANDIDATE'S NAME], We appreciate your interest in the [JOB TITLE] position. We decided to go with someone else who has a bit more experience in [SPECIFIC AREA]. We would love to help you improve that area with [OPPORTUNITY FOR DEVELOPMENT]. In the meantime, your current role is vital to our team, and we hope to see you continue to succeed in it. Thank you for understanding."

There are typically four reasons to reject a candidate after an interview:

  1. Lack of Relevant Experience
  2. Interview Performance
  3. Skills Gap
  4. Cultural Fit

The interview feedback examples above offer just a few ways to address these reasons. But of course, you should tailor your feedback to the individual candidate and situation.

Remember, the goal is to provide constructive feedback that guides them towards improvement. The skilled trades are suffering from a labor shortage that's not likely to go away anytime soon. So it's important to nurture and encourage any potential you come across for the sake of the industry as a whole.

Rejection Letter Template

A well-written rejection letter is a tool that not only helps unsuccessful candidates improve but also showcases your company's commitment to people's development. So like the interview feedback examples above, rejection letters should be tactful and helpful.

These days, a formal rejection letter is generally delivered via email, rather than printed and mailed. But you might also prefer to deliver the news on a phone call, depending on the situation.

Here is a rejection letter template incorporating some of the aforementioned reasons to reject a candidate after an interview:

Negative Interview Feedback Sample Email

Subject: [YOUR COMPANY]: Interview Feedback


Thank you for meeting with us about [JOB TITLE]. Your enthusiasm for the role and [YOUR COMPANY] were refreshing!

After careful consideration, we've decided to proceed with a candidate whose experience more closely aligns with the specific requirements of this role.

We encourage you to continue to gain experience in [SPECIFIC AREA] and would welcome your application again in the future.

Best regards,


Sample Rejection Letter After Interview for Internal Candidate


We appreciate you applying for the role of [JOB TITLE]. Your dedication to [YOUR COMPANY] and your enthusiasm to expand your responsibilities are valued assets.

After careful consideration, we've chosen to move forward with a candidate who is a better fit for the specific team dynamics of this role.

We appreciate your understanding and encourage you to continue excelling in your current position and expanding your skills. Let’s have a meeting to discuss how we can help you do that.

Thank you,


Informing Unsuccessful Candidates After Interview By Phone

"I appreciate your time discussing the [JOB TITLE] role, [CANDIDATE'S NAME]. We found your background compelling, but our team has decided to move forward with a candidate whose interview performance demonstrated a more confident grasp of [SPECIFIC SKILL]. But you have significant potential. We hope with more practice and experience, your interview abilities will better align with your overall skill set. Please consider us for future opportunities."

Crafting a tactful rejection letter is no less crucial than choosing the right wrench for a tight bolt.

Use these templates as a guide to provide constructive feedback, respecting your candidates' time and efforts while fostering a reputation for your company that resonates with grace and respect.

With this approach, your hiring process will become another component of your successful operations.

Constructive Interview Feedback Examples

Constructive feedback is like the blueprint for a construction project. Without it, how can you build a sturdy bridge to a more promising future?

The best feedback is a two-way street — it's not only about telling the candidate where they fell short but also opening up the conversation for them to share their feedback on your interview process.

The constructive interview feedback examples below provide a clear plan for the candidate's improvement, while also inviting their insight into your own process:

  • You're addressing shortcomings…
  • Providing them the tools they need to develop and grow…
  • And creating an open dialogue.

Here are some constructive interview feedback examples:

"Your knowledge of [SPECIFIC AREA] is impressive. However, we noticed a hesitation when addressing [SPECIFIC SKILL]. A deeper understanding and confident presentation of this skill could be all you need to fit into a role like this. Do you feel our job description clearly conveyed the expectations of the role?"
"Your technical skills are impressive, but we noticed a gap in leadership skills. You might consider seeking opportunities to lead small projects or teams. Do you believe our interview questions allowed you to effectively showcase your management skills?"
"Your understanding of project management software is excellent. But it seems there was a lack of experience in hands-on skills. A bit more time in the field would help you be more competitive in similar roles. Did our job advertisements accurately represent the on-site nature of the role?"

Constructive feedback isn't about pointing fingers. Providing interview comments should be as much about recognizing strengths as it is about identifying areas for improvement for your company.

This balanced approach is vital to ensuring a positive candidate experience. It will put you one step closer to an efficient, effective, and respectful hiring process.

Positive Interview Feedback Examples

An interview can be a tough environment. So giving candidates positive feedback can be a real morale booster.

Applying the sandwich method in giving feedback (i.e. layering the areas of improvement between slices of positivity) is a great way to keep communication balanced when a recruiter wants to give feedback after an interview:

  1. Start with the positive
  2. Address the areas needing improvement
  3. Conclude with another positive remark

Every candidate brings their own unique strengths — those shining moments that stand out like a high-vis jacket in the pre-dawn light.

Positive feedback helps you to recognize these moments and reinforce the candidate's enthusiasm for both the trades and your company.

Here are some positive interview feedback examples to help you recognize a job candidate's potential:

  • "Your extensive knowledge of our machinery stood out. Continue leveraging that in future interviews."
  • "Your commitment to safety protocols was extremely impressive. That's an asset in any blue-collar role."
  • "Your positive attitude was a breath of fresh air. It's a key aspect many employers look for."

Like we already mentioned, don't miss an opportunity to improve your hiring strategies. Opening up for interview feedback from candidates can be as simple as asking, "How did you find our interview process compared to others?"

For employers, going the extra mile to create a positive candidate experience is not only important for attracting top talent but also for fostering a reputation of kindness and respect. Candidates will remember how you treated them in their time of need, and it just might come back around when they’re in a position to recommend others.

Now, how do you actually get people to show up to their interviews? Check out our strategies here.