Stéphane Moriou is a world expert speaker on the art and science of feedback. His conference "The Art of Feedback" is the worldwide reference on the subject. Founder and CEO of MoreHuman Partners, he currently works as a researcher, speaker and consultant on topics related to cognitive skills. We asked him a few questions on how to give and receive feedback for recruitment.
Why is it so difficult to give feedback?
It is difficult to give feedback because we are the legacy of a culture that has not encouraged its dissemination. I call it "the culture of authority by submission". When you want to impose yourself on others, you don't want them to give you feedback. And on your side, you don't give feedback, but at best, good points. It's the carrot and stick thing. And because we inherited this without realizing it, we are not taught feedback in school or our families. A lot of people I met or trained discovered feedback for the first time in the company. Some were 50 or 60 years old. It's a disaster!
Has the crisis changed anything in the way managers give feedback to employees? And how do employees give feedback to their managers?
The main change we see is that it is much more difficult to give feedback from a distance than when you go to your office every day. Managers who knew this in the old world (e.g. network managers, sales force managers) were not surprised. The others were! The distance poses two problems concerning feedback: first, we have less opportunity to observe ourselves, to see ourselves in action, and observing the other is the basis for feedback. Secondly, we have fewer informal moments to exchange feedback. In return, the Covid crisis has shed new light on the need to have "quality time", quality moments with others. And feedback is a quality time par excellence!
What are the mistakes to avoid when giving and receiving feedback?
When giving feedback, there are three main mistakes to avoid:
-First, consider that compliments and reproaches are feedback: they are feedback but are not nourishing,
-Secondly, using the "feedback sandwich" technique: is a manipulation that doesn't work,
-Finally, disguising your orders as feedback: either you give an order or you give feedback, the difference is in the freedom of the person receiving it.
When receiving feedback, there is one absolute rule to remember: learn to say "thank you". And say "thank you"! A sincere thank you, a deep thank you, even if the feedback was a bit of a shock. This is the story of my grandmother's sweater that you can find in my conference and my videos. When we receive a gift, even an ugly or itchy one, we say thank you. If we don't learn to keep quiet when we receive feedback, people will either give us orders or not give us anything at all.
Why is it important to give feedback to rejected candidates after interviews?
I would say for three reasons. There is a technical reason: it is a legal obligation. There is a tactical reason: as most companies are very bad at it, it is a great differentiation lever for an employer brand. And beyond all that, there is a strategic reason: if we want to increase the overall level of skills in a market or a country, we need to help people improve continuously. That's what feedback is for.
How to structure your feedback as a recruiter? Which method should be used (e-mail, call, etc.)?
First of all, we must be aware of the daily reality of recruiters.
Their first challenge is time. A recruiter spends an infinite amount of time every day on administrative, logistical and IT tasks. This often leaves little time to prepare and give quality feedback. The impact of feedback can only be improved if recruiters are given the time to do so.
The second issue is the training of recruiters. I have trained thousands of recruiters in companies such as Coca-Cola, Disneyland, Louis Vuitton, St Gobain, Veolia,... and I have observed that they were rarely trained in feedback. How can you be successful in an activity if you are not told how to do it?
So we need to train recruiters and give them time to improve their feedback skills.
On the structure of feedback, we need to organize a conference or a masterclass on the subject, as it is so rich and vast. But if I had to give two or three pieces of advice, here is what I would say:
-For the candidates, you have interviewed, always prefer oral feedback,
-Don't justify your decision (it's been made, you won't go back on it) and give the candidate several pieces of advice for his next applications,
-Be courageous in what you say! Candidates want to hear the truth rather than a false excuse such as: "you were very good but the client or the manager preferred someone else".
What do you think about the use of an evaluation grid or scorecard as a basis for giving feedback to candidates?
You have to be careful about one thing: evaluation is the antithesis of feedback. If you give me a score, you tell me I am good, average or bad. But you are not telling me how I can improve tomorrow. If you rate my answers to your question, I'll get an indication of what you think of my answers, but I won't improve in my next interview.
To put it another way, feedback prefers qualitative to quantitative. So of course, to give feedback, you have to go through assessments, tests and inventories (preferably Maki People) and based on the information gathered, you can formulate more precise, more relevant and more enriching feedback.
In recruitment, we must never forget Carl Jung's old principle: "Thinking is difficult, that's why most people judge".
How do you invite candidates (rejected or not) to give feedback on the recruitment process?
This is a complicated subject. Because a candidate understands that it is not in his interest to get angry with someone who can have a future influence on his career. This is what we see, for example, in film, theater and opera castings. Would you risk telling a casting director that their process sucked and was unfair? I think there is still a long way to go. Fortunately, I meet recruiters every day who, by their example, are defining the contours of tomorrow's world.
Stéphane Moriou is a world expert speaker on the art and science of feedback. Founder and CEO of MoreHuman Partners, researcher, speaker and consultant on topics related to cognitive skills, his conference "L'art du feedback" is THE world reference on the subject.