#36: Recruitment - Bonus Episode 2 - Feedback

Over the last 10 episodes I've been focused on recruitment.

I had originally planned to finish that mini-series two episodes back; but then I gave you a bonus episode last week on the best hire you can make.

I recently came across a question online, and it fitted so perfectly with the recruitment series that I couldn't resist adding another episode to the mini-series.

In this episode, I look at feedback.

Or listen at:

Published: Wed, 08 Apr 2020 18:10:17 GMT


The question that prompted this episode was from a business owner and went something like this;

A disgruntled employee had left the business. As a final act, they had handed the owner a sealed envelope.

The envelope had written on the front; "Now that I've left, I can tell you exactly what I think of your business".

The owner had then used an online forum to ask the question; "should they read the letter or just shred it?"

A member of the site had provided a superb answer; it went something like this;

You've handled this situation badly twice already - do you really want to make it a third?

The responder went on to say that the business owner had failed to create an environment in which the employee had felt they could remain part of.

The business owner had then failed a second time by not conducting some form of exit interview to understand why the employee felt the way they did.

If that business owner chose to shred the letter, then they would have failed for the third time by blatantly disregarding potentially beneficial feedback from the disgruntled employee.

I never found out if the business owner opened the letter.

So I can't comment on if the letter did contain constructive criticism or abusive ranting.

All I can say is that if the business owner didn't open the letter, then they were throwing away an opportunity to improve their organisation.

Its not uncommon to actively avoid negative feedback.

It can make us feel lousy or even angry; what right would that employee have had to criticise the owner?

It feels like a personal attack.

That immediately puts us on the defensive - or even possible the offensive.

However go back to the comments from the respondent on the online forum;

If the business owner could put their emotional response to one side, they would have an opportunity to understand if there was an actual problem with their organisation.

And once they understood if there was a problem, they would have an opportunity to address it.

Ultimately it could have made the organisation so much better.

Ultimately the letter should have been seen as a gift.

I've talked a lot in these podcasts about an experimental mindset.

Try something, measure the result, and adjust as appropriate.

Any form of feedback you are receiving - be it from staff, customers, suppliers or even prospective employees allows you to take a measurement of the organisation and then decide if it is heading in the right direction.

I've seen plenty of organisation where the leadership team have become an echo chamber of their own opinions. Their opinions have become divorced from the people that work from them.

To the point that in some cases, it would come as massive surprise for that leadership team to find that they where leading a demotivated, disillusioned workforce.

Blindly assuming something is working, is pretty much the best way to assure it fails.

The key here is feedback.

Firstly soliciting that feedback, and secondly accepting that feedback without judgement or argument.

When you receive feedback; it will be affected by the other parties opinions and perception of a situation.

Their perception maybe incorrect. You may fundamentally disagree with their point of view.

It doesn't however diminish the individuals view. Thus doesn't diminish the value of the feedback.

When it comes to recruitment, there are number of places to solicit that feedback;

  • From out going employees - why are they leaving?
  • From recruiters trying to find you candidates in the market
  • What is stopping candidates from applying?
  • What is stopping candidates from attending interview?
  • How did candidates feel about an interview? What was done well? What could have been done better?
  • Why has a candidate refused a job offer?
  • Why has a candidate accepted a job offer?

There are so many source to which to solicit rich and valuable feedback.

Feedback that you can use to improve your recruitment process and your organisations brand in the recruitment market.

Sometimes that feedback can be a difficult pill to swallow - but being unaware of any problems is never going to resolve them.

In this episode I've encouraged soliciting feedback from your recruitment process.

There are a variety of sources to obtain that feedback - be it recruitment agencies, candidates or existing staff.

While that feedback can sometimes be difficult to hear - I've advised against receiving with anything other than gratitude.

You then have the opportunity to leverage that potentially valuable feedback to improve your organisation.

Returning to the business owner - the hero of this story - I really do hope that they did read the letter.