· 12 min read

Developing Interview Feedback Templates That Actually Work

Post-interview feedback isn’t only about how well the candidates’ qualifications match or don’t match the job requirements. But it also includes feedback on their communication skills, fit for the company, engagement, professionalism, and attire.

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Daniel Jakaitis
Post-interview feedback isn’t only about how well the candidates’ qualifications match or don’t match the job requirements. But it also includes feedback on their communication skills, fit for the company, engagement, professionalism, and attire.

The interview doesn’t end once you’ve ended the conversation with your candidate. Giving feedback to internal teams and documenting remarks is just as important as creating job descriptions, advertising the opening, and shortlisting candidates.

But this feedback process might be one of the longest phases, second only to the actual interviewing stage. Creating custom templates for this can make your process efficient and save you a lot of time and frustration.

And developing interview feedback templates doesn’t take nearly as much time as you might think.

What you will find ahead:

  • Why do you need interview feedback templates?
  • 10 tips for developing interview feedback templates
  • What not to do when developing interview feedback templates.
  • Interview feedback template examples.

Why Do You Need Interview Feedback Templates?

The obvious reason for having a template is that you don’t have to write the feedback from scratch for each candidate. That speeds up a rather monotonous task while maintaining the quality of your feedback.

Post-interview feedback isn’t only about how well the candidates’ qualifications match or don’t match the job requirements. But it also includes feedback on their communication skills, fit for the company, engagement, professionalism, and attire.

Having a template for feedback gives you a script that you can follow during the interview.

That way, you can avoid being too personal in the feedback or saying something that invites legal problems for your company. Instead, you can make sure that each question you ask helps you make a decision.

If you don’t have a template, the chances are that you might forget to mention a few things while documenting the feedback. Or it might take you more time than it should.

As well, the time and effort put forward in an interview by the company raises or lowers the candidate NPS.

Templates help streamline things for your hiring teams. It can create uniformity in your reviews and make it easier for the managers and your hiring teams to make a decision about interview candidates.

10 Tips for Developing Your Interview Feedback Template(s)

You should create a few different interview feedback forms according to the different positions.

Some can be for applicants that are farther down in the interview process, while other templates can be generic for candidates that you’ve only interviewed once - over the phone, perhaps.

These templates should focus not only on the job-specific skills but also on soft skills.  That can include behavioral skills, technical capabilities outside of what’s required for the position, organizational competencies, and functional expertise.

These templates should also be customizable. So that you can change the names of technical skills or other information as the requirements change.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are the tips you should follow to create interview feedback templates for your company:

1. Be as Quantitative as Possible

It’s human to be biased. But you can’t afford to do that with your hires. That’s why you need to design the interview feedback templates to be as objective and quantitative as possible.

It’ll help you easily compare various candidates in the pipeline.

For that, set metrics and use a scoring system, so you don’t have to follow your *gut *feeling when deciding on a candidate. You can then grade each interview segment on the same scale for each candidate. And use the aggregate score to choose your hire.

Your insights about the candidate’s performance and personality are highly valuable because of your experience. So there should be room to accommodate those as well. But you should try to be as objective as possible when designing the feedback template.

2. Set Up an Interview Rubric

If you use an interview rubric, and you should use one if you don’t already, then use that as a guide to shape the body of your interview feedback template.

For those of you who might not know, an interview rubric is a method where hiring managers have a set of questions that they ask each candidate. This sets the criteria that they use to evaluate each candidate.

By asking the same questions, it becomes easier to grade the answers and contrast the answers of different candidates.

That can help you review all applicants for the same qualities and skills - or competencies as we prefer to call it. Having a rubric also removes interview bias to some extent.

So have a section in your template to analyze the candidate’s responses to the rubric questions. You can either write complete questions in there or use only keywords to remember the questions.

For instance, identify the criterion of skills and expertise you require in your sales managers. Then shape a few questions that can help you access these in your candidates.

Then you can mention the keywords in the body of your feedback template. And follow that by scoring the candidates on how well they answered that question or demonstrated a specific skill in the interview.

By having these questions already jotted down in your template, you can speed up the feedback process by simply reviewing your interview notes to see what you have to write against a certain section.

If you don’t know what questions you need to be asking or how you can create a feedback rubric for your company, then we’ve got your back. You can use our platform to create interview plans and create rubric questions for different positions using our guidelines.

3. Shape the Templates According to Competencies

Competencies are the skills you need in a candidate. And you need to define these for your company before you begin interviewing candidates. Or ideally, even before you create the job descriptions.

You can create columns for position-specific competencies and company-specific competencies in your interview feedback templates. Then simply score each candidate according to your scoring criteria, such as 1-5 score, 5 being the highest level of competency.

You can make this process a lot smoother by having a template for your job postings. That way, you won’t have to double-check your feedback template each time.

By designing your feedback templates according to the required qualifications and expertise, you ensure that your feedback is constructive and valuable to the managers and department heads.

4. Add a Section for the Candidate’s First Impressions

Give feedback on how you were impressed by the candidate’s punctuality or confidence. Or how the first impression you got of the candidate showed a lack of professionalism.

You can also mention if the impression remained the same until the end of the interview or if it changed.

You can have some options already written in the template. Then you can either check the boxes, choose options from a drop-down menu or write down your impressions in short sentences.

Be careful not to add words about the candidates’ physical appearance because that can be classified as discriminatory. Just talk about their personality, attitude, motivation to excel at the job and match the company culture.

That’s a great place to mention if the candidate impressed you somehow. It could be their passion when they talked about a certain topic or their work ethic that you could see in their portfolio.

5. Elaborate on Required Technical Skills

Create a section to elaborate on the most essential competencies for a specific position. If you’re hiring a software engineer, you can elaborate on the technical skills required for the job.

But if you’re hiring an executive, then perhaps have a section to add notes on the candidates’ management capabilities such as coaching skills, experience in developing employees, and delegating expertise.

So in the main body of your template, mention the relevant job-related technical skills (same as you have in your interview rubric).

Just make sure that these skills or qualifications you mention in your feedback align with what you post in the job description (JD).

Then either write sentences that express how the candidates’ past experiences and current skills match those competencies. Or use a scoring system and give them a grade against each skill.

Your analysis of the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses can help your HR team decide where the candidate lands compared to other applicants.

6. Summarize the Interview Experience

This concluding section plays a big part in setting the tone of your feedback. It should reflect what you’ve said overall in the feedback.

You should include a few sentences at the end about their level of engagement with the interviewers and their preparation for the interviews.

You can have these sentences written down already for your template and include or exclude them as appropriate.

7 .End With Clear Steps On How To Proceed

Your job as the hiring manager is to make it easy for the department heads to hire candidates.

Thus creating a section for the next steps after you’ve documented your feedback on all other interview components can be highly beneficial.

Have this section in the end. Here, you can recommend further actions such as calling the candidate for a face-to-face interview or scheduling another phone interview with the line manager.

That should be a one-liner. You can have a drop-down menu already developed in your feedback template, so it’s more convenient to simply select the option that applies.

8. Be Concise

Your feedback templates should be direct and easily modifiable. So don’t overcomplicate these with many tables, multiple sections, and excessive scoring options.

Write down only as much as you need to. And fill in the rest of the information by comparing your interview notes of each candidate.

You can use parentheses to remind yourself what you need to add in the different sections of the feedback. Keep the parenthesis content limited as well, so you don’t have to spend too much time formatting the template when fitting it out for different positions.

But while you’re being concise, ensure that you’re clear with your message and don’t leave room for confusion. Use actionable words in your template instead of blur words that can be interpreted in different ways.

9. Use Automation Tools

Creating templates for giving interview feedback is already a big part of automating the interview process.

But you should take it further and automate follow-up emails and set reminders for reaching out to managers, following up with HR teams, and sending face-to-face interview invites.

If you create your feedback template on Excel or Google Sheets, you can even automate recommending candidates’ next steps based on their scoring.

10. Add a Section for Comments

Although your feedback template will include all necessary sections, if you follow our tips mentioned above, you should still make room for additional notes that you might need to mention in the feedback.

For that, you can have a section at the end where you can express thoughts that don’t fit in any of the other categories. Or have a comment section next to each category.

For example, you can mention if the candidate has some additional valuable skills and elaborate on how those translate to the job requirements of the current position.

What Not to Do When Developing Interview Feedback Templates

Here are some mistakes to avoid when creating feedback templates.

Mindlessly Copy Someone Else’s Template

These temples are supposed to ease the interview feedback process while also improving the quality of hires. You can’t achieve that if you use other companies’ templates without making some necessary modifications.

Your templates should include competencies specific to roles as we’ve covered above. And those won’t necessarily be the same if you use someone else’s template.

Use a Vague Scoring System

The point of having a scoring system is to be explicitly clear and unbiased with your feedback.

So take the time to develop a rating scale that the entire hiring team understands. And then rate candidates in all the different aspects before giving them an overall score.

Not Having Specific Templates for Different Positions

You shouldn’t use the same template for all interviews. Because then your feedback form might be too long and non-specific.

You’ll end up leaving sections because they don’t apply. For instance, if you have the same template for a software engineer and a finance manager, you’ll have sections specific to finance positions that will be left empty when you’re reviewing a candidate for a software engineering position.

Don’t overburden your feedback template with too much data. Keep it simple so you can effectively review the notes later on.

Interview Feedback Template Examples

Here are two interview feedback templates for your inspiration. Observe how each tip mentioned above is incorporated in these examples.

Why we love it:  This is the feedback form used here in Chatkick. It’s concise. It has five categories for evaluating candidates: overall, communication, technical, work experience, and culture add. It uses a 1-5 scoring system - 1 being the smallest score you can give to a candidate. That’s quantitative and definitive, which leaves no room for misinterpretation.

There’s also space to add comments and notes if you need to provide further clarification to your team.

Template 2

Download here

Why we love it: This template grades each competency in two categories which can help you quickly assess the fitness of a candidate for the role.

It defines the skills in detail so new hiring managers can easily understand what these requirements entail. There’s space for adding your notes as well. And a concluding section for the candidate’s overall score based on the scores of all the individual categories above.

Your Next Steps

Since you know you have to document and give feedback after interviews, you might as well make the process as efficient as it can be. Templates are a great way to do that.

You can use any of our pre-built templates and modify them for your company. These will help you streamline the feedback process and improve the quality of your interview reviews.

Or better yet, you can automate the entire process from shortlisting candidates, scheduling interviews, taking notes during interviews, and following up afterward.

Chatkick is a tool that can help you improve the interview process for your hiring teams and applicants. Check out how it works and sign up for early access.