Culture & Retention Recruiting

How to Give Feedback to Healthcare Sales Job Candidates

Your job isn’t easy. Qualified candidates are hard to find, and hiring managers have a tendency to spring new must-have needs on you daily.

But think for a moment about the other side of the process. Searching for a healthcare sales job can also be brutal. Candidates are pounding the proverbial pavement in the form of job boards, social networks, and employer websites – looking for healthcare sales jobs that match their skillsets. They spend hours applying to jobs online, but they may not hear anything in response. If they’re lucky, they’ll get an automated acknowledgement of receipt, but that may be as much as they get.


According to the 2016 CareerBuilder Candidate Behavior Guide, not hearing back from employers is the #1 frustration of job seekers. And unfortunately, job poster silence is all too common. Job seekers say 4 in 10 of their applications don’t receive any response whatsoever. How do you think that impacts their perception of employer brand?  

Look, you already know why it’s important to reply to applicants, but it’s not always easy to do. Whether you are drafting a response to a candidate whose resume didn’t make the cut or giving a verbal rejection to a candidate after an interview – it’s just never easy to deliver bad news. Rejection stings, but constructive feedback can be just the thing to ease the pain.

So, how do you do it? How do you give clear and concise feedback to candidates without investing a lot of time? Follow this formula:

Start with the positive

Thank them for applying (and interviewing, if applicable) and find at least one thing to comment on that the candidate did well. Was their resume particularly well-written (or at least formatted nicely)? Was it clear that they had done extensive research on the company – referencing recent headlines or the annual report? Did they have good questions at the end of the interview? Were they extraordinarily likeable? Find something positive to comment on and start the conversation there.

Be specific

Vague feedback isn’t helpful, so be as specific as you can. Of course, it’s easier to relay concerns about a candidate’s lack of experience than it is to talk about their lack of personality, but feedback like, “I heard comments that you were a bit abrupt,” is more useful to the candidate than, “It wasn’t clear that you’d be a good cultural fit.” Likewise, saying you had concerns about their ability to close deals isn’t as clear as telling them the hiring manager expected them to ask for the job at the end of the interview.    

Be helpful

You are not in the career coaching business, but if you can find a way to give candidates a few helpful tips, it will go a long way to impact their perception of you and your employer brand. So, for every critique, try to offer advice. If they came across as shifty or nervous, suggest they try relaxation exercises before their next interview, or work on their small talk skills. If they failed to convince the hiring manager that they have what it takes to succeed, tell them to work on articulating how they’ve been successful in the past and prepare talking points on how they plan to replicate past success.

Be brief

Don’t let time be the reason you can’t give feedback to candidates. Whether you are writing an email or having a conversation, follow the formula of compliment, critique, and advice – and don’t get sucked into a candidate’s pity party or indulge their need to vent. Be clear, concise and as helpful as possible in a limited amount of time.

Giving feedback to candidates rarely lands on the top of a recruiter’s priority list, but it is key to shaping the larger perception of you and your employer brand. Find ways to be helpful to the candidates who take the time to apply and progress through your hiring process, and the rewards will come back to you in the form of better candidate experience and enhanced employer brand.