How To Give College Student Job Candidates Constructive Feedback

By Danielle Wirsansky on August 16, 2016

Being a student is tough enough on its own without the added responsibility of working.

But when a college student does take on a job (or begins the search for one), there are ways to help guide them so that they do the best they can possibly do. It is not like a recruiter wants a student candidate to fail, and you can be helpful to their development when you give feedback.

Read on to learn how to give college student job candidates constructive feedback to help them grow and succeed!

Balance your critiques.

Dale Carnegie, a master in business, said, “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.”

When giving your honest opinion and supplying feedback, in order to keep it constructive you need to be sure that you are addressing all areas of a college student job candidate’s application and interview process.

Do they have typos on their resume? Were they late for their interview? Did they dress inappropriately for the interview? Did they answer your questions in a way that made you unlikely to hire them? Did they keep eye contact for too long or constantly break it?

Whatever they are doing that needs to be rectified, make sure you tell them. Just be sure not to focus on only one area of the process. Do not only critique their resume or only critique their outfit. Give a well-rounded critique that is balanced between different areas instead of concentrated on just one so that they are able to evaluate their actions and correct themselves on a broader scale.

For every negative, find a positive.

Another way of balancing your critique is making sure that you pepper in positive comments along with negative comments. You should be doing more than just tearing the student candidate down — you should be helping to build them up.

Student candidates are new to the job market and these are their first forays into the job market. What you take for granted as common knowledge may not be apparent or been told to them. You will be able to find fault with many of their actions during the application and interview process, but being able to find positives will encourage them to continue to search for a job while knowing they are on the right track.

Another helpful tactic may be to point out the positive aspects of their application and interview process before the negative as well.

Judith Martin said, “When virtues are pointed out first, flaws seem less insurmountable.”

Encourage student candidates to keep trying and that they have potential even if they do not get the job.

Deliver with compassion.

As a recruiter, you can understand why criticism and feedback can be helpful. But to truly make feedback constructive, you need to deliver your notes with compassion.

As Frank A. Clark said, “Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.”

As mentioned previously, these can be the first attempts of the college student job candidates to try not only to get a job but to experience the application and interview process. Do not discourage them or tear them down. That will not help them to improve their process.

Instead, it will make them less confident in themselves and less likely to try again when they fail. When you deliver your notes on their process with compassion, because after all you yourself have gone through the application and interview process and understand its nuances and difficulties, your words are more likely to be taken as genuine and then be taken to heart.

Remain impartial.

Even though the above listed tip tells you to be compassionate, it is important to be impartial as well. And it is possible to find the right blend of compassion and impartiality. You cannot be so compassionate that you are uncomfortable or unable to tell the college student job candidate what they have done incorrectly.

It is up to you give them constructive feedback that actually helps them to improve. Do not allow them to float on in blissful unawareness of the fatal flaws and faux pas they are committing in interviews.

Norman Vincent Peale said it best when he said, “The trouble with most of us is that we’d rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.”

College student job candidates would much rather hear the truth so that they can grow from it rather than continually trying and failing in the application and interview process because they were never told what they were doing wrong, only what they were doing right.

You need to be detached enough from the situation that you can still be able to tell them the tough news about not being hired and why.

By Danielle Wirsansky

Uloop Writer
Florida State University
Danielle Wirsansky graduated from FSU with a BA in Theatre, a BA in Creative Writing with a minor in History, and an MA in Modern European History with a minor in Public History. While a graduate student, she served as the Communications Officer for the History Graduate Student Association and President/Artistic Director of White Mouse Theatre Productions. She studied abroad in London, England for the Spring 2015 semester at FSU's study center for the Playwriting Program and interned for the English National Theatre of Israel in Summer of 2015. Her first musical, City of Light, opened as part of FSU's New Horizons Festival in Spring of 2016. She has also won the MRCE and URCAA Research grants from FSU. In the past, she served as the Marketing Director for the FSU Student Theatre Association, the intern for the Holocaust Education Resource Council, and the research assistant of Prof. Nathan Stoltzfus. She has previously written for Context Florida (Contributing Writer), USA Today College (Contributing Writer), Sheroes of History (Contributing Blogger), No(le)Reservations (Contributing Blogger), Female, Reloaded (Arts/Entertainment Editor) , I Want a Buzz Magazine (intern), Mandarin Newsline (youth arts update columnist), Distink Designs (Guest blogger), (associate editor), (associate editor), Spark TLH (Contributor), the Tallahassee Democrat (contributor), Elan Literary Magazine (Head of Marketing), and the Improviser Newspaper (Opinions Editor). Danielle has been lucky to be writing for Uloop since 2015 and to have served as the FSU Campus Editor since 2015.

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