Interviewers: GDPR has taken away the “liability” excuse for not providing feedback

I find it puzzling that companies are not open to sharing what went into the “no hire” decision. The usual excuse is “liability”:

Since many companies don’t share any kind of detailed post-interview feedback (beyond a yes/no) with candidates for liability reasons, many folks never get any sense of how they did, what they did well, or what could have been better).

Companies should be more willing to share what went into a “no-hire” decision.

As of May 25, 2018 the “should” moved to the “why not”. GDPR is now in full effect in the EU. GDPR requires companies to share interview notes with a candidate when asked.

Many organisations however, fail to recognise that when a candidate requests a copy of their personal data, this also includes information such as interview notes.

It doesn’t matter whether the interviewer has handwritten their comments or submitted them directly onto your recruitment software, this is information that the candidate has a right to see and is aware that you hold.

Handwritten notes therefore present a number of potential issue for example:

  • Where are these handwritten notes stored?
  • Are they uploaded to the candidates account?
  • Would an interviewer be able to easily access any notes they made about a candidate they interviewed 3 months ago?
  • What happens if the information was lost?
  • Equally with handwritten notes, the candidate is also aware of how much was written about them
  • What if only some of the information was uploaded?
  • Can you confirm that the information uploaded is the same as the information written during the event?

Since international companies are now forced to share interview notes with EU candidates, they should put away the “liability” excuse worldwide.

Lets look at the benefits of honest sharing.

When I interview candidates, I always keep full notes about everything that I noticed in the interview. The notes help me control the very human unconscious bias tendencies. The notes also ensure that I can render a consistent judgment days, weeks, months later. This is important when deciding amongst several candidates or if asked in a court of law.

Those notes also help during the interview because I notice my opinions developing. I can then ask direct questions of the candidate to affirm or contradict veracity of the opinion.

Be honest with candidates, help them pass the next interview. Be honest with yourself and recognize that you are human and being human means unconscious biases are part of your nature.

A company that has a problem sharing interview notes with a candidate, has hidden problem with bias.

BTW – I am job hunting for a software engineering management position. I know how to build a team with an honest open interview process.

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