SOAS University of London

Human Resources


Purpose and nature of feedback

Feedback is frequently requested from external candidates who wish to find out the reasons for their non-appointment and ways in which they could improve any future applications.

Feedback is also very helpful to internal candidates in assisting them to understand why they may have been unsuccessful for a promotion opportunity, focusing them on how to improve any future applications and identifying any training needs to support their future development.

If a candidate is concerned that they have been unfairly treated or discriminated against in the selection process, they may also seek feedback.

Any candidate (whether successful or unsuccessful) who asks for feedback on their application, should be asked to put this request in writing.

All feedback must be given in writing to prevent candidate’s misunderstanding the feedback. Oral feedback may also be given to internal candidates.

The feedback should normally be written by the Recruiting Manager and/or Chair of Interview Panel, in consultation with their designated HR Officer.

The feedback must:

  • directly relate to the selection criteria
  • be based on evidence gathered during the selection process (i.e. derived from the candidate’s application form, interview, presentation or test)
  • be as objective and factual as possible
  • accurate
  • agreed with the appropriate members of staff involved in the selection process and the HR Directorate
  •  any selection test results or interview notes)
  • backed up by the selection records (the Capability Matrix shortlisting form on the Web Recruitment System,  R10 Presentation Record form, R11 Interview Record form, any selection test results or interview notes)

Feedback must not:

  • imply unfair discrimination
  • cover information which did not emerge from the selection process
  • have no relation to the selection criteria.

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Tips on composing feedback
  • Relate the feedback directly to the selection criteria focusing on areas where the candidate did not meet the criteria:
    “We felt that your application form did not provide sufficient evidence to show how you meet criteria 7, which asked for experience of creating and maintaining databases”
  • Give sensitive and constructive advice on how the candidate could improve their application, for instance, by highlighting areas they may wish to gain more experience in to meet the selection criteria. With internal candidates, you may want to identify any staff development activities that could help improve the employee’s skills.
  • If a candidate has provided statements without any supporting evidence to verify these, you may want to highlight this to the candidate:
    “On your application form, you stated that you were an excellent team player but could not provide any evidence or examples to verify this and demonstrate that you meet criteria four (experience of working in a team)”.
  • If possible, give positive feedback on areas where the candidate’s application meet the criteria or where candidate’s performed well at interview or in a test.
  • If a large number of candidates applied and many candidates meet the essential criteria at shortlisting stage, you may want to highlight the level of competition to the candidate.
  • Try to end the feedback on a positive note. Thank the candidate for their application and all the interest they have shown in working for SOAS. You may also want to wish them success in their future job search.

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Data Protection

Under data protection legislation, candidates have the right to access any data the School holds on their application, including interview notes, shortlisting records, and references.

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