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Is it acceptable/professional to ask the newly hired person, which I interviewed, for feedback about the interview process?

I'm not very experienced in interviewing (the second hire ever made) and I have interviewed around 10 candidates before offering the position to this particular individual. Feedback is great at improving but I'm not sure if this is the right approach.

UPDATE: The early stages of the interview process are dictated by the HR team. The technical assessment part of the interview is not working (in my opinion) in the company favour as it's potentially rejecting perfect fits for the job. The test is focused on web development, where the candidate has to write executable code. If the code is not executing as expected, they would get no points for the question. In my opinion, even if someone didn't fully complete a complex question, however, has shown a methodological approach with quality logic then they shouldn't be marked the same as the candidate that didn't even attempt the question.

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3 Answers 3

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Don't expect an honest answer.

  1. If I criticize you, I undermine confidence in me. Say that you did an interview for a software engineering role where you didn't have me write any code. If I criticized that, I might be planting in your head a fear that I am an incompetent coder. I want you to think that your interview is rigorous and thorough, even if it is not.

  2. I am trying to get things started on the right foot. Say that I found you gruff and relatively unresponsive in the interview. That is unlikely to be an interview persona, but something that extends to the rest of your personality. That does not set relationships off on the right foot. I had an interviewer who talked throughout the interview that I had with him. I still got hired, but telling that person that he talked too much would probably be unwise. Most people do not genuinely want honest feedback when they ask a question like this (myself included at times, depending on my motives for asking).

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  • Thanks for the answer. I am generally ok with constructive feedback and my intention was to get better at it. I manage a team of developers (a small team of 4, well now 5 people). What is your opinion of what Stephan Branczyk said? My team is comfortable with exchanging feedback. I am just not sure how the request would be perceived by my team. Would it look like I don't know what I'm doing and I'm asking for help?
    – Greg
    Commented Sep 5, 2021 at 12:48
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    The interviewer/interviewee dynamic is a terrible context to ask for feedback. It is impossible to give honest feedback unless it is a mock interview. If you want serious feedback, interview in pairs and ask your colleagues.
    – Nelson
    Commented Sep 9, 2021 at 2:45
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Personally, I wouldn't ask unless I became friends with that person.

With that said, don't take what I say too seriously. If you want to ask, just ask. I'm just giving you my opinion of what I would do myself.

If you really want to practice doing interviews and getting feedback, you can practice doing that on http://pramp.com or on http://interviewing.io (Pramp has behavioral mock interviews, not just technical interviews).

Next time you do an interview, you can also ask to have a colleague conduct the interview with you. That colleague can give you feedback.

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  • Thanks, Stephan! Very useful resources. I manage a team of developers of 5 individuals and we all get along really well. Exchanging feedback was never a problem. Let's say the new hire settles in and becomes part of the "family", I am not sure what impression that request for feedback would leave. Does it sound like I don't know what I'm doing and asking for help or a simple feedback request to look at things from a different perspective?
    – Greg
    Commented Sep 5, 2021 at 12:52
  • @Greg, You really can't control what others think of you, and you shouldn't be afraid to ask for help or feedback once in a while, even from your underlings, but at the same time, I think Matthew Gaiser is totally correct. Any feedback you receive by the person you interviewed will be minimal at best. Also, that person you interviewed didn't attend the other interviews you had with other candidates, so he has no perspective on who you were comparing him/her to. If you're still not sure on what to do, just flip a coin. In the end, this decision really doesn't matter that much. Commented Sep 5, 2021 at 18:16
  • @Greg, Also, I would caution you to think of your team as a "family". Sometimes, some underlings/colleagues don't work out and you need to fire them. And it's difficult to do that when you've become too close to them. Commented Sep 5, 2021 at 18:21
  • Thanks, Stephan, that's insightful. I'll approach HR department and ask for advice. The reason I wanted feedback was not so much on how I performed but rather the process itself. The interview process hasn't changed for years. I had to go through the same process myself. The technical assessment of candidates and the way it is marked, in my opinion, is causing us to potentially lose great candidates (in web dev industry). The code written in the assessment has to execute, if a candidate made a small silly mistake, they would get no points.
    – Greg
    Commented Sep 5, 2021 at 21:47
  • And yes, I'm aware of the "family" issue I have. I worked with those people for years on the same level and, by nature, became friends. I was then promoted to a management position. I try to distance myself and always act professionally. But it is proving difficult sometimes due to the relationship built over the years, on the same seniority level. That's a different problem I need to address.
    – Greg
    Commented Sep 5, 2021 at 21:51
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Feedback is great at improving

Yes, it is

but I'm not sure if this is the right approach.

No it isn't.

IF you want feedback, get it from 3rd party: ask a skilled/experienced interviewer from HR or from your peer or management team to sit in.

The goal of the interview is not to make the candidate happy, but to arrive at the CORRECT decision (be it "hire" or "do not hire"). Hiring the wrong person for the job is a serious mistake and everyone will be miserable (including the candidate).

There are some simple check list for "efficient" interviewing.

  1. Align the interview team up front. Everyone needs to have a clear assignment (technical A, technical B, personality, behavior) so you can get full coverage (and little duplication).
  2. Prep your interview questions based on your assignment.
  3. Make sure you ask for specific examples and NOT abstract questions. Bad: "how do you handle conflict?", Good: "Tell me about time where you had to handle conflict". Make sure you reel the candidate back to specifics if they drift off into abstraction.
  4. Do an "appropriate" amount of selling. Make sure the candidate has a positive impression of your workplace and culture. The amount of selling depends on the specific situation.
  5. Give the candidate enough time for questions, answer them honestly but also rate how "good, relevant and well researched" the questions are. Are they cookie cutter or do they show serious interested and homework?
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  • Thanks for the answer Hilmar. Just to give you a bit of background info. I manage a team of developers (5 individuals) and we all get along really well. Exchanging feedback was never a problem. The reason why I would like some feedback is simply because of the industry. I don't think I'm bad at it, I just wanted so see what people think of the technical test or whether a take home assignment would be better, or perhaps none? I was looking at this kind of feedback.
    – Greg
    Commented Sep 5, 2021 at 12:56

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