I have done my fair share of interviewing candidates. Some of the candidates are interested to hear immediate feedback right after the interview. Most of the time, I am able to provide a summary on the spot. But since I am not the one making the hiring decision, I wonder if this is ethically or professionally correct.
I would err on the side of caution, internal processes or HR practices/Standard Operation Procedures may be in place that advocate AGAINST this type of behavior.
While I understand the human side of wanting to offer critiques and advice to some interviewees there can be some unintended side-effects/consequences to doing so, such as you getting name dropped to whoever the 2nd/3rd round interviewer is, which would be my Director - and they would be displeased if I did that. It puts your superiors/peers in a tough spot especially if they end up NOT hiring the person.
On the converse, you can give a negative critique or maybe tell them you did not think they are a fit, and they get hired anyway, same thing - you piss off your manager/supervisor, as well as that interviewee. I cannot speak to legal implications, but if there is a process/SOP against it then you can be laid off, or other internal adverse actions.
To reiterate some points of others, I would decline to give feedback and give them a vague/indirect reason such as evaluation, or having to get feedback from a manager/director. You should be as objective as possible, even in closing, and a critique is leaning towards the subjective side.
I'd recommend against it.
Consider - since you're not making the hire decision, what if you're in the minority and this person is hired anyway? You've just burned a bridge with a new employee even before they were hired.
If you do want to give feedback, check with your management and/or Legal department first. They may have something to say on the matter.
seeing I am not the one making the hiring decision, I wonder if this is ethically/professionally correct.
It's fine ethically to provide interview feedback, but first you have to get permission from at least two people and probably three - the one making the hiring decision, and the candidate. You may also need HR's permission, depending on company policies.
The hiring manager might not want you to provide feedback to the candidate. Your opinions might not coincide with opinions of others in the interview schedule, and could scare a candidate away, or conversely give a candidate inappropriate hope for being hired.
HR might not want you to provide feedback for fear that you would say the wrong thing and open the company up to a discrimination lawsuit. (They are often very protective/conservative that way).
And the candidate might not want your feedback for any number of personal reasons.
Without permission, you shouldn't provide this feedback.
You could ask the hiring manager and HR before the interviews start if it would be okay to provide such feedback. And you could ask the candidate after the interview if they would like feedback. If they both agree, then your feedback might be very useful.
(As a hiring manager, I would never agree. I want to be in control of the entire interviewing/hiring process as much as possible. While I understand your well-considered motives, there are too many things that could complicate negotiations.)
I would actually disagree with the prevailing advice here, but with some strong caveats.
First, let me provide the context that I am a hiring manager currently, and I have served as an interviewer in a number of different capacities (both as hiring manager and as a tech screener, etc).
I generally agree that you can't give the feedback that "you're great! We will hire you!" or anything that would lead the person to the conclusion that you will give them an offer unless you actually have the power to make that decision and plan to do so. You can/will get into trouble for doing that.
However, what I have done before and it was appreciated, was to give feedback on interview technique. So, things like, "Well, we will decide if you get the job or not tomorrow during our review meeting, so I can't tell you now either way. In terms of interviewing skills, though, you seemed very confident on x,y, and z, but I'd encourage you in the future to perhaps provide more background on W". That kind of thing.
Do what you just told us. Give them feedback but then make sure you clarify that you're not the one making the hiring decision so that it's not up to you.
The key though is if you're able. If you aren't because you need to look into some things, say you can't do it right then. If you are, do so. But as I said, make sure you let them know that you're not the one making the decision and your feedback can't indicate whether an offer will be made.
At the moment, your title asks "Is it ethical/professional to give feedback to an interviewee during an interview?", while the body of the question mentions your interviewees are interested to hear immediate feedback right after the interview.
This may actually be an important distinction. If you are asking questions and perhaps doing tasks during an interview, discussion of what might be a good (or better) answer/approach is often a natural part of the interview process, and will tend to be quite matter-of-fact in nature, as well as giving the candidate a second chance to challenge your impression (which may itself be illuminating). The candidate will probably get some idea of how they are doing as the interview progresses.
Feedback after an interview is more likely to be seen as an indication of how likely the candidate is to progress to the next stage, which may be unfair to everyone if that's not your decision, and perhaps runs more risk of seeming subjective or unfair, especially if the feedback is negative. Also, you are usually going to be in the position of weighing the candidate against others you have seen - which may be better done in a situation where you haven't just spent a couple of hours with the candidate.
On a related point, you should probably leave most candidates feeling you've touched on areas where they still have some learning to do - if not, you probably won't have challenged them enough to give them the chance to show what they are capable of.
It's all right as long as you don't sound like you're making any promises. Don't tell them whether they did good or bad, but feel free to provide feedback on their strong/weak sides. Several times in my interviews I was told something like that:
You sound really convincing when you talk about your previous projects. Focus on that in your future interviews and you'll be fine.
You don't sound very impressive when speaking French. Maybe you should rehearse a small intro so you don't sound unconfident when you start.
Those remarks were really valuable at the time, without giving me any false expectations about the outcome.
Most of the other answers provide good explanations why a direct verbal feedback at the end in the style of "you did good" / "you did bad" is not a good idea.
However, there are several levels of feedback. There is also tone and body language, a large part of it uncontrolled, which indicates how well you like how the candidate performs. In what tone you correct his wrong answers, how approvingly you look at them when they answer correctly. For example, on a wrong answer, hinting that it was such a basic question and that mastering this topic would be very important for this specific job, is quite a giveaway.
I did interview candidates for engineering jobs (strictly technical interviews, nothing about salary and such), and with the best one an interview quickly turns into a general discussion about our technical field, both of us telling stories about the strangest, funniest or most interesting problems we faced and solved. With very poor performing candidates the interview usually stays at the examination level, as I have to find out question after question that this is yet another topic they have no idea about.
Nothing ethically wrong with it that I can think of. But it's not very professional, this isn't your friend and it's a negotiation. You don't give information away, you have a task to do, you should focus on that.
I have been asked for feedback more than once. I just give them a vague "I can't really do that at this time, we need to evaluate etc,."
not making the hiring decision
? I find this a bit strange - either you are able to evaluate the candidate's capabilities, or you should be being trained to do so. It's disrespectful to the interviewee's time if you don't have the ability to say no when appropriate - let alone continuing to waste your company's time. Being able to say no is important, otherwise it means you don't know what you're doing, or you're not interviewing on value to the company.
I interview for peer positions, and if I say no, it's no. The only reason not to give feedback in this situation is that you don't know how to deliver it; the main problem is creating an argument - and that's irrelevant after a decision.
If you can do this (and terminate an interview early), you can tell continuing candidates that you would have said stopped the interview if it was a no.
Listen to Ending a bad interview podcast.
As for positive feedback, I do that in-interview if appropriate - phrases like "Good", and (sometimes unfortunately) "most people don't answer that one well".