Tips for recruiters: how to debrief with your candidates

Tips for recruiters: how to debrief with your candidates

Are you having issues closing the candidates you offer? It’s all about following a process!

You should not underestimate the power of debriefing candidates! After years of working with talent at all levels, it is clear there is great value and benefits in debriefing with your candidate. Let me tell you more.

But first, what is candidate debriefing?

Candidate debriefing is about obtaining a candidate’s initial feedback and sentiment of the interview, the interviewers and the company. This enables you to quickly see if you have a chance to get them through the process successfully and also potentially see if they match the values and culture fit you are seeking.


Debriefing has so many values as part of the recruitment process, from keeping your candidate engaged to ensuring they have a great experience, to finding out why they may reject your offer.


First, debriefing your candidate helps you ensure you understand what they want better and how they felt about their interview and the company. You can use that info to prepare the next candidates you invite for an interview as you will know some of the objections or perceptions that may cause issues to the success of your process.

Second, by understanding how they felt, you can be sure that you discover their potential objections to any part of the process they are in. This will give you insight on your pipeline.

Third, from the interview, you want to understand more your Hiring Manager and what they ask in an interview as it will reveal what’s most important to them. Recruiters who debrief with candidates after interviews can learn what kind of questions the hiring manager asked, gain additional information on their approach to interviewing and what will help you match better candidates to the role, so that will give recruiters guidance in terms of the kind of candidates they should be looking for.


During debriefing sessions, candidates will usually share their thoughts on how the interview went (gut feeling). This can give recruiters some indication of how the search is going and how they really feel about your company. But they will also often share more detailed feedback on the job, the company itself and the people they might work with. This information can give recruiters a sense of the candidate’s passion — or lack thereof — for the role.

If you uncover information that might become an issue during the process, you can ensure you get the next interviewer to cover them or even use this information to talk with the candidate through the process and iron out some of the issues they may have raised. Remember, the more you connect with the candidates, the better the chance you will help this become a successful process, so don’t understand estimate the impact you may have.


Debriefing can help recruiters to further strengthen the candidate-recruiter relationship. A great candidate-recruiter relationship can go a long way, and if the candidate doesn’t land this particular role, they may end up being perfect for another role down the road, so they will remember your contact and impact in the process. It has to be an honest conversation.


Candidate experience can be managed greatly here!

Here are some examples of good debriefing questions

  • How did you feel you got on during the interview?
  • How do you think you connected with the interviewer? Were you happy with the exchange?
  • Were you able to answer all of the interviewer’s questions well?
  • Was there any question you felt you didn’t get to address well? Can you explain what happened?
  • What are your overall feelings about how the interview went? Do you think the outcome will be positive or negative? Why?
  • How do you feel about the company and the role after this interview? Are you still feeling excited about the opportunity? Why or why not?
  • What do you think about this opportunity now? Would this be the right role for your next move?
  • Did you get a good feel for the culture we are looking for?
  • Do you have any additional questions after the interview that I could help you with?
  • How would you rank your motivation now (out of 10 – 10 being the highest)
  • How does that compare to the other companies you are interviewing with?
  • Do you think is there anything in the role or company that would prevent you from joining?
  • Would you be interested in moving forward if the feedback from the interviewer was positive? Did the hiring manager tell you what the next step was? Have you agreed to meet again or a potential follow up?

You should know that 50% of successful hires are based on the candidate experience, their culture fit, personality match with the people they meet and their feelings of the process.

This is, as recruiters, something that you can control, so if you want to increase your chances of filling your active roles with the right Talent, make sure you take the right steps!

Hope you found this useful, but any question, contact us.

Need HR advice, Search & Selection or just recruitment tips? I have been working in International Talent Acquisition for over 23 years, and have assisted a wide range of companies from exciting start-ups to some of the major players like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, LVMH, Rolex or Tesla. My team and I have helped companies set-up in a new European country or expand internationally, and hire talented people. I offer a real partnership for companies to find great Talent in most places across the World.
Need someone in Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Amsterdam, New-York, Boston, Raleigh, Miami or any other main city let’s discuss how we can support you in your expansion.

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Talented International