Tips for Giving Feedback after Assessments
Feedback after any form of assessment or evaluation helps in mirroring the information regarding their performance to the candidate and also initiates the learning process in them.
An objective, transparent and respectful conversation needs to be conducted during feedback to drive home the points which the participant needs to work upon.
Giving feedback is never easy not even for an external consultant conducting an assessment in the organization and when assessments are done internally it becomes all the more important that the feedback process is handled delicately. It sure does not mean that the points which address the negative aspects of a candidate’s personality are left un-discussed; neither has it to be sweet talked or disguised.
There are certain considerations which can guide an assessor during feedback:
- A cliche which works effectively, is to open the session with a positive feedback
It also helps in knowing the expectation of the participant from the feedback session, it acts as a compass for the assessor
The assessor needs to be very specific and stick to the pre-defined parameters or competencies to make reference
Whenever possible examples should be cited to help the participant understand better
Involving the participant is important, feedback has to be a dialogue and not a monologue which means that the participant should be given an opportunity to discuss their career aspirations, motivations, experience of the assessments etc
Assessors need to be patient and display great listening skills to create the required trust and rapport with the participant
The participant should be allowed to explain the intent behind their actions and differing opinions whenever appropriate
The assessors should refrain from passing a judgmental statement, their statements have to be suggestive rather than stated as absolute truths
The feedback provider has to remember that feedback is also a mechanism to learn for people. We might as well make a reference to the Johari Window, here:
The feedback should aim that the participant gets aware of both the areas of strength and areas of development. It should encourage introspection, help participants draw inference and reach conclusions.
People are very good at hiding any feeling of hurt and upset. However, beneath the façade lies a demoralized and de-motivated individual. For example, some participants might start thinking “if that is what I am like, am I really going to get where I want” or “Is this they think of me” such situation require very careful handling of feedback else it can become the road to frustration.
If the desired level of trust does not exist between the assessor and the participant, the facilitation of the feedback discussion becomes very difficult and the purpose is defeated. If assessors share the outcomes and feedback with the participant without allowing discussion or comment, the feedback session becomes a fiasco. Where participants do not share hopes, aspirations or intrinsically commit to their development actions no further progress can take place.
Some participants may also blatantly refuse to accept the observation and information provided by assessors and could externalize reasons to validate their behaviors, even questioning the entire assessment process. For example, “these exercises are not relevant to my work situation” or “I work in the XYZ industry and this is not the case there” or “this is just an exercise we did, actual work is very different”. This is an attempt at blocking discussion around their performance being examined.
Participant age and demographic profile also strongly impact their perception and expectations from assessors. Older, more experienced and senior participants feel vulnerable being observed by juniors or internal colleagues.
Hence, a lot of planning is required before the feedback session. It helps if the assessor can know the profile of the participant before-hand as it later helps in navigating the feedback discussion appropriately. And in the end it is important to remember the very basic principle of androgogy that adults learn if they find the learning relevant to what they do. It is important to link feedback to the everyday work of the participant and how improving can have positive effects on their work also can be outlined. This helps in greater acceptability of feedback.