Should we #fightforfeedback?

15 May 2017

Should we #fightforfeedback?

Over the past week, Debut, a company that provide a new platform for job seekers, have started the quiet rumblings of their new campaign, ‘Fight for feedback’. The concept behind the alliteration being that employers should be legally required to provide feedback to every ‘face-to-face’ interview they conduct. Officially launched today, with appearances on BBC Breakfast and Sky News, the signatures on their petition have been quietly rising all morning.

We’ve covered ghosting in the past and the damage it can do to a business’s reputation, however Debut’s campaign raises some new and interesting points, not least the harm being caused by particularly quiet businesses to the corporate world, as a whole. Suggesting that ignoring a candidate can cause both parties to go silent, the argument behind Debut’s drive is that in forcing a potential employee to hold out hope for a role that has already been filled, those that are using ghosting as a technique, are actually slowing the job market down.

With the potential to bring the movement to its knees, there is the question of whether the campaign could be infringing upon people’s freedom of speech, or more reasonably their freedom to a lack of speech… after all, even those accused of a crime have the right to remain silent. Although being ignored by someone of any form of potential relationship can be both insulting and confusing, there are occasions where feedback may actually do more harm than good. Whilst the majority of us are able, upon rejection to maintain a professional relationship, there are occasions where like with an ex, they are overtly pushy and persistent, meaning there is occasionally potential risk from specific negative feedback, leading to harassment or even slander on online forums such as Glassdoor and LinkedIn.

Debut founder, Charlie Taylor, however believes the good outweighs the bad and believes that those attending an interview are ‘entitled to feedback’. A prospect difficult to argue with when you consider the personal cost to the interviewee. The campaign tells us that the average cost of an interview, from travel to new clothing or dry cleaning, is £41, meaning that a short email or phone call should really be the least we can do in repayment.

The movement is backed by multinationals, such as O2, Fujitsu and Network Rail, companies who already strive to provide feedback at the penultimate stage.

Those leading the petition have also been able to bat away negative questioning about how smaller businesses will cope with the demand, by not pushing for feedback for all but rather just for those in the final stages of the hiring process.
With Debut’s app audience centring on students, it’s no surprise that the campaigns main focus is on students, with the numbers backing this up. A survey taken by the start-up found 77% of 18-23 year olds agree that giving feedback should be a legal requirement and with recent graduates, when attempting to get on the first steps of the ladder, being the most likely to fall into the seemingly never-ending silence of the job hunt, this number actually appears startlingly low.

“Feedback is powerful and anyone who takes the time to attend an interview is entitled to it”- Charlie Taylor, CEO and Founder of Debut

Debut’s hopes are unusual in that they’ve taken a much-disliked but relatively accepted negative of the interview process and forced it into the public eye, we hope that with this recent publicity the petition (click here) will at least, if not passed, force businesses to re-evaluate the way they treat candidates.




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