Shirking responsibility in the name of radical candor

There's this disturbing behaviour that's been evolving with the new wave of hiring managers and founders. In the name of being brutally honest, many hiring managers are giving scathing reviews of the individual at the end of the interview, breaking their confidence and causing an emotional breakdown in some cases.


In a recent example I am privy to, the hiring manager told the interviewee at the end of 3 hour case study challenge and one hour interview that it's a no from their side because "your communication is not good enough". The interviewee ended up completely breaking down immediately after.


Why interviews are not the right places to start practicing your radical candor?


1. In the name of interviewing, you have multiple people from a formal organisation who know and work with each other grilling an individual for 1 hour. You don't know what the person is going through or the pressures she's in or the emotional state she's in at the end of the interview. And no matter how confident you are in your own skills in assessing others, you are not infallible, your process is not perfect. You might not have been able to bring the best in the individual, your interview process might not be enabling, your case study might be blah. Or the interviewee might be having an off day.


2. Most of the times people know when they screwed up an interview. Most likely they are beating themselves already for the missed opportunity and are disappointed with themselves. Giving them the feedback even a few hours later, gives them the space to make peace with the situation. There's a reason why there's a long-standing process of sending rejection emails a few days later after an interview. It might feel very bureaucratic and inefficient, it is also humane. [I know that there is an other side to this where big companies send a generic rejection email without any reasons, which is as irresponsible as the one we are talking about here]


3. 9 out of 10 people are rejected for a role. Most of the times they might not be the right fit for your organisation. Do you want 90% of all your interviewees feel defeated and exhausted at the end of the process?


As an interviewer you cannot take responsibility of the individual's mental health. That's exactly the point. You don't have a working relationship with the interviewee - where you can connect later and see how she is taking your feedback. Radical candor works at best when you know or have a relationship with the person. Giving it to people immediately at the end of the interview in the name of being brutally honest is irresponsible and in worst cases - psychologically harmful.



Image source: The WallStreet Journal