Points to consider when giving feedback
Let the candidate have the first say:
Give them the chance to say how they think they have done. If they haven't achieved competence it is possible they will be able to identify why and this will help them to 'own' the feedback they receive.
Give praise before criticism:
Most people will find it difficult to try to improve if they feel they are a failure. By focusing first on their strengths and then helping them to recognise their weaker areas, you can give the candidate enough confidence to deal with what went wrong.
Limit what you cover:
Don't try to cover everything. Focus on 2 or 3 key areas for development.
Be specific, not vague:
Try to avoid general comments which don't help the candidate to identify the problem. It's not very useful to say to someone 'your writing isn't very good.' It's much more useful to say, 'it was difficult to read what you had written, because your writing is rather small and you crowded your information together without leaving any spaces in between the different sections'.
Concentrate on things that can be changed:
For feedback to be useful it must allow for the possibility of improvement. If there are intrinsic or extrinsic factors which you know cannot be changed, the feedback relating to this is a waste of time. It is far more useful to concentrate on what can be changed.
Give the candidate time to think and respond:
Successful feedback involves a dialogue between two individuals committed to improvement. If you've given the candidate a new perspective on some aspect of competence it could take some time for them to absorb. Only when they have absorbed it and then responded can the planning for improvement take place.
Keep to the standards:
An assessor/advisor must distinguish between when the candidate has done something different from how you would do it but has still met the standards and when they have not performed to the required level of competence. You might draw their attention to this difference but be clear as to whether it is acceptable in relation to the standards or not.
Make sure they understand:
Think of the language you are using and ensure it is the right level and tone.
Listen to how the feedback is received:
Be aware of how the candidate is reacting to your feedback. Look for non-verbal clues that they are confused or that they don't agree.
End on a positive note:
End the feedback session agreeing some positive action that can be taken to
address any areas for development that have been identified. End with some encouragement
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