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Candidate experience survey questions that are worth asking

Last updated

8 December 2023

Author

Claire Bonneau

Reviewed by

Shawnna Johnson

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Candidate experience is essential to a smooth and effective hiring process. But is your hiring process optimized for success using feedback from the real people you interview and consider?

It’s best to go directly to the source if you want to learn more about your candidate’s experience. Use a well-crafted candidate experience survey to collect valuable information about your existing hiring protocol and learn more about areas you can improve to make the entire process more successful.

Use this easy-to-follow guide to create and implement effective candidate experience surveys. The results will be worth the effort!

What is a candidate experience survey?

A candidate experience survey is a set of questions you ask potential hires to learn more about their thoughts on your existing hiring process. Send the survey to the candidates you chose to hire and those you did not.

A well-designed candidate experience survey should collect both quantitative and qualitative data about the person’s experience throughout the entire hiring process.

The goal of this type of survey is to collect information about how your team can improve the interview and hiring process to create a more positive overall experience.

Why is it important to conduct candidate experience surveys?

A candidate experience survey is an incredibly valuable tool for making a positive impression on candidates looking to work for your brand. When implemented into your hiring practices, this type of survey can provide several benefits.

Improving your overall processes

Candidate feedback can provide data-driven analysis to help your team zero in on weaknesses in your overall recruitment process. It enables your team to focus time and resources on improving the experiences that will result in better candidate flow, candidate satisfaction, and top talent hires.

Areas of focus could be communications, transparency, and overall process efficiency.

Enhancing your employer brand

Companies that actively seek candidate feedback and value this information demonstrate their commitment to open communication, transparency, and improvements. Companies that act on the feedback and make changes set themselves apart from the competition.

Candidates who have a positive experience and/or receive the opportunity to provide feedback may go on to share their experiences with others. This could lead to referrals down the road.

Attracting and retaining top talent

Candidates who have a smooth and positive experience with your recruitment process are more likely to accept an offer from your organization.

Seeking feedback throughout the process enables you to make adjustments that will yield more satisfied candidates and set up your organization to hire top talent.

By keeping those lines of communication open beyond the recruiting process, you greatly improve the retention rate for the top talent you hire.

7 candidate experience survey questions worth asking

Are you looking for inspiration for questions to add to your candidate experience survey? Here are a few suggestions:

Did our job description accurately prepare you for your interview?

The job description is many candidates’ first point of contact with your company. Therefore, your job description must accurately describe the role you are hiring for and showcase the benefits of working for your company.

By asking this question (and allowing candidates to add their own written feedback), you can identify potential areas of weakness or inaccuracy within your job description and improve it.

Here are some follow-up questions you can add to this section of the survey:

  • Did the description of the role’s responsibilities match what you learned during the interview?

  • Was the company description consistent with what you learned about the brand during your interview?

  • Did the salary range shared in the job description match what you discussed with the hiring team?

How would you rate your understanding of the role after speaking to our hiring team?

After the initial interview, it’s helpful to assess how accurately your team described the role and its expected tasks and responsibilities.

Add this question to your survey with multiple choice-style answers to collect this vital data. Here are some examples of possible answers:

  • I have a very strong understanding of the role and its responsibilities

  • I have a good understanding of the role and its responsibilities

  • I have some confusion about the role and its responsibilities

  • I do not understand the job or any of its responsibilities

Which of the following descriptions best describes your interview experience?

While most interviews include some nerves and stress, taking the time to create an engaging and inviting hiring process significantly helps improve your candidate’s experience.

To learn more about how your candidates actually feel about their recent interview, ask this question with a selection of options for them to choose from (or a place to write their own answer if they prefer).

Examples of possible multiple-choice answers for this style of candidate experience survey question include the following:

  • Easiest interview ever

  • Challenging but engaging

  • Fast, rushed, and stressful

  • Drawn out and too long (boring)

  • Other (please share)

Please rate the following statement: “My interviewers were prepared and respectful during our meeting.”

Interviewer preparation goes a long way in offering a positive candidate experience. In most cases, the potential hire does their own research to prepare for the interview, so it can come across as rude or disrespectful when the interviewer is unprepared or seems distracted during the meeting.

Learn more about your candidate’s perception of your team during interviews by asking them to rate the level of preparation on a simple five-point scale:

  • Strongly agree

  • Agree

  • Neutral

  • Disagree

  • Strongly disagree

Rate the following statement: “The hiring team was communicative at every step of the hiring process.”

This is another rating-style question worth adding to your survey that measures a valuable metric. It enables you to learn more about the level of communication your candidates experienced before, during, and after the hiring process.

Poor communication is one of the most common pain points that can lead to a negative candidate experience, so collecting data and identifying trends about your team’s level of communication is essential.

Using a simple five-point scale (strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, strongly disagree), you can identify trends in how candidates feel about your brand’s level of communication.

How likely are you to recommend a job opportunity with our company to a friend or colleague?

Your hiring process, when carried out correctly and efficiently, may land you an awesome employee. It can also boost your company’s reputation.

Word travels fast among top performers about quality companies that are hiring, so asking your candidates this question is a great way to ensure that you are on the right track.

Additionally, as a bonus referral option for candidates you have recently hired, you can include a section for them to refer friends or colleagues who would be a good fit for the company. This is a powerful incentive that boosts employee engagement and enhances company culture. It’s also a great way to improve the quality of your company’s candidate pool and reward your newly hired talent for joining the team.

Is there anything you think would help improve our overall hiring process?

As a great way to wrap up your survey, this open-ended question allows the candidate to share any other important information you haven’t already asked them about. 

To amplify the data you collect and get more nuanced answers, always ask your candidates if they are happy for you to follow up post-survey to learn more about their answers. This way, if you receive particular positive or negative feedback, you can learn more about this specific experience and further improve your process.

Candidate experience survey best practices

To get the most out of your survey, be sure to integrate the following best practices:

  • Send the survey quickly after the initial interview: to get the most accurate responses (and to increase the number of responses you receive), send your candidate experience survey within 24 hours after the hiring process concludes.

  • Use open-ended questions: add at least a few open-ended questions to your survey to collect personal anecdotes and opinions about the interview and hiring experience. Ask candidates to be as detailed as possible so you gather enough information to make improvements.

  • Follow up on negative feedback to learn more: whenever possible, reach out to candidates who indicated they had a negative experience during the hiring process. This enables you to gain more specific information about where you could improve.

  • Analyze your data to make improvements: be sure to use the data you collect to identify trends and areas for improvement. Insight software like Dovetail can be used to make the process of identifying data trends easier and more efficient.

Improve your hiring process with candidate experience surveys

Is your company offering its potential new hires the best possible candidate experience? Asking is the only way to find out, and for this, you’ll need a well-designed candidate experience survey to get the information you need.

We hope this helpful guide has given you the information and direction you need to create an impactful candidate survey and gain an understanding of how to properly use the data to improve your existing hiring practices.

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