A candidate experience survey is the best method for your recruitment team to use to gain insight into the behaviour of every individual candidate that goes through your hiring process, as it asks them every question you have, directly. Candidate experience surveys have many benefits for your team and the growth and streamlining of your hiring strategy.

The surveys can be conducted at various points throughout the recruitment process, which will help you understand what your strongest and weakest parts of the process are. For example, a candidate might submit a glowing review of their candidate experience after an initial virtual interview with you, but if their score goes down significantly after attending an in-person interview at the office, even if they don’t say it outright you can deduce what negatively impacted their experience by looking at the difference between their first and second stage of the interview process. A different interviewer? Maybe they didn’t like the culture they felt they saw in your office? Regular surveying helps you get specific and notice any patterns to weed out your weak points.

In your candidate surveys, covering two types of questions will be the most beneficial. Likert scale questions are a great option for collecting quantitative data. At the end of each Likert scale question you could add the option for them to add a comment in case they’d like to add reasoning for the score they gave. You can also add in a few open ended questions to collect qualitative data, so you take a holistic approach to improving your candidate experience and recruitment process.

Here are a few ideas across the most important topics for you to ask an applicant:

Candidate Experience

These questions are overarching, allowing you to gage a person’s overall image of their candidate experience and time in your company’s process of hiring.

Likert Scale Questions:

  • I would apply for an opening at [company name] again in the future
  • Overall, I am satisfied with the recruiting process at [company name]
  • I would recommend [company name] to others

Open-ended Questions:

  • How could we improve our hiring process?
  • What was the best thing about our hiring process?

Feedback for interviewers and recruiters

Interviews are the key focus and stress of many who are actively job seeking, so it’s a crucial point for candidate experience.

Likert Scale Questions:

  • The recruiter very clearly described all the job requirements and details
  • The recruiter kept me well updated
  • The recruiter / interviewer took the time to listen to and answer my questions
  • The interviewer was professional
  • The interviewer was friendly
  • The interviewer was punctual

Open-ended Questions:

  • What was the my positive part of your interview process with us?
  • What would have allowed you to perform better at your presentation during your interview?

Company Culture

Culture is a key interest for not only attracting candidates but also retaining them. People Management found that once in a role, a company’s culture and values far outrank compensation and benefits when keeping employees satisfied.

Likert Scale Questions:

  • The company culture came across as [insert your desired values here e.g. friendly, welcoming, encouraging]
  • I feel I align with the company’s values
  • I feel I align with the company’s culture

Open-ended Questions:

  • What stood out to you about our company culture?
  • Was there anything you expected to see in our company culture which you didn’t?
  • How accurately does our social media and recruitment team portray our culture?

How well your ATS is performing

An ATS should streamline your processes and improve the overall candidate experience by allowing you to consistently keep in contact with them, improve the ease and flexibility around interview scheduling, and speed up the hiring process which is all too often a drag.

Likert Scale Questions:

  • The application form was easy to fill out
  • The careers site answered most of my questions
  • The careers site was easy to navigate
  • The interview(s) were easy to schedule
  • The job description matched the information I received during the hiring process

Brand Awareness

These questions will help you understand how fruitful your recruitment marketing efforts have been.

Likert Scale Questions:

  • Before applying, I was aware of [company name]
  • I have a positive impression of [company name]

Open-ended Questions:

  • How did you hear about the role?
  • What was your impression of our company before applying?
  • How did our company come across on social media?
  • Has this impression changed since going through the recruitment process?

Benefits of Candidate Experience Surveys:

One of the biggest benefits of a new hire and applicant survey is the amount of data you will have access to. You’ll get feedback about your recruitment process, but also how this may influence the opinion you candidate may have of your overall company, culture, and brand. Surveying candidates will help you make connections across the board of your company to see how all of these aspects are connected to each other and contribute to the overall candidate experience. You will gain objective, external insight into everything from how effective your employer branding strategy is to the skills of your recruitment team and hiring managers.

At the end of the survey you could invite the applicant to stay in contact, such as by subscribing to a newsletter where they’ll be the first to know about any other job openings and receive more information about you workplace culture and any milestones your company may achieve. This can increase your access to top talent who are already acquainted with you and your company next time you are looking to hires important to send out your surveys in a timely manner as well as optimising them for mobile devices to increase your response rate.

If you create your survey in a way which allows the applicant to answer the questions anonymously, then you are likely to get incredibly honest feedback which you would otherwise struggle to get. Especially if the candidate has been disqualified from the interview process, they will no longer worry so much about the impression they give to your company, and so are even more likely to provide very transparent feedback at this point.

To conclude

A candidate experience survey could be a game changer if your current recruitment strategy and hiring process isn’t bringing about the results that you would like. The feedback that you will allow yourself, your team, hiring managers and any other significant individuals access to with a survey is unlikely to be acquired with any other method. Whether it’s as simple as brushing up on your interviewing skills, or having to take a more serious look into issues with your company culture, a survey on candidate experience can be your compass.

About the author

Hannah Elliott