Candidate feedback can offer insights far beyond ‘room for improvement’.

If you look a little deeper, you can uncover a wealth of information about your recruitment function and the wider organisation…

Changing perceptions of candidate demographics

Candidate feedback can help to challenge our assumptions of what certain candidates expect or want from their application process.

Let’s say, for example, that you recently centred a graduate recruitment campaign on a social platform. Your expectation was that the majority of applicants would be comfortable using this channel and would find the process enjoyable. The resulting candidate feedback, however, demonstrated that this was not the case..

Whether it’s a focus on social media because you’re recruiting Millennials, or a change in tone and language because you’re looking for candidates within a certain sector, we’re all guilty of making assumptions.*

Candidate feedback can help you shape future campaigns more effectively, based on your deeper insights of certain demographics’ wants or needs.

*But of course, always be mindful not to alienate certain demographics.


Patterns within your candidates’ journey

With significant volumes of candidate feedback, you can start to identify patterns in candidate behaviour and journey experiences.

Perhaps a lot of your candidate feedback focuses on one specific part of the application process, such as a particular form. If you couple this with an ATS report like ‘Section Statistics’, you should be able to see data around who started a form but didn’t complete it. You should also have the ability to drill down into at which specific points of the form candidates dropped off.

Together, this can offer real insight into stages of the application process that may need further refinement. You can then put forward a compelling action plan for bigger issues, backed up by a good volume of feedback, statistics and comments from your candidates.


Gives you a steer into your culture

Collecting constructive feedback from candidates can go deeper than helping you identify areas for improvement in your recruitment process.

It can also offer a fresh perspective on your company culture.

Consider asking questions regarding your organisation’s culture and values if you send out a survey to candidates. Did they feel your organisation communicated its values throughout the application process and on your careers site? If they attended an interview, what vibe did they get from your offices, your team and your interview style?

Sometimes, insights will crop up even if you don’t directly ask for them in a survey. Perhaps there’s a comment about an interview being too bureaucratic or, on the flipside, too laidback. Does this accurately reflect your working culture?


We all know we should be collecting candidate feedback.

But the breadth of insights you can gain from candidate responses can go far beyond the expected ‘could do better’ at this stage or that.

Valuing your candidates and asking them for honest feedback can help you identify and analyse patterns. It can illuminate preconceptions, and help you understand certain audiences or demographics at a deeper level. And a candidate’s perspective on your company culture can offer great insights into how your organisation really appears to an ‘outsider’.

Candidate feedback. It’s essential.

Find out more

The secret to great candidate communication

Clever ways to collect candidate feedback

Achieve simpler, better recruitment processes

About the author

Tristan Potter

Tristan has a decade's worth of experience writing content and copy for organisations across Bristol and the Southwest of England. He has written on a diverse range of topics, including technology, philosophy, politics, and recruitment. His writing has appeared in The Drum, HR Grapevine, and The Guardian, among other publications. He joined Hireserve in March 2022.