Candidate Experience Survey Best Practices

Today, we will be looking at the candidate experience survey best practices.

In a previous article, we talked about how to improve candidate experience in recruitment and covered the importance of candidate experience in recruitment.

In this post, we will delve into this further by looking at the importance of candidate experience surveys and how you can effectively get crucial feedback from candidates to perfect your recruitment experience.

Getting candidate feedback

Did you know that only 1 in 4 employers ask for candidate feedback after an interview? While alarmingly, a massive 72% of candidates who have bad recruitment experiences tell family, friends and their followers on social media.

The results of these negative experiences can harm you in more ways than you think. It not only harms your employer brand but also puts off many potential applicants for the future.

For a little extra step in your recruitment process, you could be potentially eliminating that 72% by learning crucial information that can save your candidate experience.

There are many ways to gather intel on your candidate experience. But one of the most successful methods of gaining candidate experience feedback is to send all candidates a feedback survey to fill at the end of the recruiting process.

What is a candidate experience survey?

A candidate experience survey is a feedback form on the recruitment process experience from the applicant's perspective. The Human Resources team conducts these to improve and optimise their recruitment process to improve candidate experience.

A candidate experience survey is the best way to get this insight, as questions are constructed to ask candidates directly. Thus, providing you with honest and accurate information to measure the experience of candidates.

What’s the importance of a candidate experience survey?

Candidate experience surveys are important for many reasons, these are:

1.   Negative experiences reaches many ears

We’ve mentioned the impact of bad word-of-mouth spreading like wildfire is harmful to both company brands and dispels any future potential candidates.

With social media platforms reaching the eyes and ears of billions of people worldwide, companies need to be more concerned with their company image than ever before.

We’ve all seen poor customer experiences caught on video go viral. One of the biggest company image disasters happened in 2017 when an innocent passenger was brutally forced off a United Express flight when demanded he leave to make room for airline employees. In the incident, he was injured and knocked unconscious. - The whole thing was caught on camera.

This resulted in making the news, the president speaking out about it, and a huge drop in United Airlines stock.

2.   Positive feedback is shared

While the internet can be a huge platform to share negative experiences, the same goes for positive experiences.

A huge 81% of candidates share their positive experiences.

Check out the story of Henikens candidate experience here. A great example of the positive benefits of a successful candidate experience going viral. 

Companies who run successful candidate experiences will have their brands talked about and shared even more!

What’s more important to note is, successful candidates' experiences result in candidates giving more referrals.

3.   Change what’s not working and improve upon what is

Candidate experience surveys provide you with direct and real feedback on working well in your recruitment strategy and what isn’t working.

This information is important as it’s gathered directly from the people who have been through your process- no one will know the experience better. 

As a result, you can make the relevant changes to your processes to always be improving. Remember, the candidate experience is never-ending and is always changing.

It’s a given that candidates' expectations and needs will change over time.

Take the Covid-19 situation in recent events. No one could have predicted the impact of the spread of this virus. However, the needs and expectations of candidates have completely changed now we are in and out of lockdown with social distancing in place.

Companies need to consider candidates feedback on the recruitment process during such unpredictable times to gauge whether their candidates are comfortable and safe.

4.   Eliminate candidate drop off

Candidate drops off is when candidates leave the recruitment process and ‘drop out of the running. This can happen for many reasons, one being a prolonged recruitment process in which the candidate hasn’t received any communication for sometimes a week or more.

Recruiters should apply the 3-day rule to communicate with candidates at the very most.

Poor candidate experiences can lead to candidate drop-off and watching candidates head over to your competition.

5.   Improve talent acquisition

Candidate experience surveys are an effective metric for evaluating your recruitment strategy.

When improvements are continually made, the experience is enhanced. And as we’ve mentioned, the positive results of sharing experiences creates a powerful company brand.

Companies that have incredible candidate experiences generate more interest from job searchers. Especially those passively searching!

This is the ideal situation as candidates who feel aligned to a brand and culture will be much more loyal to a company and have better retention rates.

How to create a candidate experience survey that gets results

Creating a candidate experience survey doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are a few tips to bear in mind:

1.   Send to all candidates

Send the survey to all candidates after they’ve exited the recruitment process. This includes successful, non-successful and even opted-out candidates.

2.   Keep it short, simple and easy to fill out

The last thing you want to do is put off candidates with a long-winded, bloated document that's going to take up their valuable time to fill out.

So go for short surveys. Make the survey as easy as possible to fill out.

Sometimes going for a scoring system is easiest as candidates can easily select a range of best describing their experience.

Make the survey convenient for them to fill out. This brings us to the next point...

3.   Mobile friendly

According to, up to 45% of job seekers search on their mobiles for jobs at least once a day.

Your surveys must be mobile compatible, as this is where they’ll most likely answer your survey. This will dramatically increase your response rate.

It would be a good idea to find out what percentage of your candidates found your job posting via mobile in your questionnaire.

4.   Ask a mix of closed-ended and open-ended questions

This is to measure the experience and pinpoint problems and potential improvements.

5.   Grant anonymity

People will more likely be honest if there is no accountability. If your surveys can grant anonymity, they’ll deliver far more candid feedback.

Recruitment feedback examples

A candidate experience survey is needed to get crucial information on what you can improve the candidate experience and what you’re already doing great.

But how to get started?

We’ve covered below a list of questions and survey formats that you could consider for your survey.

Example 1: The tick box method

This is a fast-form feedback style. Good for encouraging candidates to give their opinions efficiently and conveniently.

To complete this candidate experience survey, please tick as many options that apply.

  1. Rate this statement: The communication from the recruiter was prompt:
  2. Always.
  3. Most of the time.
  4. Some of the time.
  5. Rarely.
  6. Never.
  1. The interview process was:
  2. Comfortable and enjoyable.
  3. Engaging and fluid.
  4. Engaging and efficient.
  5. Boring.
  6. Long and drawn out.
  7. Other (comment below)
  8. __________________________________________________
  1. Did the description of the job by the recruiter match the job description in the job advert?
  2. Yes, precisely.
  3. Yes, somewhat- a few details were different here and there.
  4. No, the job explanation was not consistent with the job description.
  1. How well do you understand the role now?
  2. Very clear understanding.
  3. Not very clear but have a general understanding.
  4. I don’t understand much of the role.
  5. I don’t understand any of the role.
  1. How was the recruiters preparation for the role?
  2. They clearly read about me, my background and CV.
  3. They knew some things, but asked repeated questions that were answered already on CV and cover letter.
  4. They didn’t seem very prepared, it was like they were reading my CV for the first time there and then.
  5. They seemed to not know about the interview, they were late, perplexed and rushed.
  1. The recruiter made me feel:
  2. Relaxed and comfortable.
  3. Like they were interested in me.
  4. They showed little interest in me.
  5. Like I were an inconvenience and they were rushed to get it over with.
  1. I feel ________ with the overall recruitment process.
  2. Happy.
  3. Satisfied.
  4. Neutral.
  5. Unsatisfied.
  6. Disappointed.
  1. Are you likely to recommend us to anyone as an employer?
  2. Yes, absolutely.
  3. Maybe.
  4. Not likely.
  5. Never.
  6. Any other comments?



Example 2- Numerical scale method

Another fast-form survey based on a score sheet method.

Choose an answer on a scale 1-5.  1 = accurate, 5 = not accurate at all.

  1. The job posting was easy to find       

1          2          3          4          5

  1. The application form was simple to fill out

1          2          3          4          5

  1. My application was accepted and I received an interview date very promptly

1          2          3          4          5

  1. Communication with the HR team was efficient and I received clear information on each stage of the recruitment process

1          2          3          4          5

  1. The interview started on time

1          2          3          4          5

  1. The interviewing room was comfortable

1          2          3          4          5

  1. The recruiter was friendly

1          2          3          4          5

  1. The recruiter was professional

1          2          3          4          5

  1. The recruiter had a good understanding of the job role and company

1          2          3          4          5

  1. The job description and specifications were described clearly

1          2          3          4          5

  1. I felt listed to and the recruiter took interest in my answers

1          2          3          4          5

  1. I was given an opportunity to ask questions

            1          2          3          4          5         

  1. I am very happy with my candidate experience

1          2          3          4          5

  1. I would recommend (company) to others

1          2          3          4          5




Example 3: Open candidate experience survey questions

  1. Why did you apply for a role here at (company)?
  2. How did you find the job posting (social media, job boards, directly at company website etc)
  3. How was the communication throughout the recruitment process? Could it be improved?
  4. What do we need to do to improve our recruiting process?
  5. What did you enjoy about our recruitment process?
  6. Would you recommend us to others, why ?

Other ways of tracking feedback of the candidate experience

Combining different feedback methods from the candidates will paint a stronger image of your candidate experience strengths and weaknesses. You can access this feedback directly in a variety of ways. We’ve talked about candidate experience surveys, now let’s look at some more methods.

Social media

Social media is often used to vent frustrations with companies, and it’s the same with candidate experiences.

These posts can gain a high amount of interaction, influencing many people who the post reaches- especially if the post goes viral!

Often people are even bold enough to tag the company in their post, or at the very least, use a hashtag with the company brand.

When or if a candidate does this to you, look at it as a positive- you’re receiving crucial feedback that they had a poor candidate experience.

It would help if you approached these reviews appropriately and professionally. This is because how you deal with complaints can turn the public opinion of your company based solely on your response.

Glassdoor review

If you’ve not heard of it, Glassdoor is a global job and recruiting site. But with a difference- it has one of the largest company review databases- which it’s become infamous for.

Glassdoor reviews allow people to get the inside scoop on company information, with reviews from current and previous employees.

This includes candidates who have experienced the recruitment process.

Dealing with negative reviews

How you deal with negative reviews will do more for your image than leaving them or reacting badly to them publicly.

The best way to manage this is to acknowledge that the candidate had a bad experience and encourage them to fill out your candidate experience survey formally. You want to hear more from them about how your candidate experience didn’t meet their expectations.

It’s important to note that there’s always the odd candidate whose frustration and anger may exaggerate or excessively rant on social media or review sites.

By putting into place the encouragement for all candidates to feedback on their experience immediately after the recruitment process, you’re well on your way to limiting the number of negative reviews that reach public sites.

By having a feedback loop in place- immediately after the recruitment process, you can get more accurate feedback as fresh in the candidate's mind. You’re also encouraging open communication channels that enable candidates to conveniently and easily relay any information to you. 

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