Candidate Experience Survey Best Practices

Candidate feedback surveys are a quick and easy way to start discovering how your recruiting process is affecting your reputation with candidates, and how you can improve your hiring results. How you interact with candidates during the hiring process is critical. Pitfalls, small or large, hurt your reputation, cost you great hires and damage your employer brand.

The candidate experience lifecycle begins from the moment a job seeker enters your career site and continues throughout the candidate’s interview process. It ends with a job offer or rejection letter. Using the Survale feedback platform to reveal strengths and weaknesses in each stage of your hiring process is a great way to refine and improve your recruiting strategy.

Small actions can offer big results. Caring enough about candidate experience to ask for feedback tells them you care and goes a long way toward building an employee and candidate-centric employer brand.

Suggested Stages for Candidate Experience Surveys

Always on surveysIt is important to know that reaching out multiple times to a candidate is preferred. Make no mistake, candidates want to hear from you. In our experience providing automated candidate feedback programs for top employers, and through our relationship with the Talent Board’s CandE Awards, we see what works and what doesn’t when it comes to candidate feedback. By staying in touch, candidates know your organization cares about them as a candidate, whether they end up getting hired or not. Candidate experience feedback can be broken into five main areas:

Pre-Applicant Candidate Satisfaction

Integrate “Always On” technology to ask candidates about the experience they have on your career site and their initial brand perception. Here you’ll be asking for feedback on career site usability, brand perception, ease of application, etc.

Setup automated follow-up surveys for candidates who opted in for follow up feedback. Here you will ask questions about post application follow up, clarity of next steps, employer brand perception after they have engaged with your site and applied. Questions like, “Did you receive acknowledgement and did it clearly communicate the next steps in the recruiting process?” are a great way to see how candidates feel about you as an employer after initial engagement and learn if your follow up emails are doing their job effectively.

Recruiter Satisfaction

Once your recruiters have engaged candidates, you’ll want to get feedback on how well the recruiter represented your employer brand and how effective they were at communicating with candidates. Recruiter-candidate communications feedback is important here, with questions like “How clearly did our recruiter explain the job details?” and “Was the recruiter prompt and courteous in their interaction with you?”

Post Interview Satisfaction

After Candidates interview with hiring managers, we highly recommend requesting Candidate Feedback about the Hiring Manager Interview. Similar to recruiter feedback, this stage should focus on how well the Hiring Manager represents the employer brand, their respect for the candidates time, etc. Questions such as, “How prepared and professional was your interviewer?” or “Did the Hiring Manager provide you with enough information to fully understand the role and its expectations” are a great way to gain insights into potential training issues for your Hiring Managers.

It’s unlikely that every candidate is going to respond to your survey questions, or appreciate being asked to provide feedback if they’re upset about being rejected. To reduce the likelihood of these kinds of sampling biases, send your candidate survey emails shortly after the position they applied to has closed with a well written considerate rejection letter.

Final Stage Candidates

Candidates who made it to the final stage of your hiring process are some of your most valuable assets. After all, they were good enough to go far in your process and you may want to hire them in the future. They’ve also spent more time in your process and can give you a more complete picture of their experience. Ask questions like: “Was email and phone communication prompt and effective during the hiring process?,” “What would make our hiring process better?” or “Would you still be open to working here in the future?” You may be able to get useful information from candidates who rejected a job offer. For example, losing a great hire because of a poorly crafted job offer letter is something you can fix as soon as possible.

New hires

New hires can give you feedback as part of their onboarding process. Ask them in their first days if the job meets their pre-hire expectation or if they would have appreciated more information (e.g. details about working hours, dress code and benefits.) Also, positive input will help you strengthen the things you already do well (e.g. “The recruiter’s description of the company’s culture encouraged me to accept the job offer.”)

Setting up automated campaigns to gather feedback at each of these five stages will give you a complete picture of your hiring process and likely provide enough analytics to uncover a number of areas to improve immediate. It will also provide a foundation of performance metrics that will allow you to ensure the process runs smoothly year in and year out.

Author: Ian Alexander

Ian Alexander is co-founder and CMO of Survale. He is a pioneer in SaaS HR software with decades of experience bringing leading technologies to the performance management and recruiting industry. He is a passionate advocate for revolutionizing candidate and employee satisfaction in the Enterprise.