The thing about recruiting survey questions is that they are not meant to be static. They are meant to evolve. Whether you’re using feedback to manage your candidate experience or your entire recruiting function, you need to view it like a conversation. And just like a conversation, the responses you get should spark additional questions or lines of inquiry. If you are not regularly evaluating your questions and asking new and different ones, then you are not “listening.”
As a rule of thumb, you should be re-evaluating and evolving your questions at least once annually and in some cases twice. So how do you do that? Let’s first discuss what you DON’T do.
As you are following good practice and evolving your questions, there is a caveat. There should be a couple questions that NEVER change. First, you should always have static Net Promoter questions you ask at key stages of the recruiting process. In other words, how likely are you to recommend [our company] to your colleagues? These questions produce useful KPIs that can point the way to problems that may be occurring at various stages of the process.
In addition to NPS questions there are a few other common static questions. Examples are:
- How easy was it to complete our job application?
- How prepared was your interviewer?
- Did your interaction with the recruiter and/or interview team impact your offer decision?
You want to have static questions like these that you can benchmark and monitor over time. If you change these questions, then you lose the ability to manage experiences at the highest level.
How To Re-Evaluate Recruiting Survey Questions
The best way to re-evaluate your recruiting is to start with the end in mind. Based on the data you’ve received so far, what questions arise? For example, if you’ve consistently seen that the number one reason candidates decline your offers is compensation, you should want to learn more. One way to do that is add a conditional multiple choice question that asks something like “In your opinion, how low was the offer? 5%, 10%, 20%, More than 20%.”
A conditional question is only displayed if the responder selects Compensation as a reason for declining the offer. This is specific data that can then be used to increase acceptance rate. Of course, the multiple choice percentages should represent amounts that could be useful in internally negotiating salary ranges for the positions in question. It’s probably not helpful to offer a 50% option, for example.
Another example would be to add conditional open ended questions to specific questions. If you see that a large number of candidates are telling you that applications take too long, add a conditional open ended question for those who select “The application took too long” option. Ask them “What specifically would you remove from the application?” or “What questions took you the most time to complete and why?” This kind of specificity can point you to the specific problems, rather than guessing what the culprit questions might be.
Another great way to evolve your recruiting survey questions is to monitor your open ended question responses for recurring themes that you want to know more about. If you are doing things right, you should have open ended questions on every survey. So if you see a recurring theme of candidates complaining about not getting enough communication in your rejected candidate surveys, for example, add a question that asks how frequently they expect to receive emails.
Finally, look at your response analytics for unhelpful data. If there are questions that aren’t giving you actionable data that can help you improve, get rid of them. What seemed like a good line of inquiry when you set up your surveys might turn out not to be. Pruning your survey questions like this can increase response rates by making surveys shorter, or more likely, they will make room for more useful questions that arise from going through the exercise I outline above.
These are just examples to get you thinking about how to regularly evaluate and evolve your recruiting survey questions. It’s all about refining and improving. No two surveys are the same and no two companies are the same but this approach will provide a solid framework for making your feedback program much more effective.