What to ask in a candidate experience survey

Author: Cat Mcilroy

Published: March 2023

65% of candidates say that a bad interview experience makes them lose interest in the job. So, it's clear that nailing your candidate experience is crucial to attracting and retaining top talent. But how do you know if you're hitting the mark? By getting direct feedback from the source–your candidates!

There are lots of online survey tools out there such as Typeform and VideoAsk: with Typeform, you can quickly create a visually-appealing form that candidates will enjoy answering, while VideoAsk allows for even richer feedback by allowing recruiters and candidates to present and respond to questions with video and audio. By leveraging these kind of tools, you can gain a better understanding of your candidates' experiences and make informed decisions to improve your hiring process.

Here, we’ll look at some of the most effective candidate experience survey questions to help you gather valuable feedback and optimize your hiring process.

10 effective candidate experience survey questions

1. How would you rate your overall experience during the hiring process? 

This is a great question to kick off your survey and give candidates the chance to reflect on their experience as a whole. Plus, it's a straightforward way to gauge their satisfaction.

2. Did we communicate with you clearly and promptly throughout the hiring process? 

Communication is key to providing a positive candidate experience. This question helps you understand if candidates felt informed and supported throughout the process.

3. How would you rate the friendliness and professionalism of our recruiters and hiring managers? 

An effective question to check how the recruiting team measured up in terms of being professional and friendly. This is usually an important factor in shaping candidates’ overall experience.

4. Did we provide you with enough information about the company and the role during the hiring process? 

A good one to check that you provided candidates with enough details about your company and the role they were applying for, which can impact their decision to accept an offer or continue with the application process.

5. How would you rate the interview process and the questions asked? 

This question provides feedback on the interview process, giving you an idea of whether it was effective in assessing candidates' skills and experience.

6. Did we provide you with adequate feedback after your interview(s)?  

Candidates want to know how they did in the interview and what they can improve on. This question helps you understand if candidates felt they received useful feedback.

7. Did you find the application process easy and straightforward? 

This question assesses the ease and clarity of your application process, which can affect the number of applications you receive and the quality of your applicant pool.

8. Did we provide you with a positive candidate experience, even if you were not selected for the role? 

This question helps you determine whether you provided an overall positive experience to candidates who were not selected, which can impact your company's reputation and future candidate pools.

9. Would you recommend our company to a friend or colleague based on your experience with the hiring process? 

This is a good question to gauge overall candidate satisfaction. If candidates are happy to recommend the company to others, it's a strong indication that they had a positive experience.

10. Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience with our company during the hiring process? 

This open-ended question gives candidates the opportunity to provide any additional feedback or comments that were not addressed by the previous questions, allowing you to uncover valuable insights and suggestions for improvement.

The power of open-ended questions

To gather even more comprehensive insights, consider rewording some of the closed-ended questions above to make them open-ended and encourage richer feedback from candidates. However, keep in mind that open-ended questions may require more effort and time for candidates to answer thoroughly. The level of detail and expected outcomes and insights you seek will determine whether the extra effort is worth the information gained. 

For example, instead of asking a closed-ended question like "Did we communicate with you clearly and promptly throughout the hiring process?" consider asking an open-ended question such as "What did you think about the clarity and timeliness of our communication throughout the hiring process?"

💡Top tips to maximize the effectiveness of your candidate experience survey
  • Keep it short and sweet:

Long surveys are tedious and can lead to rushed and unreliable feedback. The shorter the survey, the more likely candidates are to complete it and the more accurate the data you collect will be. Aim to keep your survey to no more than 10 questions and make sure each question is necessary and adds value to your understanding of the candidate experience.

  • Make it engaging:

No-one wants to fill out a boring form. Try presenting your questions in video format to engage your candidates and stand out from the crowd.

  • Make it user-friendly:

Use clear and concise language that is easy to understand. Avoid using industry jargon or overly complicated language that could confuse candidates.

  • Allow candidates to remain anonymous:

Let candidates know that their responses will remain anonymous (unless they want to provide their details or submit a video response). You’re more likely to get honest and accurate feedback this way.

  • Mix up your question types:

Incorporate a mix of multiple-choice, open-ended, and rating questions. If you’re using a tool like VideoAsk, make the most of the wide variety of answer types available to gain a comprehensive view of the candidate experience.

  • Offer a general feedback section:

This gives candidates the chance to express any extra feedback they may have. They can share their thoughts and opinions on topics that might not have been covered in the survey questions and give valuable insights for improving the overall candidate experience.

  • Tailor the survey to the candidate's journey:

Consider the different stages of the candidate journey (e.g., application, interview, offer) and tailor your questions accordingly to get specific feedback for each stage.

  • Make it clear that their feedback matters:

Let candidates know that their feedback will be taken seriously and will be used to improve the hiring process. By doing so, candidates will feel that their opinions are valued and that their input can make a difference. To further encourage participation, you could even offer an incentive like a voucher or discount to candidates who complete the survey.

  • Test your survey:

Before sending your survey to candidates, test it with a small group of colleagues or friends to make sure that the questions are clear, the survey is easy to complete, and that there are no technical issues.

For more handy hints on crafting impactful surveys, tune into this Typeform webinar, hosted in collaboration with research experts from Bellini Slushi.