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The Art of Listening: Key Questions for Candidate Experience Surveys (With Templates)

Pragnesh Anekal

May 26, 2023

We all know that finding top talent is no easy feat, and understanding what candidates truly want and need can be like deciphering a secret code. With the right questions and a dash of finesse, you'll be well on your way to creating surveys that not only capture candidates' attention but also give you the insights you need to level up your hiring game.

It's not just about finding the right fit; it's about truly understanding what candidates want, need, and desire from their job search experience.

Why listening matters in candidate experience surveys

According to a TalentBoard report, candidates who received a job offer and were surveyed on their experience were more likely to improve their relationships with the employer.

Reasons for positive candidate experiences
Common reasons for positive candidate experiences, Source

Demonstrates value and builds trust

When you prioritize candidate experience surveys and actively seek feedback, you send a powerful message to candidates that their voices and opinions matter. You create a sense of value and inclusion by giving them a platform to express their thoughts, concerns, and suggestions.

This fosters trust and engagement, leaving candidates with a positive impression of your organization, even if they are not ultimately selected for the position.

Unlocks invaluable insights

Common negative candidate experiences
Common negative candidate experiences, Source

By actively listening to candidates' feedback, you gain access to a goldmine of insights that can transform your hiring process. Through their feedback, you can uncover areas where your recruitment strategies and processes may be falling short or causing frustration. These insights allow you to identify pain points and make informed improvements that enhance the candidate experience.

Whether it's streamlining your application process, improving communication, or enhancing interview experiences, listening helps you address candidates' needs and preferences effectively.

Enhances employer brand and attracts top talent

In today's competitive job market, a positive employer brand is essential for attracting and retaining top talent. When you actively listen to candidates and take action based on their feedback, you demonstrate your commitment to providing an exceptional candidate experience.

Candidates with positive experiences, even if they are not selected, are more likely to share their experiences with others, leading to increased candidate referrals and a reputation as an employer of choice.

Essential questions to ask in candidate experience surveys

  1. How would you rate the clarity and transparency of the job description?

    1. Excellent
    2. Good
    3. Average
    4. Poor
  2. Did you receive timely updates throughout the hiring process?

    1. Yes, always
    2. Most of the time
    3. Occasionally
    4. No, never
  3. How would you rate the professionalism and friendliness of the interviewers?

    1. Outstanding
    2. Satisfactory
    3. Neutral
    4. Unsatisfactory
  4. Were the interview questions aligned with the job requirements and your skills?

    1. Yes, perfectly
    2. Mostly
    3. Somewhat
    4. Not at all
  5. Would you recommend our company to a friend or colleague based on your candidate experience?

    1. Definitely
    2. Likely
    3. Unsure
    4. Unlikely

These questions cover important aspects of the candidate experience, such as job description clarity, communication during the hiring process, interviewers' professionalism, alignment of interview questions, and the likelihood of recommending the company. You can analyze the responses to gain insights and identify areas for improvement in your hiring process.

Templates for candidate experience surveys

Template 1: General candidate experience survey

  1. Did you find the application process easy to navigate?
  2. Did you receive clear communication about the next steps after submitting your application?
  3. Were you satisfied with the timeliness of the interview scheduling?
  4. Did the interviewers make you feel comfortable during the interview?
  5. Were you provided with feedback or updates on your application status in a timely manner?

Template 2: Interview experience survey

  1. Were the interview questions relevant to the position and your qualifications?
  2. Did the interviewers demonstrate a clear understanding of the role and its requirements?
  3. Did you feel adequately prepared for the interview based on the information provided?
  4. Did the interviewers provide you with an opportunity to ask questions about the company or role?
  5. Did you receive constructive feedback on your performance during the interview process?

Template 3: Onboarding experience survey

  1. Did you receive all necessary information and resources for a smooth onboarding process?
  2. Were you introduced to your team members and provided with an overview of their roles?
  3. Did you receive clear guidance on the company's policies and procedures?
  4. Did you feel supported and welcomed during your initial days at the company?
  5. Were your training and development needs adequately addressed during the onboarding process?

Best practices for designing candidate experience surveys

The average person can become distracted in just 8 seconds.

In today's fast-paced digital age, attention spans are shorter, especially when it comes to surveys. To ensure maximum participation, it's crucial to consider the candidate's perspective. Candidates may be reluctant to provide lengthy written feedback, particularly if they haven't been hired.

To overcome this, keep surveys concise and prioritize multiple-choice or shorter answer formats that are convenient for candidates to share their valuable feedback. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  1. Keep it short and sweet: Candidates appreciate surveys that are concise and to the point. Focus on the most important questions to capture their feedback efficiently.
  2. Use clear and simple language: Avoid jargon or complex terminology. Opt for plain language that candidates can easily understand, ensuring clarity in your survey questions.
  3. Provide answer choices: Make it easy for candidates to respond by offering clear and relevant answer choices. This streamlines the survey process and enhances response rates.

By following these best practices, you'll design candidate experience surveys that are engaging, user-friendly, and yield valuable insights to improve your hiring process.

Wrapping up

In a nutshell, effective listening holds the power to transform your hiring game. By actively listening to candidates, you gain insights that enhance their experience, bolster your employer brand, and attract top talent. Embrace the art of listening, refine your processes, and create a hiring journey that leaves a lasting impact.

Remember, each candidate's voice matters, so let's prioritize their feedback and make meaningful improvements. With an attentive ear and a commitment to continuous improvement, you'll set yourself apart as an employer who truly values the candidate experience.


Why should employers prioritize candidate experience surveys?

Prioritizing candidate experience surveys allows employers to gain valuable insights directly from candidates, identify areas for improvement in the hiring process, and create a positive and candidate-centric experience that attracts top talent.

What types of questions should be included in candidate experience surveys?

Candidate experience surveys should include a mix of questions, such as rating scales to measure satisfaction, multiple-choice questions for specific feedback, and open-ended questions to gather detailed insights. This combination allows for a comprehensive understanding of the candidate's experience.

How can employers encourage candidates to participate in surveys?

Employers can encourage survey participation by emphasizing the value of candidate feedback and how it directly contributes to improving the hiring process. Providing assurances of anonymity, offering incentives like gift cards or entry into a prize draw, and keeping the survey short and user-friendly can also increase participation rates.

Pragnesh Anekal

Pragnesh is the EiR at Adaface. He loves reading books more than scrolling through social media, which is a big deal if you ask him.

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