Top Candidate Experience Survey Questions to Hire Better

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    Hiring processes can have either of two outcomes: the candidate gets hired, or the candidate gets rejected.

    However, this doesn’t mean that the process is complete. The next important step that many HR professionals miss out on is the candidate experience survey. Just as companies conduct interviews to assess the candidate, the candidate also assesses the company in return. Understanding what the experience of the candidate has been eye-opening.

    Information from candidate experience surveys is useful for companies to improve their hiring processes. Consequently, companies also make use of this information to improve their overall employer branding image.

    Why are candidate experience survey questions important?

    Poor communication during the hiring process will make candidates feel disrespected. Consequently, they will develop a poor image of the company. Today, companies are trying hard to build great cultures and employer branding. So, companies need to make candidates feel good even if they are faced with rejection.

    It doesn’t matter what kind of reputation the business has; if the candidates are treated poorly the company will lose out on talented candidates. Candidates put just as much effort into the process as the companies hiring them. Naturally, if companies are not proactive with their communication and processes, they’ll make candidates feel ghosted.

    However, knowing what questions to ask can prove to be more confusing than it seems. Here’s a guide to the top candidate experience survey questions to ask candidates before, during, and after the interview process.

    Here are some general tips:

    • As much as possible, open-ended questions should be avoided. Respondents may not have the time or patience to give detailed responses.
    • Candidate experience survey questions should be sent out only after the process. If not, the responses will not give a complete picture.
    • Candidate experience surveys should be sent out immediately after the process. Sending it out late will only be worse for the company’s image.

    Questions related to the pre-interview phase

    They say the first impression is the last impression.

    And the same is true while hiring as well! The very first call or conversation the hiring team has with the candidate will say a lot about the company. Special focus needs to be put into refining this first touch-point. The idea here is to ensure that the candidate ends up having a great image of the company, whether they’re accepted or not.

    No company wants to make a poor impression on its candidates. This is not just about maintaining images – making a good first impression is also important because:

    • The candidate will be better motivated to do better on the interview and tests.
    • The candidate will definitely tell their peers about what they felt (thereby impacting recruitment).
    • The candidate’s attitude towards the company will be shaped by this interaction.

    So here are some important candidate experience survey questions to ask the candidate about the pre-interview phase:

    1. Was the recruiter courteous, calm, and clear on the call?

    It’s easy to scare away candidates if the recruiter exudes stress in the very first conversation. Besides, it helps the candidates gain a clear picture of the job role.

    2. Were the roles, responsibilities, and expectations clear?

    If the recruiter doesn’t spend time explaining the role clearly to the candidate, it can lead to an unhealthy mismatch in expectations. This will directly and negatively impact the company’s culture.

    3. Were all questions answered fully by the recruiter?

    It’s important to set healthy and accurate expectations. If candidates don’t feel like their doubts are fully cleared, they won’t feel comfortable enough to join the company at all.

    4. Is the job role suited to your skills and experience?

    This question will help the hiring company understand whether their recruitment team is actually contacting the right candidates or not. A lot of time and money is spent on reaching out to candidates. Companies should be sure about how their resources will be used.

    5. Was the wait too much between the first call and the interview?

    Making the candidate wait too long will make them feel disrespected. It also points out problematic gaps in the process.

    6. Were all queries and doubts responded to timely?

    If the answer is “no”, you may be losing valuable candidates to other companies. Candidates don’t have to wait for their questions to be answered. As such, delays may just put them off completely.

    Questions related to the interview phase

    Once the company has assessed how the candidate felt in the pre-interview phase, they then need to check the effectiveness of the actual interview process. This is the stage where the candidate’s impression of the company gets stronger.

    Here are some important candidate experience survey questions to ask about the interview process:

    1. Were the interviews frequently rescheduled?

    Frequently rescheduling interviews may give candidates a poor impression of the company’s work culture. The candidate may feel like the company has poor decision-making processes, and that the role itself isn’t very important.

    2. Was the rescheduling of interviews communicated on time?

    It’s very disrespectful to not tell the candidates about rescheduled interviews on time. It tells the candidate that their time is not valued by the company.

    3. Did the interviewer show up on time for the interview?

    Punctuality is a value that goes both ways. So, if the interviewer shows up late for the interview, without a valid reason, it reflects poorly on the company.

    4. Was the interviewer knowledgeable about the subject?

    Hiring managers should be experts in the field they’re hiring for. If not, it can be very embarrassing for the company. It also leaves a poor image of the company in the minds of the candidates.

    5. Were the interviews and tests fair and suited to the job role?

    The questions should be focused perfectly on the job role and its related functions. It’s unfair to ask questions about unrelated departments and skills, simply for the sake of cornering the candidate.

    It’s easy to lose focus on what really matters if the questions aren’t completely role-related. Consequently, the company may lose a very valuable candidate, simply because they did poorly on unrelated questions!

    6. Was the interviewer courteous, respectful, and involved?

    The interviewer is the face of the company to the candidate. The way the interviewer behaves will decide what the candidate will feel about the company. This question will help the company get insights into the behaviours displayed by the company’s leaders in interviews.

    This information also is a reflection on how managers lead their teams. The insights you can get from this question are very deep and useful.

    Questions related to the post-interview phase

    Post-interview phase questions will help companies learn how effective their entire hiring process is. Besides getting an insight into how the candidate was handled, the company will also know about the candidate’s final opinion of the company.

    Candidates spend a lot of time answering interviews, taking tests, and completing assignments. So, it’s only respectful on the part of the companies to give them a great experience.

    Here are the top candidate experience questions to ask about the post-interview phase.

    If the candidate is rejected, ask these questions:

    1. Were you given clear feedback about why we were unable to hire you?

    This is a very important step. And yet, it’s something most companies simply ignore! Taking the time to put in the effort to give the rejected candidate feedback can reflect really well on the hiring company. It shows respect and concern. It also helps candidates upskill and become better versions of themselves too.

    2. Did you have to wait too long to receive feedback?

    If the hiring team is rejecting a candidate, they must let them know about it as soon as possible to save their time. This question will help the company understand if their hiring team is communicating rejections promptly. In fact, candidates often don’t even receive rejection communications! This makes candidates feel disrespected and frustrated.

    3. Would you apply with us again?

    If the answer to this question is “no”, it can point out many things. Probably the candidate was too frustrated with the long waits, or lack of proper responses. Or, maybe the candidate wasn’t informed about the rejection respectfully. Whatever the issue is, this should definitely be part of any company’s candidate experience survey questions.

    4. Would you recommend us to your peers?

    This is a very indicative question to ask. Despite facing rejection, if the candidate says that they would recommend you to their peers, that says a lot about how great the company’s hiring process is.

    5. Do you have any feedback for us? (This can be kept open-ended)

    Although a very basic, obvious question, it should still be a part of this list. This question must be kept open-ended because it can be a source of precious information. That said, there’s a chance fewer candidates will respond.

    Asking for feedback is only half the job done. In addition, it’s equally important to work on the suggestions candidates provide genuinely. After all, these candidate experience survey questions are meant to help improve existing hiring processes.

    If the candidate is accepted, ask these questions:

    1. Was your experience smooth and quick?

    Once the candidate joins the company, they’ll be more or less positively inclined towards the company. So what the company would want to know now is whether the candidates found the process easy and smooth.

    Were all your joining formalities completed on time?

    Even after getting hired, many things could go wrong while joining. Some examples of this are:

    • The trouble with submitting documents and saving bank details
    • Poorly designed orientation programs
    • Difficulties with logging in
    • Low awareness of company policies and benefits
    • Improper introduction to their teammates

    2. What would you like us to improve?

    Similar to asking rejected candidates for feedback, companies should ask accepted candidates if they have suggestions to improve the process. As a part of the team, they’d be in a better position to help the company know what areas to improve on. They would’ve experienced all the joining formalities and sat through orientation. As such, the insights shared by new joiners will be valuable.

    Time to get started!

    Building a good employer branding image is not easy. Giving candidates a great hiring experience is a very important tool to do so. Well, not all these questions may be useful to every business out there, or the roles that are being hired for. However, they should definitely give every hiring company a good direction to get started.

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