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July 19, 2023

What Should You Include in Your Candidate Experience Survey? (+ Sample Questions)

one person giving a thumbs up and one person giving a thumbs down

If you care about your company’s reputation, you need to care about your recruitment process. Because a bad candidate experience can have a big impact on both your brand rep and your profits.

Media mogul Richard Branson learned that lesson the hard way. 

As a household name with no shortage of job applicants, Virgin Media seemed untouchable...or so they thought.

Once upon a time (a.k.a. 2015), the company was rejecting around 150,000 applicants every year. Of those 150,000 rejected candidates, 18% were existing Virgin customers. Due to a negative candidate experience, many of them took their business elsewhere.

Virgin tackled the challenge head-on by making a public commitment to creating the best candidate experience ever. As a result, Branson saved $7 million in lost revenue. (Nice move, Rich! 👏🏻)

Moral of the story? Smart recruiters and hiring managers don’t get complacent. They keep their fingers on the pulse of what candidates want. And there’s no better way to do that than with a well-structured candidate experience survey.

Best questions for a candidate experience survey

  • Application process questions
  • Interview process questions
  • Hiring process questions

What is a candidate experience survey?

A candidate experience survey is a brief survey used by hiring managers to improve the hiring process for candidates and collect data that helps optimize the company’s recruiting strategies.

Used at various touchpoints throughout the candidate journey, a candidate experience survey helps employers assess the strength of the recruitment experience for job seekers.

Want to dive straight into the survey? Get a free, done-for-you candidate experience survey template, or read on for a comprehensive list of questions, plus all the latest best practices.

What are the best questions for a candidate experience survey?

With a combination of open-ended qualitative questions and measurable quantitative questions, you can use your candidate experience surveys to drop the guesswork and make informed, data-driven decisions to bolster your employer brand and win the best candidates every time.

Here are some of the best candidate experience survey questions to ask.

Application process questions

  1. Where did you hear about the role?
  2. What prompted you to apply for our open position?
  3. How consistent was the job description with the information presented to you about the role during the hiring process?
  4. Were there any specific challenges you faced while completing the application?
  5. Were there any areas within the application form or process where you felt the need for additional guidance or instructions? If so, please provide details on what was lacking or unclear.
  6. On a scale of 1 to 5, how user-friendly was the application process?
  7. How would you rate the accessibility of the application process in terms of accommodating different devices or assistive technologies?
  8. Did the application process allow you to effectively showcase your qualifications?
  9. How would you rate the flow of communication during the recruiting cycle?
  10. Please rate the following statement: The career site answered most of my questions. 

Interview process questions

  1. Did our interview process reflect our values and culture? Why or why not?
  2. Were there any areas where you felt the interviewers could have provided more information or clarification?
  3. Are there any materials or additional information that could have enhanced your interview performance?
  4. Were there any aspects of the interview process that you found challenging or confusing?
  5. Did you receive post-interview feedback? If so, how could it have been more constructive?
  6. How satisfied were you with the overall organization and structure of the interview, including the allotted time and sequence of interview rounds?
  7. On a scale of 1 to 5, how well-prepared were the interviewers?
  8. Did the interviewers make you feel comfortable and welcome during the interview?
  9. On a scale of 1 to 5, how relevant were the interview questions to the position you applied for?
  10. On a scale of 1 to 5, how well did the interviewers effectively communicate the next steps and timeline of the hiring process?

Hiring process questions

  1. How would you describe your experience with the hiring process from initial contact to final decision?
  2. Can you describe your experience working on the test projects or assignments provided? What resources or support were offered to assist you?
  3. Did you feel valued and appreciated during the hiring process? If not, why not?
  4. Were there any resources or materials offered during the hiring process that you found particularly helpful in understanding the company, team, or role? Please explain.
  5. Is there anything else you’d like to add about your experience?
  6. On a scale of 1 to 5, how clear and prompt was our communication during the hiring process?
  7. How would you rate the efficiency of the hiring process in terms of time taken from application to final decision?
  8. How would you rate your understanding of the position after the hiring process?
  9. How likely are you to recommend our company to other candidates?
  10. How likely are you to apply to an open position at [company name] again? 

What are the benefits of a candidate experience survey?

You may think you have the best possible recruitment process in place, but the way your candidates feel will change and evolve along with the talent market (and world 😬).

From faster job offers to smoother onboarding, a candidate experience survey can help you get even more out of your recruitment strategy by simply asking candidates what they want to see from your hiring team.

Here are just a few of the benefits a great candidate experience survey can deliver:

  • Greater candidate satisfaction
  • Stronger LinkedIn and social media presence
  • Better Glassdoor reviews
  • Higher net promoter score (NPS) rating
  • Better candidate retention
  • Higher candidate acceptance rate
  • Faster and easier onboarding
  • A more engaged hiring team

In the modern game of talent acquisition, there is no such thing as “normal”.

As an employer, you need to consistently check the temperature of your recruitment process to make sure your strategy is fit for purpose.

The top 10 best practices for your candidate experience survey 

In a world where 54% of Gen Z candidates won’t bother applying for a job if the process feels outdated, you need to make 100% sure you’re competing for top talent effectively. 

(And with 82% expecting the hiring process to take two weeks or less, fast and transparent communication is a must.)

Before you start creating your candidate experience survey, take a minute to ensure your HR tech stack is up to the task of tracking applicants, organizing candidates, and establishing clear communication at speed and scale.

Then review the following best practices before creating your candidate experience survey:

  1. Keep it brief - If you want a solid response rate, don’t make it long and complicated.‍
  2. Go for 5–6 questions - No more than 12 max.‍
  3. Offer an incentive - Throw in a voucher, discount, or gift to thank candidates for taking the time to share their valuable insights.
  4. Ask succinct questions - Don’t waffle, be direct.‍
  5. Avoid vague questions - Get the insights you need through well-constructed questions that yield a fast answer.‍
  6. Make sure you’re measuring experience - It can be tempting to throw in irrelevant questions for all kinds of HR metrics. Stay focused on the must-knows.‍
  7. Leave space for general comments -  If candidates have something they want to say, give them a place to voice it.‍
  8. Keep candidates in the loop - Remind candidates about the survey at each stage of the recruitment process so they’re more likely to fill one out at the end.
  9. Keep it fair and balanced - Offer the candidate experience survey to both unsuccessful and successful candidates.‍
  10. Make it anonymous - You’re more likely to get honest answers this way.

Last but not least, if you’re going to ask for feedback, you need to be ready to give it too.

For a truly positive candidate experience, be sure to add a step to your hiring process that includes following up with unsuccessful candidates with feedback they’ll actually appreciate.

Feedback is a two-way street — sweep it clean with Breezy 😉

With a great candidate experience survey, you can use valuable candidate insights to position your brand well above the hundreds of other companies competing for the same talent.

From long-form text responses to easy-peasy checkbox replies, Breezy’s automated questionnaires make it easy to launch a survey that is so user-friendly, candidates can’t help but click.

You can even use Breezy’s stage actions to automatically send surveys via email or text at a certain point in the hiring process, or use our open API to integrate with your favorite survey tools.

Whether you’re focused on amplifying your employer branding, improving the interview process, or pinpointing your best candidate sources, Breezy makes it easy to make better hires faster — without cutting corners on candidate experience.

See for yourself with a free 14-day trial.