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How a Candidate Experience Survey Can Boost Talent Acquisition


HR professionals rely on recruiting metrics like candidate satisfaction rate and net promoter score to streamline the hiring process and improve the candidate experience. But how can HR teams gather this data, and what sort of impact can it have? Let’s dive into how and why a candidate experience survey can boost employer brand perceptions and help talent acquisition teams attract and retain high-quality candidates in their pipeline.

An Invitation for Feedback Improves the Candidate Experience

According to the Talent Board 2019 North American Candidate Experience Research Report, just 25% of job seekers rate their candidate experiences as having been great. However, experience ratings improve significantly when candidates are invited to provide feedback. Researchers found that feedback overwhelmingly increased the average candidates positive impression of the given organization. Here’s what happens when surveys are inserted at each step of the recruiting process:

  • 72% increase in “great” candidate experience ratings when candidates are asked for feedback on their initial research process.
  • 72% increase when asked for feedback on the application process.
  • 148% increase when asked for feedback on a screening or interview.
  • 76% increase when new hires are asked for feedback before their start date.

No matter which stage a candidate is in, “the solicitation of feedback is proven to increase a candidates perception of their experience,” the Talent Board report concludes. But what accounts for this dramatic change?

Industry research shows there’s a 148% increase in “great” candidate experiences ratings when applicants are asked for feedback on a screening or interview.

Why It Works

According to the researchers, soliciting feedback and experience ratings from everyone demonstrates a respect for applicants. In the simplest terms, asking for feedback is perceived as a decent thing to do. It shows that the employer cares and illustrates a culture of respect and kindness.

Seeking feedback from candidates exhibits a sincere commitment to making searching and applying for a job as comfortable as possible. It also shows that the organization respects all applicants and what they have to say, including rejected candidates and those that didn’t make the final cut. Furthermore, the process of collecting candidate feedback shows dedication to tangibly improving the experience, and the survey data empowers hiring teams to do so strategically.

Even candidates who chose not to provide feedback may appreciate that the employer has asked their opinion, thereby improving their perception of hiring managers and the employer brand.

According to Talent Board, an improved candidate experience rating signifies that candidates are willing to continue their relationship with the organization. This could mean remaining in the talent pipeline and eagerly awaiting new opportunities. Or, it could mean that the candidate continues to patronize the business in a customer or client role rather than severing all ties after a poor candidate experience.

Designing Surveys to Measure Candidate Experience

For HR professionals hoping to gather insights into candidate experience, and make it a more positive experience in the process, it’s important to catch candidates at the right time. An applicant tracking system (ATS) makes this easy when it’s set up to distribute follow-up surveys automatically.

With JazzHR, versatile Questionnaires can either be added to the application process as a screening mechanism, or distributed at a later stage via email. They can even be added as Workflow Helpers for a more streamlined process. When building out surveys, aim to gather a mix of quantitative and qualitative data with a mix of closed questions and short-answer prompts. With both question formats, you can solicit feedback on different aspects of the recruiting process, including:

  • Careers page.
  • Application form.
  • Job description.
  • Recruitment marketing efforts.
  • Employer brand perceptions.
  • Screening conversation.
  • Interview.
  • Recruiters, interviewers and hiring managers.
  • Communication quality and frequency.
  • Overall candidate experience.
A candidate experience survey communicates that the organization respects all applicants and is committed to providing a positive candidate experience.

Just remember that, when gathering feedback on the recruitment experience, keep the number of survey questions limited and make sure each question is clear and concise.

This way, candidates will be more likely to engage. With specific feedback on various aspects of your talent acquisition process, you’ll be able to see what’s working and what isn’t. You can also use candidate response rates to augment your candidate engagement metrics.

Here are a few key metrics to track through your candidate experience surveys:

Candidate Satisfaction Rate

To get a numerical reading on the candidates overall satisfaction levels, use a five-point scale from “poor experience” to “great experience‚” or from “very dissatisfied” to “very satisfied.” You can also include a few questions in this format to gather feedback on different aspects of the recruitment process as well. By asking multiple candidates the same five-point-scale questions, you can generate an average score or percentage-based representation of the candidate experience.

Net Promoter Score

This metric reveals a candidates loyalty to an employer and likelihood to remain in the talent pool or refer a friend. To determine the candidates net promoter score, ask how likely they would be to recommend their experience to a friend or colleague. Once you’ve gathered enough responses, take the percentage of respondents who gave low scores and subtract the percentage of those who gave high scores. If the result is a rating above zero, this points to a positive candidate experience.

Qualitative Candidate Feedback

In addition, you may want to include one or more open-ended questions to your candidate experience survey. Ask for additional comments and feedback to give job seekers a chance to share their impressions and make suggestions for improvement.


A candidate experience survey serves multiple functions:

  • Candidate experiences improve when they’re asked for feedback.
  • With an ATS, surveys can be included within follow-up emails.
  • Recruiters can use survey results to improve the hiring process.

For additional insights, download our latest eBook, Improving Your Candidate Experience in 2020.


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