12 Things to Include In Your Candidate Experience Survey

What is one item to include in your candidate experience survey?

To help you determine what to include in your candidate experience surveys, we asked experienced recruiters and hiring managers this question for their best insights. From determining how they feel about your company’s mission and values to asking if the candidate felt comfortable asking questions, there are several items to include in your candidate experience surveys to help improve the overall hiring process.


Here are 12 items to include in your candidate experience surveys:

  • Ask How They Feel About the Company’s Mission and Values
  • Invite Them to Stay in Contact Via Email
  • Ask How You Could Improve Your Hiring Process
  • Find Out If the Job Description Matches Reality
  • Ask About Recruiter Responsiveness
  • Check the Potential for Repeat Application
  • Include a Word Association Section
  • Make Space for Candidates to Leave Comments
  • Find Out How Likely the Candidate Would Refer Your Company
  • Inquire How the Candidate Learned About The Position
  • Include Recruiter Rating
  • Ask If the Candidate Felt Comfortable Asking Questions

Ask How They Feel About the Company’s Mission and Values

One item to include in your candidate experience survey is a question that asks how the candidate feels about the company’s mission and values. This will help you get a sense of whether or not the candidate is aligned with your company’s vision, which is key to finding someone who will thrive in the role.

Ryan Stewart, Webris

Invite Them to Stay in Contact Via Email

At the end of a candidate experience survey, you should always include an offer to subscribe to future offers and opportunities with your business. By entering their email, a candidate can stay informed of happenings in your company and apply again in the future. This creates a larger pool of candidates, benefiting both you and the potential candidate for future endeavors.

David Aylor, David Aylor Law Offices

Ask How You Could Improve Your Hiring Process

Asking this question provides insight into the candidates’ expectations throughout the process and can also help you understand their overall experience. Learn how your organization can continue to enhance the candidate experience and implement these changes accordingly. Listening to your candidates’ feedback will encourage them (and their colleagues) to apply for future opportunities at your company.

Benjamin Farber, Bristol Associates, Inc.

Find Out If the Job Description Matches Reality

One area which the candidate experience survey should attempt to clarify is how closely the initial job description matched the information presented during the hiring process. Some companies can be too eager to attract candidates, leading to misleading job descriptions being posted. The result of this is that unsuitable candidates can be tempted to apply for roles that do not match their experience or qualifications.

Alternatively, they may go into the hiring process with lofty expectations that cannot be fulfilled within your company or the role they will be expected to fill. The job description should read as close as possible to the position you are looking to fill. A misleading description will waste time for both the employer and the candidate and will come with a financial cost. If your candidate experience survey implies a mismatch, action should be taken to correct the description.

Morgan Taylor, Sourcery

Ask About Recruiter Responsiveness

A must-have question on a candidate experience survey is: how responsive were our team members when you reached out to them? One study showed that 50% of candidates said they turned down a job because of a poor recruitment experience. 

Understanding communication between candidates and HR or recruiters is essential to this goal. The great thing about this question is that it is likely to provide a concrete answer, but it leaves room for elaboration.

Soumya Mohan, Poised

Check the Potential for Repeat Application

Find out whether your candidates are open to applying with you again. It matters who the candidate partners with during the recruiting process, so as a company and brand, we do not take that decision lightly. We work with companies and candidates to put our best foot forward, especially since their success is our success.

From applying to interviewing to getting hired, the entire process can be quite daunting, especially for someone who is new to the process or has been in the process for some time without any luck. For them, the experience can make the world of a difference, so it is important for us to know if our candidates had a good enough experience to come back and work with us again in the future.

Ryan Nouis, TruPath

Include a Word Association Section

Candidate experience surveys give companies an insight into the efficacy of their recruitment process. They illuminate which processes are working, and help you identify potential areas of improvement.

One of the most beneficial things to include in your candidate experience survey is a word association section. Simply ask participants to share three words that summarize their overall impression of the experience. For example, you might receive answers like “Fast”, “Difficult”, or “Frustrating”. Participants may choose to elaborate in a separate question. This is easy for candidates to fill out, and gives you a bird’s eye view of how they perceive the experience as a whole.

These responses can be monitored over time to keep a pulse on candidate sentiment and identify emerging patterns, such as frequently re-occurring words. This feedback can offer a sense of direction as you improve the process, and present a clear idea of how candidates feel about your changes.

Aaron Gray, Agency 101

Make Space for Candidates to Leave Comments

To thoroughly measure the candidate experience, you need to give them space to say the things that they really want to say. Your line of questioning, as thorough as it might be, may still have blind spots. This could leave the candidate without the opportunity to speak candidly about their full experience, which may even warp your final impression of the recruitment process.

You need to give candidates space to voice their concerns, observations, and complaints. Only then will you be able to adapt your methodology and attract more candidates. By including a simple text box at the end of the survey, you’ll ensure that no stone is left unturned in giving the candidate a platform with which to speak. That way, you can make full use of their feedback and discover exactly what your candidates want to see. It’s as easy as asking, “Do you have any other comments?”.

Max Wesman, GoodHire

Find Out How Likely the Candidate Would Refer Your Company 

One of the most important items to include in a candidate experience survey is to ask the candidate how likely they are to recommend your company to other candidates or to other people in general. Candidates who have had a negative experience with your recruiting process are unlikely to recommend your company. Of course a deeper understanding of why or at what point the candidate developed a negative opinion of the organization but asking if they would recommend your brand gives you a general overview.

Sharon Terera, Afrolovely

Inquire How the Candidate Learned About the Position

A candidate experience survey is important to understand exactly what you’re trying to accomplish with each one of your questions, as well as with the survey as a whole. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach you can take, but there is one thing that you need to ask on each candidate experience survey to determine your brand awareness.

To get insight into how a candidate feels about your brand, simply ask from which channel they heard about the position. This question will give you insight into how your brand is perceived, as well as whether or not that perception is positive or negative. If a candidate mentions multiple channels, then you’re hearing a variety of opinions about your company. 

To explore more you can ask “What made you most interested in applying for this position?” This can help you determine how you position your brand in the candidate’s mind as well as how you can better communicate it to them.

Adina David, Paperjobz

Include Recruiter Rating

One item you can include on a candidate survey is a “Rockstar Rating”. This question measures how well your recruiters are providing great candidate experiences. 

Here’s an example of this in action: “On a scale of 1 to 5, which of the following would best describe your recruiter overall?” 

5 – “My recruiter was the best I’ve ever worked with! They really went above and beyond.”
4 – “My recruiter was great! They were helpful and responsive.”
3 – “My recruiter was okay, but they could have been more helpful and/or responsive.”
2 – “My recruiter was not great. They seemed inexperienced and/or might need coaching.”
1 – “My recruiter should not be recruiting.” 

In addition to evaluating candidate experience, this question can also be a morale boost. Recruiters who often achieve high ratings will take pride in being “the best recruiter their candidates have worked with.”

Preston Sharpston, Parallel

Ask If the Candidate Felt Comfortable Asking Questions

One item to include in your candidate experience survey is a question on whether the candidate felt like they were able to ask questions during the process. It’s important for candidates to feel like they can ask questions about your company, its culture, and the role you’re hiring for. This can help them decide if it’s a good fit for them, which is important for both their happiness and yours!

Anup Kayastha, HeightComparison


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