Top candidate experience survey questions to ask

Last updated:
May 31, 2021
June 1, 2023
min read
Sim Samra
candidate experience survey
Table of contents

Don’t overlook why every positive candidate experience is so important; it’s not just about filling vacancies, but protecting your business, saving money, and fine-tuning your business by gathering reliable data.

With those issues in mind, we’re looking into candidate experience survey examples, the right questions to ask, and what you should do with all that data.

Can you believe that 75% all candidates said they don’t receive notice of a final decision?

What happened to common courtesy? Well, it looks like, for many, it disappeared to take a new job, dragging your brand through the mud and eating into your profits.

Poor candidate experience leads to distrust of your brand

Look at this figure that backs up our claim: 72% of job seekers share a poor interview experience on social media.

They’ll also be sure to tell their family and friends. Brand dissatisfaction leads to falling sales figures. Customers are loyal to their beliefs. If they believe you’re a bad bet, or you’ve mistreated someone important to them, then they’ll choose your competitors over you for future purchases or investments.

That might not seem like it will affect you, but read on, and you’ll see just how easily it could.

Candidate experience leads to sales losses

Virgin Records found that they were losing $5million each year due to the impact of their flawed hiring process. $5 million each year. That’s a big ouch in anybody’s book.

What were they doing so wrong that caused such an impact? Well, poor communication, unexpected waiting times, interruptive interviewers, and a lack of follow-up support or inclusion.

How does a business find out about all of those things? With a candidate experience survey, of course.

Why create a candidate experience survey for your business?

  • Capture the best qualities of your candidates.
  • Avoid falling into traps that you aren’t aware of.
  • Become more self-aware of your business and its operation.
  • Gather anonymous feedback about your hiring process.
  • Identify the areas that need the most improvement.
  • Boost your brand by giving something back.

The best candidate experience survey questions will help you gather insight into what you’re doing well and what you’re getting wrong. You can use that information to make your hiring process more efficient, kinder to your applicants, and to achieve much more from them during interviews.

You could so easily be missing the most vital details, the ones that make your applicants perfect for the job. With fresh eyes unveiling the areas you didn’t know you were performing poorly in, you have an opportunity to uncover unseen weak spots and put them all straight.

How and when to carry out your candidate experience surveys

Understanding what to ask is only part of the process. Knowing when to send the candidate experience survey is equally important.

Make sure your candidates are prepared to receive your surveys. Deliver a clear statement right at the top of the process to make them aware that you’ll be asking for their help. Informing candidates that you want to gather information about your process anonymously will give you the best chance to receive unbiased information and hopefully get the responses you need.

Pre-interview survey

Sending out a survey to all candidates, even before the interview process, provides an opportunity to learn how your applicants perceive your brand.

It's an excellent opportunity to measure your marketing and advertising, finding out how accurate your job descriptions are, and what information was missing according to your candidates.

Post-interview survey

This is the prime time to learn about your interview process. You can learn so much about their first impressions of the business, the areas that candidates considered well managed, and those missing or poorly delivered.

Were instructions clear? Is the information easy to digest? Were your candidates looked after? Did they feel comfortable, confused, included, or belittled?

Final-stage survey

A survey at this point helps to confirm communication issues and strengths, delivery of detailed information, consistency of information, and input into the elements you missed that they expected to see.

New hires survey

This is tricky, as there’s a strong chance that all of the information provided here will be biased towards the company. Any new hire won’t want to risk rocking the boat, even if they’re assured that the surveys are anonymous.

However, it’s worth following up all the same. Ask how their expectations were matched. Is the role what they expected? And how could the business help other new employees in the future?

Failed candidate survey

You’d expect most failed candidates to dump your surveys straight in the bin, but the information provided by those who don’t can highlight a lot of key areas that they perhaps won’t have dared to approach during the interview process.

It pays to be prepared for some angry and bitter responses, but take them seriously, all the same. There could be truths and revelations that you need to hear.

Designing your candidate experience survey template

  • Questionnaires need to be anonymous.
  • Use the best software option for your business—to deliver your survey.
  • Keep everything short and sweet.
  • Create easy to answer, 1-click, sliding scale questions as well as a small selection of open-ended input boxes for areas where you want the most detail.
  • Don’t settle for a poor to excellent scale—would it be better to provide detailed options for replies to specific questions?
  • Dig into details about the areas you’re most concerned with, but create a simple system that doesn’t expect your applicants too much.
  • Can you offer an incentive to complete your surveys? People don’t always carry out their actions to be altruistic. Everyone loves something for free. It can boost their opinion of your brand too. Can you offer a company product, voucher, or freebie for any applicant who completes all stages of your surveys?

What do you need to know?

The key areas of questioning where you can gather data from are:

  • Candidate satisfaction at every stage
  • The strengths and weaknesses of your hiring process
  • Differences in information and detail, from stage to stage, and between departments
  • How you can improve your candidate experience

Okay, so what are the prime candidate experience survey questions that you should be asking? There are plenty of obvious things we all expect, but are you missing a trick—or even leading your candidates to boost your business-ego?

Instead, you should be using this as a platform to make real change for the better.

  • What position did you interview for?
  • How did you find the interview process?
  • How did our communication live up to your expectations?
  • How clear was the information about all aspects of the role?
  • Was the business brand consistent throughout the process?
  • Were recruiters professional, polite, and friendly?
  • Did we answer all of your questions?
  • How informative was our career site/job pages?
  • Would they recommend the company to other applicants?

Measuring your candidate experience results and data

Some areas of your surveys will speak for themselves, and with others, you’ll have to pay close attention to spot tell-tale patterns that unveil previously unseen issues.

Speaking of spotting patterns, you should cross-reference the data from your surveys with other sources of feedback. You should already be scanning the job pages, review sites, and social media for comments about your interview process, your hiring team, and your business brand’s recruitment system as a whole.

None of your data is worth much if you don’t do anything with it

The most important part of gathering data is how you use the results to change the way you work.

Identifying your strengths gives you a platform to deliver more of the same through different departments. Finding out where you fall short creates opportunities to fix the flaws in your system.

Revamping all of your existing systems should be an on-going practice. Improving marketing, communication, delivery, engagement, and everything in-between areas can always be improved upon and should be. Creating a positive candidate experience is a goal that should keep evolving.


Each one of these areas can help your business performance—and that’s before you’ve even started to implement the changes you now know are so necessary.

The data you earn from your candidate experience surveys offer a wealth of information to your hiring team and within your business handling.

Don’t miss out on such a valuable opportunity to boost performance, confidence, sales, and of course, to spread the love, your business brand will thrive on.

Relevant: How to conduct an employer brand audit

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