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The Importance of Using Candidate Experience Surveys

Gretchen Barretto

March 25, 2022

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett

From the moment candidates apply for one of your vacant roles to when you reject them or extend a job offer,  job seekers have a lot of interactions with your company. This entails a very important part of candidate experience. But first, let’s address the basics- what is candidate experience? And why is it important? 

Candidate experience is the series of interactions that a job seeker has with your company throughout the recruiting process. This includes attracting, sourcing, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding. A good candidate experience will make candidates feel like their time has been respected and that there’s transparency and clarity, regardless of the outcome. This basically means that even if the candidate isn’t hired for the job, a positive candidate experience can go a long way.

To improve your candidate experience, you need to know the efficiency of your hiring process. Recruiters are advised to do this by putting themselves in candidates’ shoes by surveying them. Surveys reveal the strengths and weaknesses in each stage of your recruitment cycle, thus, allowing you to refine and improve your recruiting strategy. They can also help you understand what candidates are looking for from their next role. Are there any benefits that you’re not offering? Are there any aspects of your work culture and ethics that aren’t coming through clearly? You’ll never know until you start asking them.

  • Why is candidate experience worth measuring? 

    Companies have been trying to learn candidates’ needs and expectations, and identify the factors that influence their experience the most. This is important for a number of reasons:

    • 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.
    • An eRecruiter survey showed that two-thirds of employers claim to care about candidate experience at every stage of the recruitment process.
    • At the same time, 57% of candidates say that companies don’t care about people who are applying for a job.
    • The experience a candidate has with a company’s hiring process ultimately impacts a candidate’s decision to accept or decline a job offer.
    • The Talent Board reports that 73% of the candidate was never asked for feedback on their experiences in the application process
    • Candidates increasingly share their experiences with others. Poor candidate experience leads to distrust of your brand. For eg: 72% of job seekers share a poor interview experience on social media. Websites like Glassdoor make the recruitment process very transparent and negative experiences will be publicly shared.
    • Nearly 60% of candidates have had a poor experience, and 72% of them shared the experience either online or with someone directly, according to Career Arc

    Certain studies also show that women and underrepresented minorities face challenges related to searching for jobs and interviewing for them that others do not. Learning about their perspective on their candidate experience can help you spot issues in your company’s interview process and identify strategies to address them

  • What does a candidate experience survey do?

    • It captures the best qualities of your candidates.
    • Helps you become more self-aware of your business and its operation.
    • Gathers anonymous feedback about your hiring process.
    • Identifies the areas that need the most improvement.
    • Boosts your brand by giving something back.
  • When do you carry out the survey?

    Make sure your candidates are informed about the 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 can ensure good chances of receiving unbiased information.

    • Pre-interview survey

    Sending out a survey to candidates, before the interview process, gives you an insight into how your applicants perceive your brand.

    This can help you measure the effectiveness of 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 helps you to understand the candidate’s experience of the interview process, their first impressions of the business, the areas that candidates considered well managed, and those missing or poorly delivered. The questions that can address areas like the clarity of instructions, how comfortable the candidates were, did they feel confused, belittled, respected, etc.

    • Final-stage survey

    This survey helps to gain an understanding of communication issues and strengths, delivery of detailed information, consistency of information and dwells further into the elements that you missed that the candidates expected to see.

    One of the most popular and easiest ways to survey candidate experience is utilizing the Net Promotor Score (NPS) method. This method has been used for years to measure the level of client experience in the field of candidate experience. It can include questions like: How willing would you be to recommend applying to company Y to other candidates on a scale of  0 to 10 (where 0 is “I strongly don’t recommend” and 10 is „I strongly recommend”)?

    The final stage can also include a 5-star rating system. impress.ai is one such AI-based recruitment automation company that includes the rating system as part of its recruitment process. The candidate also has an option to give additional feedback. Impress.ai platform also provides open-ended survey questions to capture the candidate experience.

  • Conclusion:

    And finally, none of your results and data is worth anything if you don’t use them to facilitate change in the necessary areas. Identifying your strengths gives you a platform to deliver more, and finding out where you fall short creates opportunities to fix the flaws and fill the gaps in your system.  To do this, recruiters can leverage any AI-based recruitment automation platforms such as impress.ai to capture & make sense of the candidate experience surveys. These platforms will help you identify their strengths, understand areas of improvement, and fix them. This will help to maintain a consistent & positive candidate experience throughout the recruitment process. 

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