Attracting and earning the commitment of high potential talent is essential for growth and driving results is an ongoing challenge. In fact, over half of leaders share that it's the greatest challenge for the future of their business. While around three-quarters of talent acquisition budgets are spent on job boards and hiring technology only a quarter for solutions that strategically seek to improve the candidate experience.
One simple, low-cost, and powerful process we recommend that gauges and improves the candidate experience is gathering feedback with candidate experience surveys. By actively seeking feedback from candidates, we gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of their recruiting processes and make data-driven improvements. Specifically, our work with organizations to gather candidate feedback has contributed to:
- Candidate completion rates increasing by as much as 13%
- Reductions in time-to-hire by over a third
Here we will explore the benefits of candidate experience surveys and provide practical tips for successfully implementing them in your organization.
Hiring is a Two-Way Street: The Importance of Candidate Experience Surveys
Candidate experience surveys are structured questionnaires or assessments built to gather feedback from candidates about their recruitment journey. Think about your candidate pool. How accurately do you understand the thoughts, intentions, and experience of candidates who declined an offer, left the process early, or were declined? Because candidate surveys are relatively low cost but high reward they play a vital role in understanding candidate perspectives, expectations, and pain points throughout the hiring process. What are some easy wins from candidate surveys?
Feedback for Improvement: Surveys provide HR professionals with direct feedback from candidates, enabling them to identify areas of improvement in the recruitment process, including communication, transparency, and efficiency. Ongoing surveys increase accountability across all stakeholders contributing to the candidate experience
Boosting General Employer Brand Awareness: Nearly 90 percent of people say their attitudes and intentions towards a brand are strongly influenced by their experience as an applicant. The candidate you decline today could be an ideal hire for a new role. By actively soliciting feedback from candidates and taking action to address their concerns, you showcase your dedication to providing a positive candidate - and employee - experience. This level of commitment not only strengthens their employer brand and attracts high-caliber talent, but also leads to an increase in candidate referrals.
Data-Driven Decision Making: Surveys capture valuable data that can be analyzed to make data-driven decisions and improvements to the recruiting processes, resulting in a more streamlined and effective hiring strategy. As HR budgets must devote the majority of resources to technology, candidate experience surveys can highlight how that technology is contributing to key results. While one-off emails and conversations with former candidates, now employees, are useful, you're only seeing part of the candidate pool (usually those you hired).
Maximizing the Benefits of Candidate Experience Surveys: Implementation
For maximum benefit from your surveys, be sure to plan accordingly from design to implementation. Consider the following when defining your survey process:
Survey Design: Design surveys with a mix of closed-ended questions (multiple-choice or rating scales) and open-ended questions to capture the candidate's experience both qualitatively and quantitatively. Keep the survey concise, ensuring candidates can complete it easily and in a reasonable timeframe.
Timing and Channels: Determine the optimal time to administer the survey. Administering it right after the hiring process concludes or after onboarding can gather timely and precise feedback. Select suitable channels for survey distribution, such as email, your applicant tracking system, or even text messaging, taking into account the preferences of your target candidate pool.
Trust and Confidentiality: Assure candidates that their feedback will remain confidential to encourage honest and open responses. This confidentiality builds trust and encourages candidates to share their experiences candidly. We often provide the opportunity for participants to share their contact information in a separate survey they can access at the end if they would like to be share more information.
Follow-up communication: Building a connection and your talent pipeline. After candidates complete the survey, acknowledge their feedback. This is also a fantastic opportunity to strengthen your talent network. Capitalize on this opportunity and ask candidates you didn't hire if they would like to stay connected and aware of new opportunities.
Continuous Improvement: Regularly review survey results and analyze the data to identify trends, patterns, and areas of improvement. Use the insights gained to implement changes in the recruitment process, communication strategies, or candidate engagement initiatives.
Maximizing the Benefits of Candidate Experience Surveys: Closing the Loop
First, consider communicate survey results and improvements to stakeholders. This could include recently hired employees, operators, hiring managers, and the broader HR or people team. This is an opportunity , showcasing how their feedback has led to positive changes. This not only demonstrates transparency but also reinforces the organization's commitment to candidate satisfaction. Even better, connect your improvements and the survey process to aspects of your culture and intended employee experience strengthening perceptions that your organization lives and follows through on its promises.
In addition to maximizing the survey internally, there are a plethora of ways to apply candidate feedback across recruitment:
Sharing Success Stories: Highlight positive candidate experiences and testimonials in your employer branding efforts. Sharing these success stories can attract top talent and strengthen the organization's reputation as an employer of choice. We've partnered with organizations to guide focus groups and surveys gathering both perceptions of the hiring process as well as onboarding and early on in their journey. Testimonials don't just tell but show candidates what they can expect before they are hired and beyond: particularly within the first few months of employment.
Benchmarking and Comparison: Compare your candidate survey results with industry benchmarks or previous survey data to gain a better understanding of your organization's performance and identify areas that need attention or improvement. We collaborate with leaders to compare candidate and employee feedback over time and normatively within or across industries.
Employee Referrals: Use positive energy around the survey process and candidate experience to encourage referrals. Candidates who declined an offer may know other high potential candidates and can be encouraged to share their experiences. The survey and post-survey communications are an ideal time to encourage employees who had a positive experience to refer other potential candidates. Consider implementing an employee referral program, or see if there are ways to improve upon the current program, to incentivize current employees to recommend qualified individuals.
Is reality what you think it is? Building a remarkable experience.
Is the candidate experience you think you have the one your candidates experience?
Implementing candidate experience surveys gives HR professionals the power to proactively assess and enhance their recruitment process. By seeking feedback from candidates, organizations can make smart improvements, strengthen their employer brand, and attract top-notch talent. Let's not forget that candidate experience surveys should be an ongoing thing, evolving with the ever-changing expectations of candidates and the needs of your team. By putting candidate feedback first, organizations can create a remarkable candidate experience that leads to thriving employees and greater success.