Can a company ask job candidates - even those who didn't get an offer - to provide feedback about their hiring process? Yes. Here's how.
As an organization, employer brand should be top of mind. The candidate journey can determine applicant quality and quantity and ultimately, have a lasting impact on your ability to hire in today's talent market. To that end, candidate feedback is an important part of truly understanding where opportunities for improvement and differentiation can be found in the hiring process.
Many organizations struggle to effectively obtain feedback on the recruiting process from candidates. While candidate feedback is one of the best ways to get an assessment, it can be difficult to ask a job seeker, particularly one who didn't receive an offer, to share their experience of the company with you.
Candidate Feedback Surveys
Though the idea may make some recruiters uncomfortable, sending candidate feedback surveys to job seekers is a fairly easy process for a business of any size. The surveys are typically emailed to candidates once they've finished the interview process, and the questions will vary depending on how far the applicant went into the hiring process.
For candidates who didn't make it past an initial interview, a survey may include questions such as:
- How would you rate the effectiveness of the job description?
- How welcome did you feel when you arrived for your interview?
- How clearly did our recruiter explain the steps of the hiring process and details of the job?
For candidates who made it further, including new hires, the survey can be expanded to include more open-ended questions, such as:
- Were the job description and expectations consistent throughout the process?
- How would you improve our hiring process?
It's important that these surveys remain anonymous. When choosing a survey service or creating your own, ensure there are robust privacy features in place and make it clear to all surveyed that identities will be protected.
Candidate feedback surveys often encounter some unavoidable challenges. It can be difficult to get a representative cross section of responses, as responses are voluntary and the personal drivers for completing a survey will vary from person to person. Also, unbiased replies are tough to come by. Candidates who didn't receive an offer may be overly critical and new hires may be unlikely to criticize their new employer, even if they're assured the answers are anonymous.
It's important to cross-reference any information obtained from surveys with your internal hiring metrics. For example, are you seeing significant candidate dropout at the application stage? Perhaps the online application process is too long or complicated. Are candidates declining or ghosting second interview? There may be an issue with your hiring managers and/or your interview process. It could also be an indication that job descriptions aren't accurate and candidates are not a good match for the role. By analyzing this type of data, you may be able to counteract some of the bias inherently found in candidate feedback surveys.
To refine your process, collecting data isn't enough. It's important to take a candidate's view of the process and to be honest about what you see. Be open to the feedback and making necessary changes. Include stakeholders in the process and consider instituting a formal review process at specific points during the year to ensure continual review and discussions. Candidate needs change over time. As an organization, it's important that the hiring process evolve to meet those changes to support a positive candidate experience, benefiting your employment brand initiatives by ultimately hiring better candidates.
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