Why now is the ideal time to introduce candidate experience surveys into your recruitment strategy

Nov 10, 2020 | Candidate Experience

ideal time to introduce candidate experience surveys

The UK unemployment rate is 4.8% (at the time of writing) and redundancies have hit a record high. Meaning around 1.62 million people are currently out of work. And research from King’s Business School suggests 16.6 million more jobs are potentially at risk. So if you’re currently hiring it’s no surprise that you’re being inundated by CVs, connection requests and direct approaches.

With more applicants to review than you ever imagined, recruitment must feel all consuming. And you’d be forgiven for cursing when I suggest adding another task to your recruitment process – candidate experience surveys.

Candidate experience surveys are sent to job candidates to gather information and insight about the experiences they had during the recruitment process. They can be used to understand how your employer brand is perceived, what attracted them to submit an application, whether their expectations were met during the recruitment process and how the experience was from their perspective.

Here are four reasons why now is the ideal time to incorporate candidate experience surveys in your recruitment process.

1. More applications = more data

The sheer volume of candidates currently researching your company and choosing to apply for your roles mean your employer brand has never been under such scrutiny. Use this to your advantage.

The breadth of different expectations and experiences is going to allow you to see trends and themes much easier than if responses trickle in over a few months/years. Gather as much data as you can while you can. Even if you don’t think you have the time to analyse or use it right away. One day you may look back and regret not capturing it whilst you had the opportunity.

Sidenote: Yes, applying is a choice. Sure, large numbers of people are seeking their next opportunity, but they’re not all desperately applying for everything. Candidates are still being selective. They still have minimum criteria they’re judging your opportunity against – both your role and your company. Learning how you met that criteria will deliver great insights.

2. More applications = more rejections

With thousands of people applying for even entry level jobs, there have never been so many people turned down for even an interview. That’s a lot of people being exposed to, and rejected by, your company.

Across the country conversations are taking place over dinner tables, Zoom calls and social media about the experiences of these job seekers and the status of their latest applications. Candidate experience surveys can’t take away the sting of rejection, but they can give rejected candidates a safe space to air their grievances, share their disappointment and give valuable feedback. A space where you can receive it, learn from it and respond to it. This is your opportunity to change the dialogue taking place about your employer brand. To turn what could have been a negative review into a neutral, or even positive, one.

3. Shows you care about your people

By surveying, listening to and understanding your candidates, you’re showing that you care about them. That you value them and their time. That you view them as more than just a number. And if you care about your candidates’ experiences so much, one can only imagine how important your employees and their experience is to you too.

4. Even your employees can benefit

Insight generated from candidate experience surveys can have wide ranging implications. Not just on the candidate experience, but also in terms of employee experience. 

Imagine a portion of candidates expressed that they nearly didn’t apply because your benefits package isn’t as good as other jobs on the market. Great. Now you can do some research, look at the commercials and hopefully introduce changes to your employee benefits which not only attracts quality candidates for future roles, but also helps to retain existing employees. (Or, if the commercials don’t stack up, you can communicate this to your employees. Let them know it’s on your radar, that your hands are tied right now, but as soon as you can address it, you will.)

Perhaps the feedback suggests candidates are having different experiences depending upon who’s interviewing them. Taking this further and speaking to those holding the interviews, you may discover a lack of training or coaching in this area. Super. Now you know that with a little investment in this area, your candidates will have an improved, consistent, experience and your employees will feel invested in and better equipped to deliver.

‘But recruitment is already taking up so much of my time, I can’t possibly fit another task in’

Great news… candidate experience surveys don’t have to be as time consuming as you imagine. Once you’ve agreed the right questions to ask and set up the survey, then it’s all about distributing the link. (Not sure what question(s) to ask? If you’re just starting out, the Net Promoter Score method works well here)

Chances are you’re communicating with each candidate already – whether directly or through an ATS – so you can easily incorporate a link to your survey in your final offer/rejection message. No extra workload required. Alternatively, upload their details to your survey tool and send it from there.

Then sit back and watch the responses come in.

Once the position has been filled – or sooner if time allows – it’s time to look at the responses and generate some insight. What does the data tell you? What are you doing right? What opportunities for improvement are there? Then use these findings to improve future recruitment campaigns. The insight you receive really is the gift that keeps on giving. Learn once, benefit many times over.

What are you waiting for?

Once you’ve done it once, running – and learning from – candidate experience surveys will simply be part of your recruitment process. The value you receive from them will by far outweigh the effort involved. So what’s stopping you? Introduce candidate experience surveys into your recruitment strategy now and reap the rewards for years to come.

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