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The candidate survey lets you customize your questions so you can collect the feedback you want from your candidates.

By following these best practices for writing survey questions, you can design a survey that encourages accurate and meaningful responses that demonstrate how the candidate experience affects your hiring goals.

Use clear language

Good survey questions avoid jargon and use simple, straightforward language that can be easily understood. This ensures the data you collect is reliable and consistent across all candidates.

Bad: The company's EVP aligned with my career aspirations.

This question uses jargon: EVP (employee value proposition) isn’t a common term. Candidates are unlikely to be familiar with it, so they may not know how to accurately answer.

Good: The reputation of [organization name] is part of why I decided to apply.

This is a clearly written question that any candidate would be able to understand and answer accurately.

Ask a specific question

Survey questions should be specific and precise. Writing a focused question ensures that candidates interpret the question only one way, which allows candidates to respond consistently.

Bad: The organization’s recruiting process is strong.

This question doesn’t address a specific aspect of the recruiting process, so you wouldn’t know whether the candidates' answers indicated that your recruiters were well informed, or the process was too slow, and so on. There’s no way to meaningfully assess responses because the question isn’t specific enough.

Good: The recruiter explained what to expect before each interview.

A better question addresses a specific aspect of the recruiting process, so respondents know exactly what to evaluate when answering.

Ask one question at a time

Asking only one question at a time is another way to ensure that candidates can answer accurately and provide you with meaningful data. It's natural to want to group two related topics, but doing so can prevent candidates from responding accurately. 

Bad: The recruiter knew a lot about the company and the job opening.

How should a candidate answer if the recruiter knew a lot about the company, but not about the job opening? It may be difficult to determine which aspect of your hiring process needs to be improved when your question includes more than one topic.

Good: Instead, break the question into two separate questions that can be answered individually:

  • The recruiter knew a lot about the company
  • The recruiter knew a lot about the job opening

Here, it's clear what the candidate is evaluating, making your data easier to interpret.

Ensure questions are relevant to all respondents

If candidates encounter a question that doesn’t apply to them, they may be tempted to choose a random answer that would then dilute other candidates’ valid responses.

To ensure you’re collecting reliable and meaningful data, ensure that all survey questions are relevant to your survey audience.

Bad: My recruiter was knowledgeable about programming languages.

This question is unlikely to be relevant to everyone who receives a survey, unless you’ve narrowed your audience so every single job opening and recruitment process is related to programming languages.

Good: My recruiter was knowledgeable about the job’s responsibilities.

A more general question is more likely to be relevant to all survey respondents.

Additional resources

For more help writing strong survey questions, check out our Sample survey questions.