5 Ways to Use Candidate Feedback for Talent Acquisition

Guest ContributorBy Guest Contributor
February 14th, 2024 • 6 Minutes

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In a resilient job market with remarkably low unemployment rates, recruiters find themselves constantly working to foster a positive candidate experience. Despite reports of mass layoffs in prominent companies like eBay and Spotify, job seekers are standing firm in their high expectations from potential employers.

A 2023 Jobvite study discovered that 58% of job seekers feel empowered by the current market, and over half of survey respondents believe that finding a new role is easy. While it might be tempting to kick back and not tweak your hiring process, it’s crucial to understand that candidates still feel like they’re in control. Organizations need to improve their hiring strategies to meet these heightened expectations. But with a flood of stats, info and HR studies, recruitment teams may not even know where to begin.

The best way to give your recruiting process a boost is by getting insights straight from the horse’s mouththe job applicants themselves. Sure, internal hiring teams have their feedback loops, but many talent acquisition teams forget to tap into the end user’s perspectivethe candidate.

If your team isn’t already reaching out to candidates after each hiring cycle, it’s time to leverage candidate feedback to improve your hiring program. Fresh insights from new job seekers can provide valuable inputs by helping your team develop a more effective recruitment program. That way, you can attract the best candidates for your organization.

Forget the guessing game. Backed by compelling data and research, we’ve outlined the critical reasons why candidate feedback is your missing piece in the talent acquisition puzzle. Dive deeper and explore 4 data-driven strategies to leverage applicant insights and boost your hiring program to new heights.

Why Candidate Feedback Matters

Common candidate frustrations like vague status updates, generic rejection messages and ghosting are dealbreakers in today’s talent war. And job seekers are looking for high-quality candidate experiences that set your company apart. But well-intentioned recruiting steps can actually worsen the hiring process: candidate projects, lengthy interview processes and panel interviews are just some of the least popular aspects among candidates.

The good news? You can unlock the secrets of a smoother process with candidate feedback. By gathering detailed insights specific to your organization, you’ll uncover recurring roadblocks and patterns in the data. Tailor your recruitment strategy to meet your people’s needs and watch top talent flock in while protecting your employer brand.

5 Ways You Can Improve Your Recruitment Experience with Candidate Feedback

1. Simplify Your Application Process

It’s no secret that the hiring process is getting more complicated. Average time to hire rates have hit an all-time high, according to an industry report from HR firms The Josh Bersin Company and AMS. It now takes companies an average of 44 days to fill an open position in 2023. And the trend doesn’t seem like it’s slowing down anytime soon. 

If your candidates have to re-enter their entire work history or go through six rounds of interviews, it’s time to rethink your recruitment process. Instead of adding more unnecessary steps, talk to your applicants. Find out what parts of the process are most time-consuming and how your team could improve these steps. You can even take it a step further by asking them what steps or tasks they’d actually like to see in the process instead.

2. Integrate with Your ATS

Integrating your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) with candidate feedback mechanisms streamlines the recruitment process and enriches your data. This synergy allows for a more personalized approach, ensuring that each candidate’s journey through your hiring funnel is monitored and optimized for efficiency and satisfaction.

“Talent feedback offers perspective into your hiring process but a deeper understanding comes from combining feedback with operational data from the ATS. Merging these data sets enables organizations to pinpoint specific problems and optimize people, processes and technologies. Asking for feedback automatically at each step of the recruiting process minimizes negative Glassdoor reviews and ultimately allows organizations to foster a more satisfying talent acquisition journey,” said Jason Moreau, CEO of Survale.

Leveraging this integration not only enhances candidate experience but also provides your team with actionable insights to continuously refine your talent acquisition strategies.

3. Enhance Communication and Transparency

Good communication is vital, especially in the recruitment industry. Inaccurate job descriptions, long wait times and unprepared interviewers can leave job seekers feeling disrespected. A subpar hiring process may make applicants rethink working at your company and negative candidate experiences shared on social media can even damage your employer brand.

In fact, a 2023 industry report by Criteria Corp. noted that 54% of candidates have abandoned a recruitment process due to poor communication from the recruiter/employer. The good news is these issues are fixable; you just need to identify where your recruitment program needs improvement.

Not sure how to pinpoint those areas? Simply ask your candidates post-interview. Collect as much data as possible to uncover trends and commonalities. Here are some sample survey questions you can use when gathering candidate feedback:

  • How well did we convey the details of the job role and what was expected of you throughout the hiring process?
  • Thinking back on different stages of our hiring process, how would you rate the speed of our communication?
  • Did you feel like our interviewers properly understood your background?
  • Were there specific ways we communicated with you (like emails, calls, or video interviews) that you found more effective or that we could improve?
  • After your interviews, did you feel like you had enough information or support about the next steps and the overall timeline?

4. Improve Your Employer Branding

Attracting top talent starts with strong employer branding, but a messy candidate experience can send them running before they even finish applying. Think of it like a first date—job seekers judge their potential work life based on how you treat them during the hiring process. If you don’t impress them early on, they might assume you won’t invest in them later.

A bad experience hurts more than just your reputation. It also shrinks your applicant pool! According to the Talent Board, candidates who have negative experiences are 185% less likely to recommend your company to others.

To strengthen your employer brand through recruitment, focus on asking questions that reveal how your current hiring process has shaped candidates’ perceptions of your organization. Here are a few sample questions to get you started:

  • Were there specific moments in the recruitment journey where you felt a strong connection to our company values, or conversely, encountered challenges aligning with them?
  • How would you describe the level of personalization in your interactions with our team and how did that contribute to your overall experience?
  • Do you have any recommendations on how we can better communicate our company culture and values during the hiring process?

5. Give (And Get) Constructive Insights

While you can only pick one best-fit candidate for a role, the differences between your chosen candidate and the runner-up can be incredibly subtle. However, many potential hires, especially those in the final rounds, could be a great fit for future roles in your organization. That’s why providing post-interview feedback, especially to candidates no longer in the running, is important.

Providing interview feedback helps candidates understand their strengths and areas for improvement, giving them the chance to perform better in future interviews. It also enhances a candidate’s perception of your company, even in the face of rejection. It shows that your company cares about candidates’ career development, even if they aren’t currently part of your team. 

When you share interview feedback, passed-on candidates may even choose to re-apply for future open roles at your company because of it! A 2022 LinkedIn study found that 52% of candidates who were given feedback were more likely to continue a relationship with the company. Offering constructive criticism also means that you’re more likely to receive valuable, impactful candidate feedback that can genuinely improve your recruitment program.

Concerns about legal risks lead many companies to withhold feedback. If you choose to provide feedback, you can mitigate risks by delivering careful, neutral observations over the phone.

Prefer not to provide feedback, but want to avoid ghosting candidates? Send a genuine rejection note instead. It takes a minute but makes a world of difference. When messaging finalists, add a personal touch to show you appreciate their time. If you’d like, you can also ask if they’d like to be considered for future opportunities. And always thank everyone for their effort!

Use Innovative TA Technology Solutions to Gather Candidate Feedback

Good enough just doesn’t cut it in today’s talent market. If you want to attract top-tier talent, you need to build a powerful, data-driven recruitment program. But how do you get there? The answer lies in harnessing the untapped power of candidate feedback.

With the right TA tech solution, you can experience the ease of gathering insightful candidate feedback, creating better hiring processes and landing the top talent you deserve. Discover the best candidate feedback technology solutions in our all-inclusive marketplace. Consider it an investment for your future recruitment needs, keeping your company ahead of the curve. Happy hiring!

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