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Candidate Experience Program

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About the Candidate Experience Program

The EmployeeXM Candidate Experience Program allows you to continuously measure and act on candidate feedback across recruiting touchpoints by providing you with expert-designed and pre-built components. It’s best used for:

  • Understanding the key stages of the talent acquisition process: the career site experience, application experience, screening experience, interview experience, and offer experience.
  • Uncovering key experience gaps to better understand candidate behavior.
  • Identify which recruiter actions or process changes drive a better candidate experience, reduce time to hire, and reduce cost per hire.
  • Learning what attracts top talent to your organization and what they’re looking for in a new role.

This program consists of four pre-built surveys, one dashboard, and an optional Website / App Feedback project.

Candidate Experience Programs leverage a specific combination of features and functionality, which we will walk you through below.

Managing Your EmployeeXM Program

Your implementation consultant will create the EmployeeXM Candidate Experience Program and collaborate with you to optimize it for your needs. Once your implementation consultant is finished creating this program, it can be found any time on the Projects page of your account.

Candidate experience project on projects page

When you click the program’s name, you’ll find yourself on a page with the various resources we have developed to help you run your Candidate Program.

Image of the program with no data; left is a list of projects, right are a series of empty graphs

Several resources are included, which you’ll see listed on the left under “Projects.” These include:

  1. Pre-built surveys that focus on candidate experience.
  2. A dashboard built to connect the data from these surveys. Just start collecting data, and this will automatically populate.
  3. Your implementation specialist may also add a Website & App Feedback project, which is used to display one of these surveys in your website. Note that this is optional based on program needs.
Qtip: You can add and remove projects from this program.

In the center is a watchlist. This is a helpful place to keep track of response rates and click through rates without looking into individual resources.

To learn more about generally navigating a program and adjusting the watchlist reports, see the Programs support page.

Qtip: You can share this program with other users in your Qualtrics license.


Your solution will include four to five surveys, each representing a different “stage” of the candidate’s journey. They are as follows:

  1. Investigate: The career site experience. Optional, used in conjunction with a Website / App Feedback project.
  2. Apply: The application experience.
  3. Evaluate: The screening experience.
  4. Dialogue: The interview experience.
  5. Close: The offer experience.

Your implementation consultant will take care of much of the heavy-lifting when it comes to survey setup and customization. However, we’ve compiled a few resources to help you with common changes you may want to make later.

Attention: Do not edit or remove any of the preconfigured branches or embedded data in the surveys! If you do, this could negatively affect your data reporting. Embedded data naming in the survey flow must match the naming in automations, journey stages, and Website Feedback logic (if applicable).
Image of embedded data and branch logic configured in the survey flow

Make sure you preview your survey edits before you publish them. Always publish your surveys when you’re done editing them – this includes edits made to already live surveys.

Qtip:  We recommend making sure all your surveys are finalized before you launch a program. For a guide to what edits are safe to make to surveys that have already collected data, see Testing/Editing Active Surveys.

Tracking the Candidate’s Journey

When implementing your program, you and your implementation consultant will have worked out a way to label candidates so you can better track their journey. This label should be defined automatically from your Applicant Tracking System. Every Applicant Tracking System is slightly different, but our solution has been built around stages that should be common to the vast majority. Labelling helps both in the set up of contact automations and when reporting data in dashboards.

Example: Every candidate has a “Stage” and a “Status.” Someone finished with interviews who is going to be hired might have a Stage of “Offer” (to indicate an offer has been made) and a Status of “Hired” once they respond in the affirmative.

As candidates progress into different phases of their journey, their stage and status will change. This change will be used to qualify them for the appropriate survey and act as a trigger for distribution.

For more on how this is set up in Qualtrics, see Defining an Experience Journey. For its impact on survey design, see Configuring Dashboard Data for Journeys.

Distribution of Candidate Experience Surveys

The surveys included in this program will generally be distributed through a couple types of automations in XM Directory. These automations include transactional data, a method that can track key changes to recipient information over time.

Transactional Data in Directory Automations

Transactional data is used to store contact information in XM Directory in a different way than embedded data. In the context of this program, it is a way to store the relevant candidate fields as individual interactions on the same contact rather than overwriting the embedded data on the contact each time the contact is updated.

There will generally be one contact import automation for the whole program and a distribution automation for each survey. Each of these distribution automations should be linked to the contact import automation. One automation cannot be set up without the others because the transactional data that’s passed through the contact import automation will not be saved in the survey data otherwise.

Image of the automation's settings, where you link distributions

Qtip: Make sure the recipients in each distribution automation are filtered to match the criteria of their given survey. For example, a candidate being invited to apply may have a stage of “Review” and a status of “Active.” When troubleshooting, you’ll want to review the agreed upon stages of the candidate journey.

Image of logic that says, which contacts receive the survey invitation? Only send to contacts in which all of the following is true: transaction data candidate stage is equal to review, and transaction data candidate status is equal to active

Qtip: When choosing what files to process in contact import automations, you want to target files that only show those candidates who have changed since the last automation was run. Usually, there will be a field added by your implementation consultant that records this status.
Qtip: Embedded data naming in the survey flow must match the naming in automations, journey stages, and Website Feedback logic (if applicable). We do not advise changing embedded data in a program that is actively collecting responses.


How often should candidates be contacted? Let’s imagine a single candidate applies to 5 jobs in one day. Should they receive a single Apply survey invitation, or should they receive 5? What if that same candidate applies to a job a month later? Should they receive another survey invitation about their application experience? You can customize these settings by creating Custom Rules in the XM Directory.

Our recommendation is to set some contact frequency parameters by stage:

  • Post-Application: Apply contact frequency rules so you only get one post application survey every 90 days (regardless of how many roles you apply for). Note that the 90 day rule can be extended/shortened.
  • Post-Screening: Our default recommendation is to not apply contact frequency rules, meaning a survey is deployed for every candidate that passes post-screening for every role. Some organizations may prefer to apply contact frequency rules so there is only one post-screening survey every 90 days.
  • Post-Interview: We do not recommend applying contact frequency rules. Each interview experience will be different so it’s important to collect feedback on all of them, and candidates are additionally unlikely to receive a high-volume of these. Note – our standard solution includes one touchpoint at the end of the interview phase rather than after every interview.
  • Post-Offer: We do not recommend applying contact frequency rules. Each offer experience could be different so important to collect each one. It is very unlikely for candidates to receive high-volume of these in a given period.
Example: In the screenshot below, a candidate can be sent each survey once every 6 months, or 180 days.
Image that shows each of the surveys has a contact frequency rule set so they can only be sent distributions once every 180 days

Keep in mind how you’ve chosen to track the candidate’s journey. Does each application submitted create a net-new candidate ID in the system, or does the system consolidate each candidate’s information, storing all job applications under one candidate ID and differentiating applications by a job ID? Answers to these questions may impact the settings of your contact frequency.

Website Feedback

Qtip: Not all Candidate Experience Programs will incorporate this functionality, depending on the needs of your organization and the capabilities of your career website.

If your organization has an employee career site to leverage for feedback, this can be incorporated into your larger EmployeeXM Candidate Experience Program. Your implementation consultant will take care of much of the setup, but you will need to be in contact with your organization’s web development team in order to deploy the code to your website.

It is worth noting that experience feedback collected on the career site will be anonymous – that is, user data will not be tracked and will not be able to link to subsequent touch-points in the candidate experience.

This section contains key resources divided by user intent: those looking to edit a Website Feedback project (the appearance and behavior of the digital touchpoint), and those in web development positions looking to implement the code. More resources can be found if you search this site.

Resources for Customizing the Website Feedback Experience

Additional resources and advanced options:

Resources for Web Developers

Qtip: If possible, we recommend testing project code on the staging version of your website before pushing changes to production.


Premade Dashboard

Our EX Product Science team has developed a dashboard template for this program. This dashboard is designed to quickly allow recruitment teams and leaders to understand their top priorities to have the most positive impact on their candidate experience. It will be is ready to share as soon as you have collected data.

When you’re ready, this dashboard can be found in your program’s project list.

Image of candidate experience program; dashboard selected to left

Qtip: This dashboard will not generate charts and tables until you collect data. Try completing one or more of the surveys through the preview button if you want to test what these dashboards look like with data. Remember you can always delete preview data later.
Qtip: Line charts may appear as a single point until you collect multiple weeks worth of data. This is because they are displaying trends over time, and don’t have enough data to display a trend yet.

Dashboard Editing

Qtip: The pre-made dashboard was developed by our top subject matter experts. We advise trying to keep your dashboard as similar to the original template as possible, and not making too many large-scale changes.

Check out these introductory pages to get started.

Qtip: Once you’ve uploaded all your dashboard users, you can easily send many / all users their login credentials.

Features Included with the Candidate Experience Dashboard

Image of a journey widget

The Candidate Experience dashboard was built to best support the candidate use case. It is modeled off our CX Dashboard technology, which differs from the dashboards you might find in EX projects, such as Lifecycle or Engagement. As such, the support resources we link below link to CX Dashboard documentation, which will cover the Candidate Experience dashboard as well.

Dashboard settings:


Qtip: Any widget displaying a percentage or a favorability score is configured using top box / bottom box metrics to display data. Favorable scores are those with a response value of 4-5. This is displayed as the box range.
Qtip: When widgets display data based upon the candidate’s stage, or if they were successful vs. unsuccessful, there will be a filter configured in the Top Box / Bottom Box metric. For example, on the “Stage 3 – Evaluate” page, for candidates screened out the metric is configured as shown in the image below.
Image of top/bottom box
Qtip: If fields are renamed (such as in the survey flow or action set logic), the metric filters will likely need to be reconfigured in the dashboard.


Qtip: Page filters are locked for pages that are supposed to only show data from a single survey. There is one page configured that is specific to each data source.