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We all know the buzzing recruitment saying: it's a candidates' market. Organizations worldwide have been working on finding ways to make their hiring style and company culture appetizing to the talent of their dreams.

In turn, this means that many companies have started focusing more and more on Candidate Experience; this is something that can be done, for starters, by gathering candidate feedback. As they send out surveys to their job applicants, these companies can get their hands on data concerning how their candidates perceive their hiring process. TA teams can thus unveil strategies to build the perfect employer brand and attract the industry's creme de la creme.

We'll dive into anonymous Candidate Experience feedback's pros and cons, but first, we'll quickly touch upon what Candidate Experience surveys are and what gathering feedback through them entails.

What is a Candidate Experience Survey?

Simply put, recruitment professionals use Candidate Experience surveys to gather data on their organization's recruitment process and how it's perceived by their job applicants. This way, they can optimize their strategy and make improvements to provide their potential talent with the best experience possible.

If you are a TA manager in the middle of a hiring spree, use online software or a well-designed web app to streamline this process.

The pressing question, however, is about anonymous Candidate Experience feedback and its efficiency. We'll attempt to convey the whole picture and share everything you need to know. 

Anonymous Surveys? Should you go for it?

An anonymous survey is done without the candidate revealing their names on the survey form. Anonymous Candidate Experience feedback is quickly becoming an industry norm for its various advantages. 


Some job applicants are uncomfortable with directness and, as a result, they end up sugarcoating their feedback. However, you will receive genuine feedback when you create a sense of psychological safety. That's why anonymous surveys are often more honest. Your job applicants won't feel threatened or worry about the repercussions of the survey they're filling in. Honest feedback provides the company with precious data. 

Feedback anonymity also reduces the risk of bias from the Talent Acquisition team's side. However, some feedback might still be ignored based on preconceived notions the recruiters might have about a candidate. Cherry-picking can make the feedback process futile.

Anonymous Candidate Experience feedback is constructive when it comes to new hires. You want a newcomer to feel welcomed into a company, and putting a spotlight on them could result in a pacified, watered-down response.  


The point of a survey is to drive results from the replies. Proper optimization could, on some occasions, require further feedback from the candidate. This is impossible without knowing the identity of the respondents. 

The candidate's identity could also allow TA professionals to course-correct with them personally, share feedback, or thank them.

However, there is a loophole to this problem; using anonymous Candidate Experience feedback applications like Starred. Our platform allows you to contact anonymous respondents from their platform’s built-in reply features without revealing the identity of your anonymous respondents. 

Non-Anonymous Survey

As the name suggests, these are feedback processes linked to the identity of the individuals. Many companies demand a non-anonymous survey to keep records or conduct one-on-one with the candidates later. 


The most apparent advantage is the ability to reach the person directly to provide validations, gratitude, or clarifications. 

This could be a good way for rejected candidates to fill in surveys. The process allows you to protect your company’s reputation and reason with a candidate in case of harsh feedback. This step could be considered “damage-control” before they share their opinions with friends, family, other candidates, or online platforms. At Starred, we have a fire-fight feature that does just that: it lets you reach out to candidates who shared poor feedback to mitigate the risks.


Unlike anonymous Candidate Experience feedback, sharing honest feedback when one's name is apparent can be scary. This is due to the fear of being judged, losing a job because of their feedback, or being mocked for their opinions. These are mental and emotional references that a TA professional must be aware of.  

The workaround to this pitfall is a simple mention of the purpose of this feedback. Explain to the candidates that honest feedback is appreciated, and these surveys are purely for quality assurance and the betterment of the hiring process. 

The Middle Ground

The correct way to conduct a survey boils down to the presentation. For starters, having neutral questions with a simple rating system can encourage honest feedback. This approach is better than asking for long-form answers. 

An alternative can be found in the “opt-in or opt-out method.” As you can see in the picture below, you could default your survey to non-anonymous, and add a button for the respondents to click on if anonymity is something they desire.

Another way to help leave the decision in the candidate's hands would be to create a non-anonymous survey by default and give the respondents the option to provide their name and email address as a non-mandatory field.

It might also be worth your while to add a paragraph about what you will do with your candidates' feedback. For instance, if it's a non-anonymous survey, you can add something along these lines:

"This survey is non-anonymous so that we can let you know what we have done with your feedback. We promise that we will treat what you'll share in good faith, and we encourage you to be as honest as possible."

This is how an opt-in/opt-out survey looks like in Starred

In Closing

Different recruitment drives need varied types of candidate experience feedback; a single template cannot do justice to them all. Therefore, we can conclude that there are four options: 

  • Anonymous Candidate Experience feedback
  • Non-Anonymous candidates experience feedback
  • Opt-In, Opt-Out
  • Default Form with an option to change the preference

Based on your need, the TA team must pick between the above. A self-created survey app or a platform like the Starred tool comes with all the variations.

If you'd like to understand when to gather feedback or how to follow up, check out these articles:


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