How to Write an Effective New Hire Survey

by Allison Reilly

new hire surveysA new hire survey is a questionnaire given to your new hire within his/her first 30 days. The point of the survey is to have them assess your onboarding process, everything from how they were referred to the position all the way to first-day orientation and the explanation of the company's benefits and procedures. Hopefully, your new hire surveys are effective in providing substantial feedback so that you can improve your onboarding and hiring processes. If they aren't, then here's how to write an effective new hire survey.

Encourage Comments

Candidate experience is crucial to your employment brand, where a bad candidate experience can turn away great talent and encourage other great talents to avoid working for your company. With a new hire who made it successfully through your hiring process, your company ought to take the opportunity to get any and all details you can on candidate perception and how to improve the hiring process.

Therefore, you don't want a new hire survey to be strictly yes/no questions or ranking certain aspects on a scale from 1 to 10. Although it's great to hear that the newest hire rated the application process as an eight, it's even better to hear why that person didn't give it a 10. You can't do anything with the eight. You can do something with the reason why your application process isn't a 10 and make the necessary improvements.

Ask Questions that Gauge If This New Hire Will Stick

The ultimate success in the hiring process isn't just making the hire. It's making a hire that will last longer than a few months. If your company has a high turnover rate, then the new hire survey is a good way to determine some of the causes of this turnover rate. For example, you want to ask if the new hire thinks the work they are doing matches what was described in the job description and interview process. If this person doesn't think there's a match, then you know that this person may not stay for very long and that you need to revise the job description for this position so that you don't have this problem with the next new hire.

Another great question to ask is whether or not the new hire would recommend your company as a great place to work. If your company wants to build a referral program, or has a referral program, then this question can determine if your employees are willing to refer others. If the new hire isn't willing to refer others, then your more senior employees probably aren't either. Including this question in your new hire survey is an effective way to gauge your company's employment brand and the success of its current referral program.

Don't Write Leading or Loaded Questions

Leading questions are questions that "lead" the person taking the survey to answer in a certain way based on the how the question is worded. An example of a leading question that might appear on a new hire survey would be, "Do you think the questions asked during your interview were fair?" This is a leading question because any new hire will answer "yes" since they got the job and gave great answers to the interview questions. Anyone who would answer "no" probably didn't get the job (and wouldn't be taking your new hire survey).

Loaded questions are questions that include emotionally charged assumptions that may push a new hire to answer the question in a certain way. An example of a loaded question would be, "Do you like working for Company X?," versus asking if the person would recommend the company as a great place to work or if she/he is satisfied with the amount of work or responsibility. The first example may push most new hires to answer, "yes", whether or not they feel that way because the question's wording presumes that the affirmative is the expected answer.

Learn how to write great survey questions, and review this guide with 50+ survey question examples. 

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