Employee Testimonial Questions: 6 Great Ones and Why They Work

As the Great Resignation continues through 2021, companies that really do have what it takes to hire and retain employees have an enormous opportunity. And a challenge: believable recruitment marketing. That’s where the right employee testimonial questions come in.

Everyone wants to talk about how great their culture is, but how do you prove it? How can you show that you understand employees’ concerns, and that the company actually cares about them as human beings?

If you’re reading this and you know your workplace doesn’t provide meaning to its employees, you’re going to be SOL. In that case, I’d say stop reading this post, quit your job, and when you’re ready to hire us for your solopreneur venture, save this link. Seriously.

Still here? Great! There’s a lot of power in employee testimonial videos…if you ask the right video testimonial questions and get authentic answers. So how do you get the genuinely emotional content you need from your employee testimonial videos?

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Ask the Right Employees.

First, choose great employees who are really in love with your company. If you’re not sure how to ask or not sure who would be willing to answer your employee testimonial questions on camera, here’s an idea:

  1. Get on LinkedIn and write recommendations for employees you want to feature (everyone appreciates an unexpected endorsement!) Lead with what you appreciate about them.
  2. Ask them for a recommendation back on LinkedIn (you may be surprised at how enthusiastic they are).
  3. Ask the ones who give you the most enthusiastic recommendations if they would be willing to be interviewed on camera for an employee testimonial.

Go Unscripted.

Scripted video testimonials aren’t going to work; they’ll be inauthentic and it will be obvious. What matters most about employee testimonials is establishing trust, and if your employee appears to reading a teleprompter or reciting memorized lines–even if they mean what they’re saying–that will undermine your goal of establishing trust.

When you ask the right employee testimonial video questions to the right employees in the right environment, you’ll get genuine, authentic responses.

Pro tip: your employee might insist on using a script to get it “right.” If they do, sure, why not let them do that? But also, do the interview and let them know ahead of time that you will do both and they may not get to decide which one they like better.

Consider Remote Recording.

Decide if you’re going to film in person or remotely. We film a lot of our customer testimonials remotely because they’re less expensive for our clients, more convenient for everyone, and the production value doesn’t take away from the purpose of the video as a recruiting tool: to establish trust.

The same thing works for employees. Asking employee testimonial questions on camera can be done remotely with the right tools. Curious about how remote video recording works? Check out this blog post.

Example of a Great Video Created By Using the Right Employee Testimonial Questions

Here’s an example of a company culture video we created for our client, The Pun Group. It features employees as well as the managing director the company. They put this to use on Glass Door, which was a great step toward being a more engaged employer.

Get Comfortable.

Make your employees feel super comfortable. This probably means that you don’t want them to feel like they’re getting grilled by your HR team of their manager. Hiring an outside interviewer can help immensely. You want honest answers. And, remember, you’re shaping the final brand messaging so if your employees say things that you don’t want to be public, you don’t have to publish them. Definitely use that feedback to improve internally! Always be truthful, but you don’t have to lead with something that isn’t flattering.
At the very least, choose an interviewer who isn’t the direct manager or senior to your employee. There’s this weird human thing that seems to happen–it’s hard to talk about people when they’re there, even if it’s all positive. You’ll get a better video if you create a little separation in that regard. As long as your interviewer has a genuine curiosity and the right employee testimonial questions, your interviewer will set a more authentic tone for the interview because they won’t know the answers already.

Be Aware.

A quick note on what not to do: don’t offer incentives that violate Federal Trade Commission laws. Be familiar with these guidelines from the FTC and make sure you follow them. For our clients, we’re careful to follow the rules and make sure everyone is aware of how to conduct things properly so you don’t get in trouble.

The testimonial interview questions you ask should align with FTC guidelines. Even if the guidelines don’t all apply directly to employees, better safe than sorry.

Get Even More Comfortable.

If you’re looking for more in-depth detail on how to set up lighting and make your interviewee feel comfortable, check out this guest post I wrote for Vimeo: How to film and interview like the pros, plus examples we love. It also gets into pre-interview video testimonial questions.

6 Great Employee Testimonial Questions

Alright, so you have a great employee and everything is camera-ready, a great interviewer…now, what employee testimonial questions to ask?

Here are six great sample employee testimonial questions to ask:

  1. Tell me in just a few sentences about you and what you like most about what you do.
    People love talking about themselves so give them an opportunity to do it upfront. It will help you establish rapport and get them into a positive frame of mind.
  2. Why do you believe in the company’s products/services?
    You want to avoid a lot of “what” and “how” questions but this one is important because it establishes the “they’re like me rapport” your prospective employees need from your current employees. It’s a chance to express appreciation for meaning attached to the company’s work.
  3. What gets you most excited about coming to work?
    When your employees hone in on what they love, what they’re passionate about, what gets them up and out of bed, that comes across in video. It shines.
  4. Why does it matter to you to work somewhere that provides purpose and meaning?
    This gives your employee the chance to really connect with potential new hires. They can express their core beliefs and really share what matters to them and why. This can be an incredibly powerful question. A great follow-up question, to tell a story of change, are things like: Have you worked in other jobs that do not provide purpose and meaning? How is your experience here different? What would you say to someone who feels like they’re stuck in a job they don’t feel is meaningful to them?
  5. What were your first thoughts when you heard about this company?
    This will hopefully get a good emotional response. Enthusiastic employees are likely to naturally express the excitement and relief they first felt when they knew your company could be the right fit for them. It puts them in a similar frame of mind as your potential hires.
  6. What’s your favorite part of working with the company’s team?
    When it comes down to it, people want to work with people they like. In your employee testimonial questions, give your employees a chance to talk about your team members as human beings.

Bonus Question: In one word, describe your experience working with the company.
This will likely give you a really nice sound bite. And your interviewee will likely elaborate. If they don’t, you can always use the employee testimonial question (unquestion) prompt: “tell me more!”

Get Complete Sentences

Speaking of sound bites…I have a trick I use to get those. In video, you need complete sentences. So at the end of every interview, I do a little “repeat after me” section. I offer prompts and ask the interviewee to repeat the prompt and fill in the blank. You want to be extra careful not to put words in their mouths so make sure they know they can skip a prompt and say it in their own words. As long as you get complete sentences, that’s what matters. It’s likely that they’ll repeat things they said previously, which is great because you’ll get a more concise answer, while still being unscripted. Assure them it’s OK to repeat themselves. You won’t always get the answer you’re looking for but you don’t need all of them to work, just enough for a short video.

A Few Examples of Prompts

  1. It’s important to me…
  2. When I come to work, it matters…
  3. When I first heard about…
  4. I love working with the team at [company name] because…
  5. Before working with [company name]…
  6. Working with [company name] is…

A Few More Pro Tips about Testimonial Questions for Employees

When I prepare for interviews, I come up with at least 20 questions and 12-15 fill in the blanks. I also improvise and follow threads that come up to get more detail and specifics. I might not use every question but it’s good to have more than you need. And always give the option to skip a question.

Ready to have a conversation to see if we’re the right match for your company culture video or employee testimonial video?