Quantifying your Candidate Experience Best Practices

Candidate experience has become a major focus for companies large and small as they work to shape their employer brand and garner a reputation for being a desirable place to work. In fact, I regularly talk about candidate experience being a keystone habit for recruiting teams. It’s the one metric that when focused on diligently can improve almost all other metrics in recruiting. But for all the talk and feel-good anecdotes about providing a great experience, there’s not a lot of talk about how to measure the value of the time, effort, and money invested in it.

Most people understand the overall concept of candidate experience boosting employer brand and helping to perpetuate positivity among candidates past, present, and future, but if you had to justify candidate experience to those outside or HR, or if you just wanted to understand how you’re performing, what metrics would you use? 

The fact is, even though candidate experience centers around emotions and feelings that drive decisions and opinions, there are some hard numbers associated with it too. Candidate experience practices tend to be evaluated on a qualitative basis, but there is valuable quantitative data to be sought out as well, and it can help measure, guide and justify your strategies. 

Satisfaction surveys 

In HR and recruiting, many times we already have the data we need and it’s just a matter of mining it to find answers. However, there’s no better way to find out what a candidate’s experience was like than by asking them. Candidate satisfaction surveys don’t have to be a cumbersome, for you or them. Just asking simple questions like whether or not the application was easy to fill out, how they felt in their interview and whether or not they received follow-up communication, can help you understand where your process is working and where it’s weak. Above all, share that surveys are completely anonymous so candidates feel free to express their opinions. Many ATS systems like Greenhouse have this feature built-in and all you have to do is turn it on. If not, you can use tools like SurveyMonkey to quickly send out survey links in an automated email after a candidate passes through the interview stage in your ATS.  

Net promoter score 

Within your satisfaction surveys, one of the most important conclusions you should be able to draw is your net promoter score.  Net promoter score is a metric borrowed from the marketing industry to simply measure the number of people who would recommend a company to their friends, family or colleagues. For quantifying candidate experience, the question we would pursue is whether or not a candidate who had been through our hiring process would recommend that someone they know apply and go through the process as well. It’s important to ask this of all candidates, from those who didn’t get past the application phase, to those who were offered a job. It may help you identify where in the process candidates are becoming dissatisfied, and it will certainly give you an overall view of satisfaction. While leading talent acquisition at Twilio, I created a quick Net Promoter Score app using our own technology that would text a single question to candidates after the interview with us that automatically captured their responses to calculate an NPS score for continual monitoring of that metric. It really helps you know whether your candidate experience is creating new fans of your brand or hurting it. 

Glassdoor  

As we know, people will talk about their experiences online and in the real world, whether good or bad. Using employer review sites such as Glassdoor can be eye opening and enlightening, and can quickly reveal how people view your candidate experience through interview reviews on the site. Rather than just browsing your Glassdoor reviews, take the time to claim your free Employer Profile and dive into the Employer Dashboard to look at metrics and review trends to track the number and types of negative and positive reviews and ratings over time. As you work on creating better candidate experiences, you should see movement here as well and have data that you can report back to leadership and the business to drive change.  

Offer acceptance 

For a more long-tail metric, record your overall offer acceptance ratio and track it each month/quarter to measure candidate experience success by acceptances increasing or decreasing. Better experiences truly equal more hires, so it will be telling to see if the efforts you’ve put forth are making a difference. Of course, there are other job acceptance criteria that will come into play, such as compensation and the type of positions you’re filling but this will be a great general indicator of a positive candidate experience and the overall strength of your employer brand because of it.   

Candidate drop off 

It’s natural that your candidate pool will narrow with each step of the process, but you may not be tracking how many of those drop offs are based on your company’s decision making and how many are self-initiated. Keep a record of this number at each step in the process to gain a better understanding of where and when candidates give up or become disinterested. Taking it a step further, be sure to survey those candidates so you know what motivated their decision, whether the process was too lengthy, if they had a negative interaction or some other factor. Track this over time to see how your focus on problem areas is helping to improve the candidate experience, and in turn decreasing drop offs. 

While it’s great to see happy candidates, it’s even better to measure their satisfaction and know which areas to celebrate, or improve. Great candidate experiences lead to better hires that are more productive, an easier conversion from candidate to customer, and a strong employer brand that saves you money in recruiting and pays off in revenue as well. It’s a worthwhile investment that you’ll want to measure using the metrics shared here. 

For support in measuring or transforming your candidate experience, take a look at Proactive Talent’s Employer Branding services and let us show you how we’ve helped companies improve candidate experience and see big returns.

Will Staney

Will is the Founder and Principal Consultant at Proactive Talent Strategies, LLC and the former Head of Global Talent Acquisition at rapidly-growing startups Twilio andGlassdoor. Prior to that he held recruiting leadership roles at enterprise software leaders VMwareSuccessFactors and SAPwhere he lead strategic programs includingemployer brandingsourcing strategy, recruiting operations and systems process design.

During his over 7 years as a recruiting practitioner, after 10 years in sales and marketing, he developed a passion for building what he calls "modern recruiting machines". He would push innovation from the inside, execute on his vision, and once it was realized he would pass the torch on to those he had mentored and move on to his next challenge. He was destined to start a consultancy so he could help as many companies as possible adopt a more proactive recruiting strategy with community in mind.

In his free time, Will enjoys riding his motorcycle, trying out the newest gadgets, and spending time with his two kids, Foster and Felicity.