Every recruiting department needs a job candidate net promoter score

Every business process needs metrics and measures. These are used to track progress, to warn the process owners about obstacles and concerns, and to assure the organization’s success. Recruiting is no different. The top-level metrics should be displayed on a dashboard. Each top-level measure should have sub-measures that will serve as an alert that a problem is occurring and needs immediate attention.

Now, it is time to use a new metric, the job candidate net promoter score, to keep track of the job candidate experience. The goal should be to score 90 or higher. This metric measures the engagement job seekers have with the company’s brand and the overall satisfaction of job candidates with the hiring and onboarding process.

Net promoter scores started in marketing as a measure of customer’s satisfaction and loyalty. The net promoter score is an index from negative 100 to 100 that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products or services to others.

It also comes from the employee engagement industry. I have administered surveys that asked employees how likely they were to recommend their company to a friend or colleague as a place to work. I used the answer to this question as the bellwether metric on how engaged employees were with the company. If employees can’t recommend the company to their friends and family, the company has a serious problem.

Why is it important to measure such feelings? According to the Talent Board, more than one-third of all job seekers spend two or more hours researching a single job. From there, it often takes them an hour to complete the job application, and more than half of the candidates who participated in the survey rated the search process as poor or mediocre. Currently, only 27 percent of the two hundred companies surveyed by the Talent Board ask about the job candidate’s experience. Usually, the job candidates being surveyed are the ones who were hired. They will have a biased, positive answer, so they do not disappoint their new employer.

Only 14 percent of companies in the Talent Board survey asked for candidate feedback before a hiring decision was made.[i] Surveying candidates before a hiring decision is made is a better measure of job candidate satisfaction with the recruiting process. Even better, I believe, is asking all the job candidates about their experience, with detailed questions about each step in the process about a week after a hiring decision is made. You will get a better response after all job candidates have been told how far they made it in the hiring process and if nonselected job candidates have been given suggestions for other roles.

Your goal is to have everyone who was told they are not selected feel so good about the process and its timely communications that they will give you good feedback and recommend your open jobs to their friends.

Frustrated job candidates will hurt your customer brand, revenue and profits. Virgin Media first learned of the revenue-damaging impact of rejected candidates when it began to survey these candidates. The company discovered that 18 percent of their rejected candidates were customers. Worse yet, six percent of the roughly 7,500 candidates surveyed were so angry with the poor recruitment experience, they switched to a Virgin competitor. They estimated that this was a £4.4 million loss of revenue.[ii]

A 2016 study by LinkedIn uncovered that the cost of a bad reputation for a company with ten thousand employees could be as high as $7.6 million in additional wages, and employers who failed to invest in their reputation could be paying up to an additional $4,723 in costs for each employee hired. These are staggering numbers.[iii] The LinkedIn study also provided estimates of the cost of a bad reputation in other countries, such as the United Kingdom at $5.9 million, Germany at $8.2 million, and France at $5.6 million.

The job candidate net promoter score has sub-measures, as follows:

  1. Percentage of job applicants sent acknowledgment text or email instantly.
  1. Percentage of job candidates advised by text message or email of other openings in the company within twenty-four hours of nonselected decision.
  2. Percentage of job candidates told of phone screen decisions within twenty-four hours of completed phone screens.
  3. Percentage of interviewed job candidates informed of the hiring decision within twenty-four hours of selected candidates’ acceptance.
  4. Percentage of job candidates’ satisfaction with the recruiting process one week after the hiring decision was made.
  5. Percentage of hires satisfaction with the recruiting and onboarding process 90 days after hire.

New applicant tracking systems, such as iCIMS, and new chatbots, such as AllyO, enable these metrics and their machine learning will automatically track them. These systems have demonstrated that with their automated efficiencies, they can significantly improve job candidate net promoter scores. Here technology is an enabler to significantly improve the job candidate experience, so much so that even rejected job candidates will speak highly of the process.

Recruiting is a business process that is as important as any marketing or operations process. Recruiting when done well will build your brand and enable your profitable growth.

Victor Assad is the CEO of Victor Assad Strategic Human Resources Consulting and is a Managing Partner of InnovationOne. He consults and provides hands-on support to improve recruiting and retention, cultures of innovation, and train agile leaders and teams.

Overcome your obstacles to these issues by subscribing to his weekly blogs. Go to http://www.victorhrconsultant.com. to subscribe. Watch for his book, Hack Recruiting, to be published soon.


[i] Talent Board, “2017 Talent Board North American Candidate Experience Research Report”; http://3cmsd11vskgf1d8ir311irgt.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/2017_Talent_Board_NAM_Research_Report_FINAL_180130.pdf.

[ii] J. T. O’Donnell, “How Your Company’s Lame Hiring Process Is Losing You Customers,” Fast Company (April 15, 2016); https://www.fastcompany.com/3058571/how-your-companys-lame-hiring-process-is-losing-you-customers.

[iii] Wade Burgess, “Research Shows Exactly How Much Having a Bad Employer Brand Will Cost You,” LinkedIn Talent Blog (March 30, 2016); https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/employer-brand/2016/research-shows-exactly-how-much-having-a-bad-employer-brand-will-cost-you.

1 comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: