The Quantification of the Candidate Experience

Today both candidate experience and big data are trending talent acquisition topics; however, a recent study by Talent Board (source) showed 75% of candidates were never asked about their experience with a potential employer. This means that over 75% of employers have absolutely no data or benchmarks to measure themselves against in regards to candidate experience, a key aspect of their ability to hire top talent.

Our last blog post defined candidate experience and the impact it can have on your organization. The next step is understanding how to gather information about candidate experience, quantify it and create benchmarks.
Currently there are a variety of practices being used to quantify candidate experience, but the one we will highlight is the Candidate Promoter Score (CPS). Candidate Promoter Score leverages the already established tool, the Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS is utilized by marketing teams to understand customer satisfaction based on a single question, “how likely is it that you would recommend [brand] to a friend or colleague?” Customers can choose from options on a scale of 0-10. Their responses are broken into groups: Promoters scores 9-10, Passives scores 7-8, and Detractors scores 0-6.

So how are organizations leveraging this concept of Net Promoter Scores into Candidate Promoter Scores?
Melissa Thompson, Executive Director of Talent Acquisition at Citrix, saw a gap in their feedback loop from candidates at and utilized the Candidate Promoter Score to help calibrate her team’s efforts. Thompson wanted to find a way to gather feedback about candidate’s Citrix experience that was both easy for candidates and would provide valuable insights to her team (source).

Thompson selected the Candidate Promoter Score for two reasons: (1) because the one question survey would increase chances of a high response rate and (2) it provided a single metric for her team to calibrate and benchmark on.
Thompson instructed her team to email every candidate that interviewed this question “Based on your candidate experience, how likely are you to recommend a friend or colleague to apply for a job at Citrix?” This was followed by an open ended comment area and an opt-in to speak further with a member of the recruitment team. As with NPS, to find the single CPS score you must subtract the percentage of promoters (scores 9-10) from the percentage of detractors (scores 0-6). Utilizing the NPS guidelines scores can range from -100 to 100, anything over 0 is good and anything over 50 is excellent. See image below.
Quantification of Candidate Experience Graphic
After their first poll, Citrix received a score of 28. This quantified their efforts and allowed the Citrix team to understand how they were performing in terms of candidate experience and candidate care. Also, the open ended questions allowed their team to dig deeper into the reasoning behind scores. The team utilized these open ended responses to guide them in making changes to their process that could positively impact the candidate’s experience. Nine months later, Thompson was able to report her CPS score had increased 10 points to 38.
When considering applying the CPS methodology to your own organization, it is important to understand what data and information you are looking to capture from candidates and whether or not this technique will be beneficial. If you choose to use another technique, remember to keep all surveys anonymous. This allows both candidates who were hired and candidates who were dispositioned to provide honest feedback in regards to the process and their experience. Feedback from successful candidates can be just as important as those who were dispositioned because although a candidate accepted the offer that does not necessarily mean they had a positive candidate experience.
Within the market, Candidate Promoter Score is only one way to gather quantifiable data for candidate feedback. As seen with Citrix, it does allow you to gather a single score to calibrate your team upon. Yet, as with every evaluation tool, there are limitations, and utilizing CPS may not provide enough detail or the specific feedback that your team is looking for to make improvements.


The important aspect of quantifying candidate experience data is that you are proactively looking for feedback on how to improve. Candidate experience is now a focal point for talent and recruitment teams alike, and the repercussions of a negative candidate experience may impact your organization’s ability to find top talent, therefore it is imperative to gather feedback to be competitive and establish your employer brand.