It’s great to see that the NPS has moved away from being mainly a marketing instrument, transforming itself into a company-wide success metric. In recent years, Talent Acquisition has understood the great potential of leveraging Candidate NPS to represent their performance and predict their future hiring success.

Starred is a feedback solution focused on measuring Candidate Experience. Every year, several hundred-thousands surveys are sent to candidates across the globe in order to understand their experience with the company they applied for. If you’d like a quick refresher on the Candidate Net Promoter Score, have a go at Mark Berendsen’s article.
We allow all our users to benchmark their Candidate NPS, not only against their different departments, recruiters, countries, and more – but also against the market.

We have recently opened a part of our solution for free, which allows all organizations to measure the Candidate Experience of their job applicants that have been rejected after an interview. If you, dear reader, want to understand how you treat the candidates that you’ve rejected after an interview and compare yourself to other companies, you can easily open a free Starred account.

In this article, I will discuss all the different moments in a candidate’s journey and present the Candidate Net Promoter Score Benchmarks per stage. Be aware that this article has been written in July 2020. If you want a benchmark that’s more up-to-date, follow the link to open your free Starred account.

Let’s dive right into the Candidate NPS benchmarks

If you are impatient and just want to see the results, you can scroll down: you will find all you need below. But, before that, I’d like to clarify why we’re separating candidates in different stages and different types. To get a more thorough understanding of your recruitment process and the sentiment of the different candidates, we have to take some things into account. For example, what you want to avoid are biased answers and survey fatigue. Biased answers happen when the feedback that’s given does not reflect the actual experience of the candidate – survey fatigue happens when a person receives too many surveys that it starts to become annoying. Therefore, we argue that you should only survey the candidates that have left your recruitment funnel. Imagine this: a candidate is still in the race for a position, and they receive a survey invitation. What we see is that these candidates often give positive feedback because they think it might help them show a positive relation to the company.
We advise you to first approach all the rejected candidates on the stages up until hired, next take the hired candidates, and finally address those who have withdrawn their application. This also aids with the problem of survey fatigue. Candidates don’t want to receive a survey after every stage, interview, assessment, or phone screen. Send them a single survey with questions related to, or up to, the moment in which they left the funnel.

And yes, this will mean that for the stages where you only measure the experience of rejected candidates, you will see a lower Candidate NPS. However, this reflects their true experience. It will give you more insights and data on what kind of improvements you can make. Moreover, every other company you benchmark yourself against does the same. This is why it is crucial to separate the different candidates and use different Candidate Net Promoter Scores across the candidate journey to get the clearest picture of your performance on key stages. Some companies deliver great experiences to the people they have given an offer to but are underperforming for the ones rejected after a phone screening.
Let’s take a look at the current global Candidate NPS benchmark:

Candidates rejected after application: – 20

Candidates rejected after assessment: – 5

Candidates rejected after interview: – 4

Withdrawn Candidates: + 18

Hired candidates: + 60

Onboarding: + 37

Hiring Manager: + 16

The touchpoint “Rejected after Application” presents the lowest score of all: -20. We then see “Rejected after assessment”, with a higher score: -5. “Rejected after an interview” scored -4. The candidates who withdrew show a more generous score: +18. Candidates that have been onboarded score a Candidate NPS of +37 whereas the hiring manager experience scores a +16. Finally, hired candidates reach +60.

Analyzing the Candidate Net Promoter Score benchmark results

While looking at the overall results, most conclusions are intuitive.

It is, in fact, to be expected that rejected candidates will give lower scores when compared to those who withdrew from the hiring process, or the ones who were hired.

The candidates who had to go through the assessment and did not pass are generally happier than those who were rejected after the CV screening. Those candidates who have been rejected after an interview show an even higher score. Why?

When candidates are rejected earlier in the funnel, their scores are lower because the rejection messages sent out at an early stage are often automated, containing ‘standardized’ rejection reasons, and, therefore, feel impersonal. Moreover, candidates might have the feeling they weren’t able to show their true potential. This negatively affects these candidates’ experience, as reflected by this touchpoint’s score. Candidates that have been rejected after a CV screen are often asked about the process itself. How easy it was to apply? How quickly did the company reply? Was the reason for rejection made clear? And other relevant questions.

When a candidate has been rejected after the interview stage, the candidate has been in contact with the company’s recruitment team and hiring managers. These rejections are handled more personally. The constructive feedback about the candidate’s performance in the process and prospects in the company that often goes along with them are valued and result in a higher Candidate NPS. However, there is still a long way to go. Feedback often shows room for improvements in topics like interview preparation, feedback after interview, timeliness, and professionalism of the recruiter and/or interviewer.

Next steps to start improving Candidate Experience

In Starred, the above-mentioned benchmarks are automatically part of your account. You will be able to segment benchmarks on geographical location, and we’re working on diving deeper into other segments such as industry, ATS, and demographic elements. As previously indicated, you can create a free Starred account and use it to measure and benchmark yourself on the interview stage.