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It’s already well-established: bad Candidate Experience is costly to your business, and good Candidate Experience has excellent ROI. If you provide poor Candidate Experience, you'll miss out on precious candidate referrals, job applicants will not re-apply to openings within your organization, you'll lose revenue and notice a decrease in the quality of hire, and you can expect to be spending a disproportionate amount of your time putting out social media and Glassdoor wildfires because people will talk about how dissatisfied they were with your hiring process. In this article, we'll tell you how to measure your Candidate Experience, as well as share tips and tricks and some insightful resources.

According to my conversations with several recruiters and my online research, recruiters aren’t yet clear on improving their Candidate Experience.

Sure, there’s lots of content out there on how to offer 'wow' moments and on taking time to stop and listen. If you're not already engaged with your candidates and asking for feedback in an informal way - start right now. You'll get to the point, though, where crowded Excel sheets and random bits and pieces of feedback living in your inbox won't be enough.

[.c-tip][$green][.c-tip-title][.c-tip-pro][.c-tip-pro][.c-title-3]Candidate Experience Benchmark Report[.c-title-3][.c-tip-title][.c-text-3]Curious about the latest trends in Candidate Experience? We've recently released our annual Candidate Experience Benchmark Report, which breaks down the data by company size, region, department, candidate stage, NPS quartile, and more! It also features the debut of our machine learning based analysis of qualitative candidate comments, analyzing both the topics and sentiments that candidates are discussing the most. You can read it here, or through the image below.[.c-text-3][$green][.c-tip]

Candidate Experience Benchmark Report 2022

Measuring Candidate Experience begins with feedback

You'll reach the need to measure Candidate Experience with surveys. But following advice to simply ‘send a survey’ is simply ineffective, far too 'spray and pray' and won't get you far. One size rarely fits all.

Feedback is a tricky business because every candidate is also a consumer, so they're already used to encountering bad feedback forms from the days of annoying customer satisfaction surveys. If you’re going to do feedback, you'll want to do it properly - map out the Candidate Journey, use surveys for the right touchpoints, and measure the drivers behind your Candidate Net Promoter Score.

Here’s how.

Map out your Candidate Journey

Look at your candidates' journey and at your touchpoints with them. What stages do you have in your ATS?

Your recruitment funnel will have several stages where your candidate interacts with you, your brand, or encounters your automated processes.

Dive into the specifics of mapping this out with our Practical Guide to Candidate Feedback.

An example of a Candidate Journey which you can measure with Candidate Experience surveys.
Example of a Candidate Journey

Map surveys to the right touchpoints

You’ve got your Candidate Journey mapped out. Now it’s time to measure experience at each point.

Sending one big survey at the end of your candidate’s process with you - whether hired or rejected - is similar to that big, old customer satisfaction survey you hate filling out yourself. You know the one I mean: unspecific, asking for information they should know about already.

Think of it like this: asking someone at the end of your process what they thought about the application and your online brand is a bit late. To get their true opinion in real-time send out the form within 3 business days of your touchpoint or their interaction with you.

Moreover, make sure you survey your rejected candidates. These are your most valuable source of insights. They'll give it to you straight, they are in bigger numbers, and not clouded by positive thoughts due to the fact that they just found a new job. We highly recommend you survey rejected candidates at each stage of the hiring journey and one survey for all your hired candidates. So you might have a Candidate Experience survey for candidates rejected after application, candidates rejected after a phone screen, rejected after an assessment, rejected after an interview, and finally one for hired candidates. You might want to consider creating a survey for candidates that withdraw their application and a survey for your hiring managers.

This way allows you to create short and specific surveys and get feedback from all of your candidates, whether hired, rejected, or withdrawn. Include on every survey some questions that are relevant to that touchpoint. So for the candidates that have been rejected after application, ask them how easy it was to apply. Candidates that have been rejected after an interview should be asked about whether they were well prepared and if adequate feedback was given.

If you need some inspiration for your surveys, have a look at Starred's Candidate Experience Survey Templates. But most importantly, include the Candidate NPS in every survey. This metric will be used later to really get to the bottom of your Candidate Experience throughout your candidate journey.

Already a few steps further? Make sure you're getting the best response rates from your feedback so you can analyze with confidence.

Starred Customers leverage Candidate Surveys at each stage of the recruitment process
Examples of some of our customers' Candidate Experience Surveys

Look at what’s driving your candidate NPS at every Candidate Journey touchpoint

Measuring Candidate Experience properly means looking behind the curtain: why are candidates scoring you a particular way at a particular stage in the funnel?

Candidate Experience isn’t one thing. To improve it you need to know what aspects of it to improve. Just asking Net Promoter Score (NPS) and saying ‘oh, 95% of our candidates are happy, good job’ isn’t going to help you prevent that 5 % of unhappy campers from taking to Glassdoor to publicize their bad experience. Committing to the whole idea of Candidate Experience means fixing things for the better.  

If you’re reading this you’re probably working in recruitment, so you don’t need me to tell you that your job is complex. Your Candidate’s experience of your processes, brand, and people will be equally complex.

Measuring Candidate Experience properly drills down to specifics. For example - find out the ‘why’ at these stages of application, interviews, and hired.

Survey after application:
Usability of your jobs platform
Ease of uploading CV
Satisfaction with the information provided online about the role

Survey after interview(s):
Did they feel their interviewer was well-prepared?
Did they feel their time was respected?
How enjoyable was the conversation?
How was the speed of the process?

How was the process overall?
Did we give you a thorough brief on the role?
Was your recruiter easy to reach and communicate with?

You get the idea. Satisfaction and willingness to recommend are often contingent on satisfaction with specific aspects of their experience with you.

This is how you measure Candidate Experience

To measure your Candidate Experience, you start by mapping out your candidate journey. What stages are your candidates going through when you look in your ATS? You identify key stages and map surveys to them. We recommend surveying your rejected candidates at all stages and one survey on the entire process to your hired candidates. Don't forget to survey your hiring managers and candidates that withdraw their application. Use short and powerful surveys with questions related to the touchpoint, the survey to your hired candidates can include questions on the whole process. Their willingness to take more time and answer more questions is way higher than for your rejected candidates. Have a look at Starred's Candidate Experience Survey templates if you need inspiration. Besides questions on the touchpoint, make use of the Candidate NPS. Measuring the cNPS at every stage provides a good overview of your Candidate Experience across the hiring journey. You can benchmark the cNPS to other companies and you will use the scores of the other questions in the survey to understand the 'why' behind the candidate net promoter score. The Starred Priority Matrix is a great tool that shows you what is the biggest driver behind the cNPS and helps you understand what you have to focus on to improve your Candidate Experience.

That covers the basic idea of measuring Candidate Experience:
Identify recruitment stages to measure

  • Create surveys for each stage and include NPS per survey
  • Automate survey sending
  • Analyze feedback and find drivers behind NPS
  • Benchmark scores to understand good performance
  • But soon, you will find out you need to take it a step further. Sending out multiple surveys to thousands of candidates needs some kind of automation to avoid hours of manual labor. A feedback solution like Starred integrates with your ATS and sends out customizable Candidate Experience surveys automatically. On average, Starred users save 67% of time measuring Candidate Experience compared to a manual solution like Google Forms or Survey Monkey.

    After a while, you'll realize you want to go more granular with your data. The Candidate Experience of a salesperson from Silicon Valley is completely different than the Candidate Experience of a software developer from Eastern Europe. Or what if your team consists of 30 recruiters? You want to read back Candidate Experience data to your recruiters and use it to coach them. What's needed for this are called tags. So for every candidate, you want to know what recruiter or interviewer is connected to them, what department the candidate applied for, etc. Starred automatically tracks this and lets you filter your data on any business level you want.

    Don't think measuring Candidate Experience is as simple as sending one survey to all your candidates, look at your cNPS score and think that's it. There is so much more to it, and the companies that understand this are winning. Read here how VodafoneZiggo improved their Candidate Experience by 25% and saved up to $142k in just 3.5 months with Starred.

    Ready? Start measuring Candidate Experience with Starred

    If you're serious about measuring Candidate Experience, feel free to book some time with our team. We'll show you how we help companies like Coca-Cola,

    Talk to us to get started!

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