Why Net Promoter Score Matters in the Candidate Experience

September 19th, 2019
Kelly McNulty
Candidate Experience,
Employer Branding
tape measure to show why candidate experience net promoter score should be measured

Your job candidates don’t exist in a vacuum. They’re your customers. They interact with your customers and prospects. And you can — and should — use the “candidates as customer connection" and a candidate experience Net Promoter Score (NPS) — to monitor how happy your “candidates as customers” are.

The Net Promoter Score was originally introduced as a way for companies to gauge customer loyalty.

The candidate experience Net Promoter Score applies the NPS concept to the hiring experience. It’s a measure of how job candidates liked or didn’t like their experience with your hiring process, how they felt they were treated, and what they’ll tell others about their experience, your process, and your company. In other words, it’s how your candidates rate their experience with your company.

Why the Candidate Experience Net Promoter Score Matters

Understanding your candidate experience matters more than ever. The job market is tight. Talent is in short supply. And with the pervasiveness of online communications, your detractors can share their complaints with the world on Glassdoor.com, Indeed, and other online job boards. But promoters can also promote your company and brand to the world — for free.

Glassdoor cites a poor candidate experience or bad reputation as two of the main reasons candidates reject job offers. Add to that these customer experience statistics:

  • Only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers complain (less than 1%), but 67% of unhappy customers stop doing business with the company they’re unhappy with.1
  • 87% of customers tell others about a good experience, but 95% share bad experiences.2
  • A customer experience promoter has a lifetime value that’s 600 to 1,400% greater than a detractor.3

A good candidate experience is critical to your recruiting efforts. Not only does a good experience preserve candidates as customers, it also protects your brand and prevents job ghosting and candidate rejection too.

And monitoring candidate sentiment is easy using a candidate experience NPS.

How to Determine NPS or Candidate Experience Net Promoter Score

To calculate a Net Promoter Score, customers are asked on a scale typically of 1 to 10, how likely they are to recommend a product, experience, or organization to a friend or colleague? In the case of the candidate experience Net Promoter Score, they’re asked to rate how likely they are to recommend your company to a friend or colleague based on their experience with you.

  • Respondents that give a rating of 9 or 10 are considered brand “promoters.”
  • Respondents that give a rating between 1 or 6 are considered “detractors.”
  • Responses of 7 or 8 are considered “passive.”

The score itself is a number from -100 to 100 and is calculated as the percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors. If there are only detractors, the NPS -100. If there are only promoters, the NPS is 100.

A positive Net Promoter Score is good because it means your promoters outnumber your detractors. An NPS at 50 or above is considered excellent. And the closer to 100 your score gets, the more promoters — and fewer detractors — you have.

Here’s what the math looks like if say you have 500 detractors and 500 promoters out of 1,000 total responses, your NPS is 0.

(500 [Number of Promoters] - 500 [Number of Detractors]) / (1,000 [Number of Respondents]) x 100 = 0

Passive responses are included only in the total number of respondents.

Tips for Measuring and Using Your Candidate Experience NPS

Since NPS is measured by asking a single question, measuring it requires the simple addition of a question or survey to your hiring process or each phase of it. You simply ask candidates to take a one-question survey after the application, interview, or at any other point.

SurveyMonkey is a simple survey tool that can be used to capture responses. Alternatively, you could choose to measure NPS by manually entering responses from an email into a spreadsheet — but that’s a lot of hassle.

If you use HireVue Video Interviews or HireVue Assessments, your candidate experience NPS is automatically measured by asking candidates a question. Your score is then available through your Customer Success contact.

Sample candidate experience net promoter score question

HireVue Video Interviews and Assessments capture candidate experience NPS by automatically asking candidates a question — like the sample question shown above — to rate their experience.

To know if your candidate experience initiatives are paying off, you want to benchmark your score before kicking off your initiative. If your initial score is high, keep it up. If it’s lower than you’d like, try improving your candidate experience to see if you can improve the score.

The Benefits of Using NPS

Measuring NPS gives you insight into the candidate experience before and after you undertake initiatives to impact it. It also paints a picture of past and present interactions with your brand and lets you know if your efforts are working.

There’s another benefit to using NPS too, the Net Promoter Score is an incredibly common metric in sales, marketing, and customer relations circles. Talent acquisition teams can find it difficult to justify funding for new initiatives. Using a common metric, like the NPS, creates a shared language talent teams can use to build a business case.

Want to learn more about the candidate experience Net Promoter Score and creating a great candidate experience?

Find Both in The 2019 Candidate Experience Playbook


This post was last published in April 2017 and has since been updated.


1 HuffPost. "50 Important Customer Experience Stats for Business Leaders." www.huffingtonpost.com/vala-afshar/50-important-customer-exp_b_8295772.html?ec_carp=6823990201176436044

2 Zendesk. “The impact of customer service on customer lifetime value 2013.” www.zendesk.com/resources/customer-service-and-lifetime-customer-value/

3 Bain & Company. “Are you experienced?” infographic. www2.bain.com/infographics/five-disciplines/