Job candidates do not exist in a vacuum. They’re customers. They’re social. They interact with other potential customers.

The observation that everyone has a Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/Snapchat has been beaten to death, so we won’t do it here. Instead we’ll focus on how to make use of the “candidates are customers” connection.


Marketers and salespeople have been measuring customer loyalty for decades. As talent acquisition professionals shift to “think like marketers” or “think like salespeople” (depending on who you talk to), taking a page from the customer satisfaction handbook is a great way to start making more data-driven decisions.

Metrics traditionally used to gauge brand loyalty are incredibly useful for evaluating aspects of the candidate experience.

Enter Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Net Promoter Score, or NPS, was originally introduced as a way to gauge customer loyalty.

Measuring NPS is easy. Customers are simply asked: “On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you recommend this product/experience/organization to a friend or colleague?”

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

Identifying promoters and detractors matters more than ever in our growing online ecosystem. Detractors can blast their complaints to the world – but promoters will promote you to the world. For free.

Calculating NPS

To calculate NPS, subtract the percentage of “promoters” from the percentage of “detractors”. Net Promoter Scores range from -100 (everyone is a detractor) to +100 (everyone is a promoter).

For example, if 50% of respondents rate the experience as a 9 or 10, and 30% rate it between 1 and 6, NPS is 20 (50 – 30).

As a point of reference, a positive Net Promoter score is generally considered to be good – your promoters outnumber your detractors. An NPS at 50 or above is excellent.

Surveying NPS

Since NPS is measured by a single question, it is a relatively simple addition to each aspect of the hiring process. Just request that candidates take a survey after the application, interview, or any other part of the process.

If you use HireVue, we do this for you automatically after every video interview.

Why NPS Matters

The candidate experience is probably one of the longest interactions a person has with your brand. Many times it’s also the first.

Identify Trends

There are an abundance of talent acquisition solutions that advertise an improved candidate experience. If you’re familiar with the significant impact such an improvement has on revenue, you know the investment is probably worth it. 

But how do you know if your candidate experience initiatives are paying off without benchmarking where you started and where you’re heading?

Measuring NPS gives you insight into the candidate experience pre- and post-initiative. It paints a picture of past and present interactions with your brand, and displays if your efforts are actually paying off.  

Create Common Ground With Those That Hold The Checkbook

There’s another benefit to using NPS, outside its simplicity and ease of measurement. Net Promoter Score is an incredibly common metric in sales, marketing, and customer relations circles.

Talent acquisition (and HR in general) has traditionally found it difficult to receive funding for new initiatives. In using a common metric like NPS, the TA professional creates a shared language and can build a more compelling case.

Want to learn more about Net Promoter Score?

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