The Top 5 Metrics to Best Measure Your Candidate Experience

Any marketer will tell you that you can’t improve what you don’t measure. As experts in the customer journey, they’ve been using good measurement practices to improve the experience of all those who interact with the brand. The savviest of organizations are realizing that their candidates have a very similar journey, and the impact to the business can be staggering.

Today, this way of thinking is critical for talent acquisition and HR practitioners. According to Talent Board, 74 percent of companies surveyed are prioritizing the candidate experience in 2019.

If improving something means measuring it, then having a plan is the best first step. Speaking from experience, getting started with good measurement practices can be overwhelming, and the temptation to measure everything can be distracting.

We’ll focus on the five most important metrics to measure to get started.

First, what is candidate experience, and why should I measure it?

“Candidate experience” refers to the quality of interaction your candidates experience throughout your recruiting process. From the moment they browse your job posting, to the day they are hired (or rejected), the opinions they are forming are important. It’s a significant factor in how your employer brand is perceived!

The rising popularity of the term “candidate experience” is really a by-product of increasing awareness that the power has shifted, and the need to treat candidates as prospective customers. When more than 80 percent of candidates who have a negative recruitment experience openly tell people about their experience, one begins to wonder about the impact.

One media organization recently learned the hard way the real impact of a poor candidate experience. They determined that 18 percent of their rejected applicants were also their customers, and that 6 percent of those disconnected their service and took their business elsewhere after a bad recruitment interaction. The cost was $5.4 million in lost revenue.

If you want some compelling numbers to make a case for focusing on the candidate experience this year, check out this one-pager from Deloitte.

Satisfaction: The simple first step to measuring candidate experience is to ask.

If the idea of implementing a measurement plan has you thinking, “I’m already too busy,” start here.

Asking for a candidate’s opinion on the process inevitably gives you more insight into key areas to work on, and more importantly, will give the candidates a voice. Providing the opportunity to give feedback may even improve their perception of the experience. There are some simple and powerful survey tools that can make this experience great, my favourite being Typeform. SurveyMonkey is another great option.

Your instinct might be to survey your candidates after the interview, but there are really two points to focus on for maximum effect.  

  1. After candidates have applied, send them a short survey about the application experience. This is a great opportunity to evaluate your job postings and application process.

Some questions you might ask:

  • How well did the job description help you understand the role?
  • Did we provide all of the information you were looking for before applying?
  • Did you feel you were able to provide the information you wanted?
  • How do you feel about the length of application?
  • What is the one thing in the application process you would most like us to improve?
  1. After the interview has been completed, get a full-funnel view.

Some questions you could ask:

  • What did you like/dislike about your interview process?
  • Was communication from our team prompt and effective during the application and interview process?
  • Would you apply for a future opportunity with our company?
  • How likely are you to encourage a friend to apply with our company?

Both surveys should be kept simple and meaningful, with no more than four or five questions on relevant factors. Don’t forget that responses may skew positive, as candidates are trying to make a great impression. As long as you keep this in mind, the insights can still be precious.

The likelihood a candidate will refer someone else to apply, also known as Net Promoter Score (NPS), is possibly the most revealing question on the list. If they aren’t willing to refer a friend, something was suboptimal in their experience.

You know time-to-hire, but are you measuring time-in-the-dark?

Perhaps a better term is “time to respond,” but since we’re focusing on the candidate, this is about decreasing the time they’re left in the dark. Time-to-hire is a common metric in recruiting, but perhaps there is an important leading indicator as well.

How long does it take an applicant to hear from you after they apply? Do you notify candidates when they have been rejected? Do you let candidates know where you are in your hiring process?  Do you thank them for their application and set an expectation for when they should hear from you next?

The longer a candidate sits in the dark, the more likely they are to seek and accept other opportunities. Communicating regularly with talent is a great way to improve their candidate experience and keep them engaged. You might be surprised at how much improving this metric can also improve your time-to-hire.

Pre-candidate experience.

Before a prospective candidate ever finds your job posting or careers page, they may well have heard what it’s like to work for you. Candidates are likely to check employer review sites these days before applying. Make sure your Glassdoor and Kununu profile pages are up to date. Make note of where you stand and strive to improve it over time. This can have a significant impact on the quantity and quality of your applicants.

The conversion rate of your careers page.

Your marketing team should already be measuring conversion rates of many pages on your website, so getting the numbers for your careers page shouldn’t be too challenging. What you’re looking for is intent to apply, as measured by clickthroughs to job descriptions.

Is the careers page providing an appealing enough experience for prospects to want to continue? There’s no right or wrong number here, but we want to improve conversion rates over time. Get a benchmark and work from there.

Application drop off

How many candidates start the application and then drop off? At what stage do they leave?  While you’re considering this, take a moment to check that your application’s mobile friendly. The majority of traffic to this page is likely coming from mobile, and you’ll quickly lose interested candidates if they can’t apply this way.

Offer acceptance rate

The rate that successful candidates accept your offers can tell you a lot about how well you’ve acknowledged their needs throughout your recruiting process.

In the simplest terms, the more humanizing the experience has been, from the time they first encountered your brand to receiving the offer, the more likely they are to accept.

Keep it simple, and start where you are.

Start with the metric that makes the most sense for your organization, and add to it as you can over time.

Measuring your candidate experience is a fantastic way to make sure that you’re improving the ROI of your recruiting dollars, improving your employer brand, and most importantly, finding amazing and engaged talent.  It helps to turn the attention back to what will always matter to the bottom line: the people.

Where will you start measuring your candidate experience?  Let us know in the comments below.

Author Bio:

Kate Johnson is an all-things-growth enthusiast. When she’s not working as Growth Manager at Alongside, she’s volunteering with her local Girls+ Rock Camp or honing her many crafts.

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