3 Questions to Ask About Candidate Experience

What is the importance of candidate experience to your recruiting process? How do you evaluate your candidate experience to understand its current impact, and how you will improve it? Gerry Crispin, principal at CareerXroads and keynote speaker at recruitDC, talked today about the three key questions to ask about the candidate experience before you evaluate and improve the overall candidate experience:

1. Are all candidates equal?

“Of course not,” Crispin said. Because of this reality, he says, we should not be investing in the same experience for all candidates. One of the primary factors that goes into determining the priority is the scarcity of the skill set that you are recruiting for. He also said that serious industry leaders have to be looking at changing the scarcity of talent in fields that they depend on. This means reaching into educational systems to ensure they have talent for the future.

2. What do you measure?

Crispin shared a poll that showed that 43% of respondents didn’t believe their candidate experience was good enough to spread virally. 28% didn’t know at all. To him, it showed the necessity of having to know what to measure before you evaluate your current stance and how you move forward in your candidate experience process.

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He also asked if candidates who have a better experience eventually become better employees. Will job candidates go out of their way to recommend qualified friends to a company that has rejected them? These sort of measurements help bring clarity to your candidate experience process.

3. Do all candidates become employees?

Crispin believes that many recruiters focus on only the selected employee in the candidate experience equation. What he urges recruiters to do is realize that most of your candidates won’t become employees and even fewer are coming on as full-time employees. He argues many more will be added on a contingent or contract basis, and candidate experience is critical for these people as well.


11 Comments on “3 Questions to Ask About Candidate Experience

  1. Those are great questions to ask holding up the mirror. But the Voice of the Candidate is the ultimate source of information.

    Here are three more to ask:
    1. Are you in a better position to determine if this job is right for you?
    2. Did you have any technical issues while applying?
    3. Based upon your experience applying, would you recommend this job to friends and family?

    I have been asking thoughtful people (like Gerry)to offer suggestions on what can be done to improve the candidate experience. Their comments can be found here:

  2. We’re in our first month of using an NPS-type score to measure overall candidate experience at all levels of the candidate process (from simply applying online to going through face to face interviews to being hired). It’s given us some great data, even in its early stage. However, quantifying a “good” candidate experience NPS score is difficult. Anyone know of any other organizations using NPS score to measure candidate experience?

  3. Thanks Joe. Lance wrote the comments real time while I was speaking yesterday at RecruitDC and, in his enjoyment at my mention of a poll that contrasted how many people “believed” their experience was viral (but how few actually measured it) didn’t note that the story was credited to one of your talks.

    And, by the way fewer than a dozen firms in the audience ask their candidates (even the silver medalists) anything.

    We certainly have some work to do when no metrics for such a key stakeholder are gathered.

  4. Paul
    Every one of our Virtual Job Tryout clients is asking the candidate for feeback on that narrow portion of the experience. They ask the questions listed above and more.
    Consistenty 90+% state they will refer others. A form of NPS. Presently, the data is more confirmatory. The insight also comes from the verbatim comments, such as this:

    “This was an enjoyable experience. I have never seen a virtual job tryout before. It would be great if every job had something of this nature. The company can better understand the applicant and the applicant can better understand the position they are applying for.”

    The candidate saw the value for both themseves and the company.

    There is firm, http://www.improvedexperience.com/, that works exclusively on providing measurment of various recruiting/HR practices.

    Gerry, I was wondering if that was my study you were quoting. When I spoke at Staffing Management in Orlando, only one person in the room stated they were asking the candidate for feedback.

    Yes we have an opportunity to learn from their experience.

  5. Great post Lance! I especially appreciated the focus under point #3 – not all candidates become employees. Savvy employment teams recognize that candidates can also be/become customers, clients, future employees, brand champions, and candidate referal sources. Positive candidate experiences are vital for enhancing those relationships also.

    Joseph Murphy – Your three questions (above) to ask candidates about their experience are great!

    If you are interested in a perspective on experiences for finalist candidates, I’ve captured some ideas in a recent blog series:


    I’m looking forward to your next ERE posting contributions Lance.

    Sue Corralz
    Banyan & Jackson, LLC

  6. There’s a FOURTH question that is perhaps more important to your bottom line than the first three:

    “how many candidates are potential customers?” (meaning they are in a position to purchase my company’s products and services, whether I’m selling in a B2C space or B2B)

    Research shows; if you treat a candidate poorly (as defined by the candidate, not YOU and 25% of all candidates say they are treated poorly 1-4) 53% won’t buy from your company and 55% will tell up to 4 friends NOT to buy from your company.

    What effect are you having on your bottom line by not knowing how you are affecting the candidate experience?

  7. I wanted to respond to Phil Haynes and say that I thought his 4th question was spot on. There have been recruiting agencies; several years ago when the market was booming, that treated me as a candidate poorly. I can tell you, I carried my candidate experience with me and when I was moved into a hiring position I did not call on those agencies when I had a position to fill. Now that the economy is lean, those agencies have been paying more attention to me; I have been paying little to them.

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