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Candidate Net Promoter Score
Do you ever wonder why you’re not getting the “right” talent applying to your job postings? Is your company well-armed for the “war for talent?” How is your company thought of in the marketplace? Answers to those questions may lie in your candidate net promoter score. Read on to learn about this key recruiting metric.

What Is a Candidate Net Promoter Score?

To understand candidate net promoter scores, it is important to understand net promoter scores (NPS). NPS is a metric developed by Fred Reichheld in 2003 to gauge customer satisfaction and loyalty. NPS are generated by asking: “On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend us to your friends and colleagues?” The candidate net promoter score is an offshoot of NPS and is generated when that question is applied at various points in the hiring process, thus measuring your applicants’ experience.

Why Is the Candidate Net Promoter Score Important?

Aligning with the needs of today’s labor pool is critical to being competitive in recruiting. Candidate net promoter scores can uncover feedback to enable you to make changes not only for current applicants but also new hires and current employees.
  • Improve recruiting. Process improvements can be made when the recruiting team understands where the hiring process stands and learns what improvements need to be made.
  • Strengthen employer brand. A poor candidate experience will likely be shared. The Human Capital Institute HCI states that 72% of job seekers report sharing their negative experiences online and 55% of job seekers avoid certain companies after reading negative online reviews.
  • Attract and retain talent. Are you creating brand ambassadors or disgruntled employees? Candidates hired after an unpleasant hiring process are less likely to be as engaged as those whose experience was rewarding.

What Is a Good Candidate Net Promoter Score?

NPS scores NPS Grading Scale are considered to be good in the 0-30 range, great in the 30-70 range and excellent if 70 or above. Although candidate net promoter scores (CNPS) are not universally defined, a good score can be determined in the following ways:

Industry NPS Standard

While CNPS are fairly new in HR practices, NPS scores have been captured for nearly two decades in several industries. A reasonable target would be that your CNPS equals or exceeds your industry NPS. Click here NPS standards for a list of industry standards.

Higher Than Your Competition

Identify who is in your competitive set for applicants and see if data exists for their NPS scores or their industry standards. If your scores are higher than your competition, this would indicate that applicants may have a brand preference for your company.

Zero or Above

A positive score would, at a minimum, indicate that applicants are willing to work for your company. While there may be room for improvement, this is a good score.

How to Calculate and Interpret the Candidate Net Promoter Score

The three components of CNPS are detractors, passives, and promoters. Combined, they should total 100%.

Step 1: Calculate Detractors

Scores in the 0-6 range on the 10-point scale are labeled detractors. These applicants had a negative enough experience to damage your brand through word of mouth or online ratings. Count the total number of candidates scoring in this range and use this as the numerator. Use the total number of applicants as the denominator to determine the percentage of applicants that are detractors.

Step 2: Calculate Passives and Set Them Aside

Scores in the 7-8 range on the 10-point scale are considered passive. Passives are somewhat satisfied and may stay through the process or may ghost you and go elsewhere. They won’t go out of their way to refer prospects. Count the total number of candidates scoring in this range and use this as the numerator. Use the total number of applicants as the denominator to determine the percentage of applicants that are passives.

Step 3: Calculate Promoters

Scores in the 9-10 range on the 10-point scale are considered to be promoters. These are your future brand ambassadors who will engage positively with not only current employees, but also future prospective employees.

Step 4: Subtract Promoters From Detractors

CNPS = Promoters - Detractors. Passives are ignored for this calculation. For example, if you have 30 applicants and 15 score in the 9 or 10 range, your promoter score is 50%. If 6 score in the 0-6 range, you have 20% detractors. Ignoring the passives (30%), your CNPS score is 50-20 = 30. In this example, while you generated a good score, you have some work to do on your hiring process.

Tips for Using Candidate Net Promoter Score

Use CNPS consistently for accurate results over time. Use them at different milestones in the applicant experience cycle.

Tip 1: Use CNPS on Every Applicant

Data can become easily skewed if only a portion of applicants or only applicants to a certain department or role are given the CNPS question. This carries the risk of failure to pinpoint areas for improvement in your hiring process.

Tip 2: Use CNPS Immediately After the First Interview

Many insights can be gleaned from applicants in this early stage of the hiring process. You have the opportunity to learn how passives could become promoters through feedback mechanisms. It could also offer insights into ghosting if that is affecting your process.

Tip 3: Use CNPS Right After Rejection

It’s wise to get feedback when candidates are rejected. A good score here tells you they would still come work for you if another opportunity arose and they are likely to have good things to say about your company by word-of-mouth or online reviews.

Tip 4: Don’t Compare CNPS Scores Generated From First Interviews Against Rejections

A rejection experience will never be an equivalent comparison to a first interview. They are separate experiences and should be measured separately.
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Milly Christmann

Milly Christmann

Milly Christmann is a high energy, operationally oriented talent management leader with extensive expertise in human resources, sales management, service and operations. She is recognized for collaborating with leaders to achieve their business goals by unleashing the power of an engaged workforce. By using process improvement, technology and strong, impassioned people skills as well as by attracting, developing and retaining top talent, Ms. Christmann drives change that matters.
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