Better Candidate Experience: What Recruiting Can Learn from Rotten Tomatoes

Better Candidate Experience: What Recruiting Can Learn from Rotten Tomatoes

Emily Smykal

Net Promoter Score is a useful metric to help you build a better candidate experience as a whole. This figure tells you whether candidates are more likely to be promoters or detractors of your employer brand, after they go through the application process.

One way recruiters can approach their NPS is like a score on Rotten Tomatoes, one that leans towards favorable or unfavorable depending on reviews submitted by a wide variety of critics. The site uses their “Tomatometer” rating system, based on critics’ opinions, to measure the quality of movies and TV. By showing visitors to the site the percentage of reviews that are positive, viewers can quickly assess the overall professional opinion of a given film or show.

In the case of talent acquisition, when you gather feedback for a Net Promoter Score your applicants are your critics, and they’re reviewing your candidate experience. This post will explore how treating the NPS like an aggregate of movie reviews can make it easier for recruiters to identify and improve upon strengths and weaknesses in the candidate experience. It should help you figure out how to create a better candidate experience.

What is the Net Promoter Score?

Simply put, your Net Promoter Score measures the willingness of a candidate to recommend your organization as a place to work. It’s a tool recruiters can use to gauge levels of candidate satisfaction with the application process, which in turn helps recruiters uncover and fix any problems in the system.

Developed by Frederick F. Reichheld as a measure of corporate performance based on customer loyalty, the NPS adapts easily to the world of talent acquisition. Customer loyalty becomes candidate loyalty to your employer brand, and is yet another sign of the consumerization of the hiring process.

Candidates answer a short, straightforward survey with one to two questions after completing the application process. Using a scale of -100 to 100 or some variation of that range, the candidate can be classified as a detractor (less than zero), neutral or good (around zero), or a promoter (more than 50), based solely on their readiness to refer another applicant to your employer brand.

A “Fresh” Candidate Experience

If your NPS comes to about zero (on that scale of -100 to 100) you’re doing a decent job, but recruiters should aim for an NPS of 50 or above. This means a majority of your candidates are willing to recommend your company to another person who may be looking for work. These candidates are “promoters” who are likely to speak positively about your organization, even if they didn’t get the job they applied for.

Why should recruiters strive for more promoters, instead of settling for NPS scores around zero? For one thing, NPS isn’t just for thinking about a better candidate experience, it should be used to set goals your team can review and then work toward.

And those promoters who may be nudging your average NPS higher? They’re basically free ambassadors for your employer brand. By providing them with a better candidate experience, you primed them to spread the word about your company as an employer. While negative reviews are common, positive ones also spread by word of mouth, and your promoters are likely to share their good experience with peers who may also be job searching.

Plus, promoters have identified themselves to you as potential targets for future surveys. Want to know specifically what made them rate your candidate experience positively? Email them a few quick follow-up questions. And if those promoters stood out as quality candidates, but just weren’t right for a specific opening, your team can add them to your talent pipeline for future consideration.

A “Rotten” Candidate Experience

What about talent acquisition teams with an NPS that falls below zero, and can be considered rotten? This one metric may seem like a footnote at the end of the application process, but it’s really worth caring about. Because an unwillingness to recommend your organization as an employer to others can lead to a bad reputation, and possibly deter future applicants.

A negative experience is often a strong motivation to write or share a bad review, and these stories spread quickly. This becomes yet one more hurdle recruiters have to face when trying to attract top talent. You may have a great job available, with desirable perks, but if candidates have heard your application process is tedious and burdensome, they may decide it’s not worth their time.

So a low NPS suggests there are some negative aspects to your candidate experience, which recruiters should want to identify and fix. Do applicants have to download and upload multiple forms, repeating information they’ve already provided in a resume? Is it difficult to save an application and complete it later, on another device? Does the entire process take 30 minutes? An hour, or worse?

Once recruiters see they have a low NPS, they can start targeting applicants with more specific questions about the candidate experience, to locate the problem areas. And this actually provides two benefits: the opportunity to continuously improve the application process, and a way to show candidates that their feedback matters. Shifting your NPS from rotten to fresh will take time and resources, but the results will be worth it as more of you candidates are motivated to promote your employer brand, rather than detract from it.

How have you created a better candidate experience? Let us know!

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