MeasuringCandidateExperience[tweetmeme source= ‘@smashfly’ only_single=false]

It’s hard to argue that the candidate experience is not an important area to focus on in your recruitment marketing strategy.  Common logic would dictate that if you improve your candidate experience that should result in an increase in your apply rates and overall recruiting ROI.  But the real question is how do you measure the impact of candidate experience?

Here is my opinion on what you should be tracking and I’d love some other opinions on this.  So please either ping me ( or add your thoughts to the comments.

The first thing that needs to happen is to continue to measure and keep track of your high level recruitment metrics that you already analyze (time to fill, cost per hire, etc.)  But now we need to go deeper into the data and determine how the new initiative for candidate experience affected these metrics.  It’s important to track over time and benchmark how these metrics perform before and after the launch of these initiatives.  This can give you a good basic idea of how successful your actions have been to these baseline metrics.

Second, you need to go a little deeper in capturing metrics that can help you understand your candidate experience from a micro-level so you know what areas and initiatives have an impact on every area of the candidate experience.

Here are a few areas that I think should be a focus:

Recruitment Funnel Metrics:  When you are measuring the candidate experience, it’s important to understand how it affects every stage of your recruitment funnel.  More specifically, how it affects if a candidate moves on to the next stage in the recruitment process.

By capturing data on views, apply clicks, contacts, applicants, qualified candidates and hires, you are able to determine bottlenecks in your recruitment process that need to be fixed in your process to improve candidate experience (from poor job ad messaging to a confusing apply process).  This will also help determine in what areas your candidate experience initiatives has the greatest impact.

Sources of Influence:  How are candidates interacting with your employer brand and recruiting content?  This goes beyond just tracking the “Source of Application” but tracking every engagement you have with a candidate.  From the job they apply for to them opting into your Talent Network to what pages on your Career Site they visit to interactions they’ve had with your social recruiting profiles.  All these interactions have an impact on a candidate’s experience and it’s important to track when these interactions happen and what the result is from these interactions (i.e. applies, qualified, hires, etc.)

Candidate Surveys: The two above can usually be measured automatically across the process, however, it’s also important to get data that can’t be covered by your current technology.  This is where candidate surveys comes in.  By having candidates fill out candidate experience surveys, it will provide a way to check the accuracy of your data as well as capture significant qualitative data to help to better understand the quantitative data you already have.

Contact Surveys:  Surveying the candidates that finish the apply process is great but you may not want to stop there.  What about the candidates that don’t complete the apply process but do decide to join your Talent Network?  Since you are able to engage with them, it’s possible to reach out and ask them why they didn’t complete the apply process (and encourage them to apply).

This information has the potential to be very insightful in understanding the negative aspects of your candidate experience and is something you should consider trying to do with your current recruiting systems.

As you begin capturing the data above, it’s important to look at it in concert with your other metrics.  Each data point tells only part of the story and by viewing all the data, you can start to form a picture of what’s working and what’s not working in your candidate experience.


Do you have other ways that you can measure the candidate experience?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

7 responses to “Measuring the Candidate Experience”

  1. Chris, I’m reading lots of good will and enthusiasm between the lines of what you’ve written and the link Nick points to touches on important points about applicant willingness to provide negative or positive data, yet I’m thinking sort of cynically about companies implementing the type of survey you suggest.

    The idea that occurs to me regarding your surveying suggestion(s) is that Glassdoor’s section on interviews attempts to report on candidate experience and the info is only as good as the motivation to share that’s behind it – for instance, some of the people who post comments to Glassdoor are currently employed and satisfied, but many more may be disgruntled former interviewees and/or former employees and no one who posts on Glassdoor feels burdened to do so. Yet companies hoping to attract highly valued talent should realize adding a survey layer to the candidate experience could be prohibitive as those potential candidates would most likely not spend their time participating – and other applicants who’d already hit the “apply now” buttons and then disappeared into an ATS black hole would resent not being considered for employment and if they were to fill out surveys, that flavor of resentment could influence results.

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