Why Candidate Net Promoter Scores (NPS®) Really Matter

September 10, 2020 Nick Martin

First Published on LinkedIn

The Net Promoter Score – or NPS® – started its life in 2003 to help companies measure and evaluate customer loyalty. By asking just one standard question, organizations are able to effectively monitor the impact of their customer engagement strategies – and benchmark their results against others.

Nearly twenty years later NPS has made the jump into the candidate experience arena.

Why? Organizations have begun to realize the significant impact that a good candidate experience has on talent attraction – and a poor candidate experience has – one just needs to review social media posts to understand the grassroots style impact.

4 Reasons Why Candidate NPS is an Important Measure to Take

1. It measures candidate perception.

You can evaluate your hiring process as perceived by your applicants and the likelihood of them recommending you – and word-of-mouth candidate referral is likely to be as important to a candidate as it is to a consumer when purchasing a product.

We already know that tales of candidate experiences can travel quickly through the talent market – be they positive or negative. Researchers at IBM Smarter Workforce Institute found that sixty-two percent of applicants who were satisfied with their candidate experiences recommended the hiring organization to others regardless of whether they were offered a job. But, when candidates had an unsatisfactory experience, only twenty-eight percent recommended the company.

Of course, building a good candidate experience is not just to protect you from negative stories, it makes sound commercial sense too. Often applicants are customers too and you want them to continue to purchase from and promote your brand.

2. You can measure the progress you are making.

As a standard metric, you can benchmark your start point and measure the progress made as you design and tweak your hiring process. This can be useful evidence to leadership of the changes made and the return on investment.

3. You can evaluate all the steps of the candidate experience.

A robust NPS data-collection program will let you consider all the steps of the candidate experience. For instance, you can take pulse scores at different points in the process and understand the nuances to the overall candidate NPS. An overall, positive candidate experience should be considered on par with the importance of using psychometrically valid assessments.

4. It helps you reach new talent.

Creating a positive buzz about your candidate experience will help your talent attraction efforts. We know that potential applicants check out what others say about your organization – and likely place more value in this feedback than what you may say about yourself.

A Reminder of the Mechanics Behind NPS

NPS can be as simple as asking one question, categorizing responders into one of three groups: promoters, passives and detractors. Each candidate is asked on a scale of 1 to 10 how likely they are to recommend a company to people that they know. This measures an overall sentiment about the employer. Ratings above 8 are given by ”Promoters”, raters of 7 and 8 are the ‘Passives’, and those that rate the company 6 and below are the “Detractors”. 

To calculate, add up the responses from each group to get your overall total, then take each individual group total (e.g., Total number of Detractors) and divide by the overall total to get the group percentages. Next, subtract the percentage of Detractor responses from the percentage of Promoter responses. This gives you the Net Promoter Score and it ranges from -100 to 100.

Candidate Experience: Your Opportunity to Show What is Important

Your hiring process is more than a vehicle to spot the best talent for your organization. It lets you showcase your organizational culture and values – and highlight what is important to you. Candidates want to feel an affinity with their potential employer and see a good fit.

By focusing on, and committing to, the design of an engaging and positive candidate experience you are ultimately showing how you treat people – be they customers, applicants or employees. 

Your Turn

As assessment developers, we continuously create new ways to enhance the candidate experience while making sure that the key psychometric principles are still met.

To explore how we can help strengthen your candidate experience or measure your candidate NPS, contact us or download our ebook: How Net Promoter Scores Can Revolutionize Talent Strategy.

NPS is a registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc.


About the Author

Nick Martin

Dr. Nick Martin leads the Global Products & Analytics team, part of Aon’s Assessment Solutions Group and is responsible for the development of next generation assessment solutions and predictive analytics. He leads a team responsible for leveraging the latest science and practical findings to provide Aon’s diverse client base with assessment and analytical solutions that meet their hiring needs, helping to ensure their candidates’ experiences support their overall business mission and goals. Nick has extensive experience developing and implementing assessment-based hiring programs, as well as assessment tools including cognitive ability and personality tests, structured interviews, role-play-based simulations for positions spanning entry-level to C-suite executive roles, and 360-degree and high-potential leadership assessments. Prior to joining Aon, Nick worked as a Federal consultant for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and served as a program manager for the USA Hire selection program and has also worked as an independent consultant. He received his Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and a M.A. in Human Resource Management from The George Washington University. He has co-authored book chapters and numerous articles published in academic journals and the popular press and presented at numerous professional conferences. In addition, he is a member of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the Austin Area I-O Psychology Association, and the American Psychological Association.

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