Three Points to Think About When Starting a Candidate NPS Program

September 21, 2020 Nick Martin

First published on LinkedIn

At the core of an engaging, connected and personal candidate experience is the respectful treatment of the candidate, treating them the same way that we treat our customers. Indeed, for many businesses, candidates are also customers – or at least potential customers.  

Take for example Virgin Media. It tracked the consumer behavior of rejected candidates. It estimated that 18% of their applicants were also customers. Among those who applied for jobs, 123,000 applicants were rejected, of which 6% ended their Virgin Media subscriptions. At $60 a month, this amounts to $5.4 million a year loss in revenue. Virgin Media dug deeper into the cause of candidates terminating their subscriptions and found it was largely due to poor candidate experiences, for example candidates being received by grumpy receptionists, having bad interview experiences, and experiencing lags in response times (Steiner, 2017). 

Increasingly, candidate experience is measured through the development (and monitoring) of Candidate Net Promoter Scores (NPS®).  

If you are starting out in this area, seeking to measure and collect data about how candidates perceive your hiring process, there are three key things to keep in mind.

Take a long term view 

If you’re going to get real benefit from the data you collect and the Candidate NPS scores you obtain, you need to commit to the long haul. If you dip in and out of the project, it will be hard to track your progress and see the difference you are making with each tweak to what you do.  

Start with an initial benchmark and then make tweaks to different aspects. Once you have established your initial score, analyze the impact of the improvements you are making as you collect new data. Dedication to collecting and consistency in how you collect the data is key. If you collect data in fits and starts, or for some campaigns and then switch to others, the value of that data will start to diminish. Quite simply, the larger the longitudinal set, the greater the value. 

Monitor what is being said 

There is no single place that a disengaged or disgruntled candidate shares their negative perceptions of your hiring process; it can be across many platforms. Where they post might vary, but there is no question around if they will post! You need to be on top of this, monitoring the places that candidates post and share their thoughts. Websites such as Glassdoor are popular, but also track social media, company name hashtags and other review sites depending on your industry. A strong NPS program monitors these risks. 

Invest time to decode   

You have the opportunity to capture and generate large volumes of data through your Candidate NPS program. This can lend amazing insights, if approached with purpose and a plan to understand and learn from the data. Be prepared for this, and define the way in which you will capture, analyze, and review this data. In the wrong or inexperienced hands, this can be misrepresented, misunderstood or manipulated. With the know-how, the processes to track the impact of changes to the hiring activity and the time to get under the skin of the data, you can filter out the noise and tune into the effectiveness of your strategy.  

You can read more about developing a Candidate NPS program, in our latest handbook, How NPS Can Revolutionize Talent Strategy and find out more about what we see as the elements of a great candidate experience here


Steiner, K. (March, 2017). Bad Candidate Experience Cost Virgin Media $5M Annually – Here is How They Turned That Around. Available at:

NPS is a registered trademark 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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