How to Measure Candidate Experience

Viktor Nordmark
9 October, 2019

If you're reading this, you probably know that every applicant to your job ads is like a micro-influencer for your employer brand. Research shows that between 55% and 70% share details (positive and negative) about their recruitment experience online on sites like Glassdoor, which have a huge impact on your overall brand perception.

If you're providing a positive experience for candidates you'll gain advantages such as higher acceptance rates and more qualified applicants when recruiting. But if the experience is negative on the other hand, the consequences can be severe. A large part of what is considered your employer brand is built from experiences during the recruitment process and has a big impact on what level of talent you're able to attract.

That means that improving your candidate experience will most likely improve the public opinion of your company and your recruiting. Not to mention how much time and resources you can save from having a good recruitment process.

Measure, Measure,Measure…

Measuring your candidate experience is all about knowing what candidates say about you and your hiring process from start to finish. That is, from the first pageview on your ad until the applicant receives either a rejection-letter or an offer.

Getting the best possible data increases your chances of catching strengths and weaknesses throughout every step in your talent acquisition process.

Negative feedback can be hard to handle, but necessary to pick up as soon as possible to avoid more. Rather than finding a bad review with 13,000 views on Glassdoor 4 months later, it's better that feedback comes to you directly. Reversing a bad image can be a tall order.

Setting up a good measurement system takes time and can be very complex. But there are great tools out there that can help you simplify the task. Remember to enable for both quantitative feedback (net promoter score) and qualitative (open text or in-person discussions).

Candidate Experience

Getting Valuable Feedback  -  Tips

It's crucial to minimize the number of questions and keep them relevant to get good responses throughout the hiring process.

In terms of timing, it makes sense to ask candidates for feedback as they exit the process and not in every step. Save important overall questions for candidates that make it through to the end and not annoy them with too many feedback requests along the way. Applicants that are screened before the interview step are a better choice when asking about the applicant page.
Keep in mind that bias is directly correlated to the applicant's success in the process. Rejected applicants often paint a more negative picture whereas offered and hired candidates often dress up the process to delight.

What you should look for is actionable data. Data that says something meaningful about specific details in your hiring and interview process.

Responses in line with:

"The interview process sucked" and "The best recruitment process I've ever been in" can generally be excluded from the results if a describing motivation is lacking.

When to Ask

A week or two after receiving the rejection is generally a good time to ask for feedback. The disappointment of not making it to the next step has decreased from a presumably high level.

Still, don't expect to have a high response rate since there is no real incentive for rejects to respond.

To get good response rates, it can be a good idea to inform about the evaluation during the hiring process and how much it means to you to get feedback.

The Recruitment Funnel

A good place to start when setting up a measuring system is to frame your recruitment funnel. Most likely, your process looks something similar to this:

Recruitment Funnel

From there you can start planning what tools you will use to measure and what questions you want answers to in each step. As soon as you start seeing some figures roll in it's time to start optimizing every step to build a well-oiled talent acquisition machine. Keep improving even minor details in your hiring process. Many small things combined form a great overall talent experience.

For more info on measuring steps in the recruitment funnel, check out this video:

Before we go into best practices for every step, we can't stress enough the importance of providing excluded talent with a notification about their termination.

Tools Needed

A Web analytics platform - Pure metrics are very important and best measured with a traditional web analytics tool such as Google Analytics or similar.

A good feedback tool - Onsite and email. The most valuable insights can't be found in pure metrics. Try looking for an answer to 'why' in order to inform your companys' brand strategy and external communication.

Session recording software - See how talent move throughout your career pages to get insights on how to improve them. Use a tool like Hotjar here.

Social media monitor - Understanding what is being said about you on social media can make all the difference. Use HootSuite or similar.

Now, let's dive into what you should look out for in every step.

Stage # 1  -  Career Page Visits

Your career page is all about selling your company and to get people to apply or share it with friends. An important piece of the puzzle that deserves close attention.
So, is it easy to navigate? Does it have a clear CTA? Are all links working? Is the form intuitive?


Unique visitors - How many are finding their way to your page? A direct effect of how successful you are in marketing your job ads, promoting your company culture and employer brand.

Application Abandon-Rate - How many start filling out an application to later abandon it? If the numbers are high you might have a too complicated form.
Conversions - Applications sent.
Conversion Rate - Of all visitors to your page, how many are actually sending in their application?
Referring Domain - Where are people coming from and how are they finding your page?

Visitor Persona Demographics - What kind of people are we attracting to your page and why?

Stage # 2  -  Applications Received

It's important to understand all aspects of the application process to make the process as streamlined for the candidate as possible. On the other hand, if you have many applications, you'll need a process that supports you in the first screening.

Depending on the scale of your recruitment, you'll need to make a compromise between a fast process and not reaching candidates with limited time.


Total Number of Applications.

Time to Apply - From start to send.

Qualified Applications - How many received applications are actually qualified according to the requirements?

Applicant Persona - What kind of talent are applying and why?

Application Page Impression -What's the overall impression of the page?

Reason Behind Application - What's driving the person to send the application?

Referring Person or Company - Are people within your organization referring their contacts or not? If not, that's a bad sign.

Stage # 3 / 4  -  Interview 1 & 2

During the interview process is a good opportunity to either ask candidates directly or send them a survey with open-ended questions to get qualitative feedback on the recruiters and the ad itself.

Number of Candidates qualified for offer

Job description - How well-formulated are the job ads?

Recruiter professionality level - How well do the recruiters reflect the company image? Are they well prepared for the interviews? Do they ask relevant questions?

Communication - How well do we communicate where we are in the process?

Feedback - Did we provide the candidate with good feedback?

Stage # 4  -  Offered Candidates

Offered candidates should have a strong urge to join the company. Information regarding perks and benefits as well as cultural aspects and direct responsibilities should be well communicated and anchored to avoid early exits.


Benefits - How well do we promote our company benefits?

Culture - Is the candidate familiar with the culture and how can we be sure if he or she is a fit?

Responsibilities - Is the candidate fully informed of what responsibilities the position entails?

Stage # 5  -  Hired Candidates

Here's your opportunity to collect valuable feedback on the entire process up until the start of the onboarding process. Make sure you take it.


Overall - How is the process experienced as a whole? (promoter score)

Referrals - What is the likelihood of applying again and/or referring others to apply?

Matched Expectations - Did the job description match the actual job? (A few weeks in)

Taking the candidate experience to the next step

The latest advancements in artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) technology have already started to manifest into a great set of tools for boosting the candidate experience.

In a perfect world, you would call or speak in person with everyone who's been part of your hiring process. But that is extremely time-damnding and seldom feasable.

Mundane tasks as answering common questions, keeping the candidates informed, screening resumes and even conducting the initial interview are being outsourced to AI-powered solutions that not only save you time and money, but more imporantly, makes sure all applicants in your process are threated like kings.

Get your inspiration and learn more in this great post covering everything you should know about AI recruitment:

Hubert blog guide to ai recruiting
Viktor Nordmark
9 October, 2019

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