At Change State, we firmly believe your current and prospective employees are your best customers, yet when it comes to collecting feedback from these audiences, a host of special considerations applies. Unlike a business’s traditional “customers”, prospective employees are both evaluating your suitability as a potential employer while also actively selling themselves as potential employees. In this way the candidate experience is more like a courtship than a traditional “purchase”, with each party simultaneously trying to put their best foot forward, while silently evaluating the other.
Many forward-thinking organizations have implemented candidate experience surveys to gain real-time insights into their recruitment processes, but getting honest, candid feedback from a candidate requires special care. We’ve put together a list of the top three best practices to ensure you’re getting the most out of your candidate experience surveys.
1. Candidate Experience Surveys Should be Truly Anonymous
Imagine you’re on a first date with someone you really like. The conversation went well, dinner was great, and it seems you had some real chemistry. After the date, you receive a text message: “How did you like my dress?”
Problem is, you didn’t really care for the dress, yet it’s just a dress, and you’d really like to see this person again. In this situation being honest feels tricky because it could actually cost you that second date. In candidate experience surveys, a similar dynamic is at play. Even if the initial interview went well, most recruitment processes could use some improvement. And yet asking a candidate who presumably wants to work for you to point out your deficiencies feels risky.
This is why we strongly believe candidate experience surveys should be completely anonymous, and candidates should be assured of their privacy before, during, and after survey completion. Partnering with a third party to collect the data can add another level of “separation” that is likely to increase the chances of receiving candid, actionable feedback.
2. Limit the Number of Feedback Touchpoints
To their credit, good TA teams are always asking how they can be doing better. This is an admirable position to hold, and yet we find surveying candidates too often can actually undermine your employer brand by, ironically, creating a poor candidate experience. Asking “how do you like us now” after every single interaction in the candidate journey can be off-putting to prospective talent, especially when they are often in the dark about how THEY are doing until they either receive and offer or not. It’s a bit like asking “do you want to see me again?” after every moment of a first date. Understandable? Yes. Something you should do if you’re serious about dating the person? Probably not.
Do you really need individual NPS scores for every interview in the process? Is a candidate’s affinity for you as an employer likely to shift dramatically from moment to moment? On both counts, the answer is “probably not.” By actively limiting the number of requests for candidate feedback, organizations demonstrate they truly value the candidate’s time and opinions, while forcing themselves to focus on areas of their recruitment process where actionable feedback is most likely to be collected.
3. Look at Key Performance Indicators by Candidate Status
So you’ve collected a bunch of candidate experience data, and if you’re lucky, maybe you’ve even invested in a polished dashboard to visualize your data as it comes in. And yet the data seems to be all over the place. One month your NPS score is up 5 pts, while the next month it’s inexplicably back down lower than it was when you began tracking. Is this because your recruitment process has “swung” that dramatically in such a short period? It’s certainly possible, but the more likely explanation is that your candidate mix has changed.
Not surprisingly, rejected candidates are more likely to share negative opinions of your organization, while those who have been offered (and accepted) a position are more likely to exude positivity for your organization. This is why we encoruage our clients to keep a close eye on their recruitment funnel as context for evaluating candidate experience feedback.
Perhaps in month one you started sourcing candiates from a new job board with a much better applicant:hire ratio. It stands to reason you’d have fewer rejected candidates completing your candidate experience surveys during this time, and a greater number of accepted candidates. Failing to keep an eye on this respondent mix can lead TA teams to make false conclusions about the efficiacy (or inefficacy) of their recruitment processes.
This is why we urge our clients to look at their key candidate experience metrics by candidate disposition. At minimum, rejected/and drop-outs should be analyzed separately from candidates who have been offered (or accepted) a position. In other cases, organizations find it useful to look at candidates based on internal “fit” scores. Candidates that you actively want to attract, regardless of whether they accept the position or not, may warrant their own analytic “view” that is undiluted by candidates you would do well to attract fewer of.
Want to learn more about how Change State can help you implement a candidate experience feedback program? Contact us.