When to ask candidates for feedback

We’ll explain how we look at the right moments to ask for feedback on the candidate experience

In this post, we’ll explain how we look at the moments to ask for feedback on the candidate experience. It’s important to get it right in order to get valuable feedback from the moments that matter.

Let us start with the wisdom that “a picture is worth a thousand words”. The picture that made a lasting impression was presented by Stephen Reilly from Mott MacDonald during a presentation at the HR conference UNLEASH in London and is as simple as it is powerful. Here you see a snapshot of the slide where two candidates are represented:


The Holy Grail

One is hired and one is rejected and they’re both smiling. It’s described as The Holy Grail for a reason, as this is probably not something you will fully achieve, but keep aspiring for. And we know from our rich benchmark data that having smiling candidates after they’ve been rejected is hard.

But it’s THE thing to aim for. As rejected candidates outnumber hired candidates by multiples, and as a result, they determine your reputation as a company to apply with. If your candidates are also your clients (think consumer goods, retail, telecom, but also B2B in many cases) then a poor candidate experience can also lead to a serious negative business impact. It’s the challenge to do it right while doing it wrong might almost be the standard. After all, recruitment is sometimes referred to as a ‘factory of disappointments’.

Our benchmark data show that putting a smile on the face of hired candidates is pretty easy, with a positive NPS of 60. Naturally, rejected candidates ar less happy, although in the stage after the interview there is still a positive NPS of around 15.

So in order to achieve The Holy Grail care about your rejected candidates!

With Starred you can ask your candidates for feedback from the moment they leave the funnel. In the majority of cases that is after rejection and in some cases after the hiring decision. In case your candidates choose to withdraw from the recruitment process (either after interview or offer), you can also ask these candidates for feedback using Starred.

Here’s why

We alluded to the most important reason already: the rejected candidate is the one to worry about. They will tell others about their experience. If that happens online, on Glassdoor, for example, it will hinder you forever. They could also very well be your customer or subscriber, but maybe not any more… because of their poor experience. That could hurt your business substantially as we learned from the Virgin Media case.

Rejected candidates will tell you the truth. As they don’t have any interest in sugarcoating anything they’ll tell you what they think is wrong. And that’s what you want: learn.

Based on experience we know that candidates that hadn’t yet been rejected but already received an invitation for feedback gave five stars on pretty much every question and would most likely recommend you. But if they’d known they’d been rejected at the time we know the benchmark of that score is an NPS of around 15.

We speak to companies that would like to ask their candidates for feedback on each and every stage. Considering your candidate is hoping to go through to the next round, you will be receiving biased and false positive feedback, which defeats the point of measuring candidate experience in the first place. Besides, asking your candidate to score and comment on their experience after every stage is quite a heavy burden.

Finally, if you measure and analyze the feedback the way it’s intended the Starred benchmark data make sense, and you’ll contribute to that benchmark with sincere scores that will be comparable with market data of all the responses from candidates having had the same experience with ending the process.

That’s why it’s our approach to ask candidates from the moment their application process has come to an end.