Candidate experience is all about how jobseekers perceive your hiring process — and it can have a major impact on your organization.
If you successfully cultivate a positive one, you can look forward to an efficient talent acquisition pipeline that lets you easily attract great fit employees, strengthen your employer brand, and reduce hiring (and turnover) costs — to name just a few.
But improving candidate experience isn’t a once and done kind of thing. No matter how far you’ve come with your hiring process, there’s always another stone you could turn over to keep pace with candidate expectations and recruiting best practices.
In this guide, we’ll look at seven metrics to track to keep your candidate experience on the up and up with incremental improvements over time.
Let’s get started.
Candidate drop-off rate tracks how many candidates drop out of the hiring process on their own, rather than through rejection. For example, if a candidate begins an application but abandons it partway through, that is candidate drop-off. Alternatively, if a candidate submits an application but doesn’t respond to your recruiting team about advancing into your interview process, that would also count as drop-off.
By tracking candidate drop-off rates, you can pinpoint potential problems in your hiring process — if you see a spike in the number of candidates abandoning their applications before they submit, you might want to reconsider your application requirements.
And if candidates aren’t responding when you reach out about the next step in the process, you may need to reach out sooner, adjust the way you communicate with them, or set some expectations about the timeframe they’ll hear back from you within the application itself or the submission confirmation.
Even when you extend an offer to a candidate, there’s no guarantee that they’ll say yes. The ratio of how many offers you make versus how many are accepted will give you your offer acceptance rate.
Of course there are variables in the offer acceptance rate equation that are fully up to the candidate, and therefore out of your control. Sometimes candidates receive a more competitive offer elsewhere, get cold feet about leaving their job — or it turns out they only wanted leverage for negotiating a promotion or raise at their current job.
But if your offer acceptance rate is trending downwards, you may want to look at some make or break factors in your candidate experience and ask yourself:
Was the job description for the role well-scoped and aligned to interview requirements?
Did your hiring process take the candidate’s time and energy for granted?
Did your interview process give hiring managers the confidence they needed to extend an offer within a reasonable timeline?
Were the compensation and benefits you offered competitive relative to the current market?
If candidates feel your hiring process is inefficient, confusing, or inconsiderate of their time and effort, they’ll understandably be less inclined to join your team.
Time to fill is considered a key performance metric for the hiring process, measuring exactly how long it takes to fill open positions at your company. Are you finding promising candidates on a reasonable timeline? Are they accepting your offers promptly?
If not, there’s a problem somewhere — and one worth fixing. A lengthy hiring process is one of the most common flaws in a company’s candidate experience. Talented job seekers hope to find gainful employment as quickly as possible. If you wait too long to make a decision, they may accept an offer from another employer who moved quicker.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should rush your hiring funnel. But it may be worth streamlining your recruiting process and finding ways to improve efficiency — especially if you’re a lean recruiting team.
Candidate experience doesn’t end once you’ve made a hire. During the onboarding stage, a new employee will continue to evaluate your company, just as you will continue to evaluate them.
As the name suggests, time to productivity measures how long it takes for a new employee to ramp up to full productivity. If the employee makes slow progress (or never reaches full productivity), they may have been the wrong person for the job. Alternatively, the source of the problem may be a poor approach to onboarding.
This is a crucial aspect of hiring to get right. A smooth onboarding stage is key to your company’s candidate experience — not to mention employee retention.
Pro Tip: One way to improve onboarding is to set up a public org chart for your company. This will help new employees understand how your company is structured and help you build a culture of transparency. Plus, your org chart can function as an employee directory, making it easier for new employees to get to know their colleagues.
After hiring a candidate, you can begin gauging how suited they are for the role. This metric will ultimately have the most long-term impact on your company’s success. A single bad hire can cost your organization in wasted time, premature employee turnover and lost productivity. If it becomes a pattern, it can spell disaster for any company.
If you’re consistently hiring low-quality employees, you may need to rethink your approach to recruiting. Keeping candidate experience at the center of your thinking will likely help you locate the underlying problems.
Finding the right employees is only the first step to building a strong staff at your company. Retaining them is equally important, as turnover costs will put an undue strain on any organization’s resources. We already touched on the importance of onboarding relative to the time to productivity metric, so what else can impact retention?
Low retention rates can be a symptom that you’re struggling to connect with the right candidates in the first place. If so, the solution may be to add more clarity to your candidate experience, from the job description to the interview and the final offer. This will help job seekers make an informed decision on whether your company is the right fit for them before they sign on the dotted line.
Another thing to consider is whether your employer branding accurately reflects your employee value proposition — if the lived experience of working at your company doesn’t match the impression candidates got during your hiring process, they may be tempted to seek out a more transparent employer.
Perhaps the easiest way to find out how job seekers feel about your company’s candidate experience is to ask them. Remember, candidate experience isn’t about how you perceive your hiring process — it’s about how the candidate perceives it.
A brief survey will highlight what you’re getting right in your hiring and where you could do even better. You can start with your current employees, but don’t be afraid to check with candidates who didn’t make the cut — especially if you took the time to share constructive feedback when they were rejected.
Ask them if they feel they were treated fairly by your hiring team and what improvements they suggest. Not only will this give you useful insights, but it will also show the candidate that you value their perspective and are actively trying to optimize your approach.
By using these candidate experience metrics, you can strengthen your company’s employer brand and build the team your organization needs to thrive.
If you're ready to optimize your hiring process for quality over quantity and unlock happier hiring managers, more motivated candidates, and better cultural fits for your organization —