What Candidate Experience Says About Your Hiring Process

Candidate experience is something hiring teams can measure with both quantitative and qualitative recruiting metrics.

Candidate experience may seem like a subjective thing to measure, but it’s not. Hiring teams have both quantitative and qualitative metrics at their disposal for measuring their applicant pipeline. Combined, these metrics offer a fairly good assessment of the experience candidates have in your hiring process.

What is the candidate experience metric? 

Candidate experience isn’t a single metric so much as a combination of many data points. These include time-to-fill, time spent in each phase of the hiring process, and drop-out rates, to name a few. They also include feedback that companies collect through candidate surveys. By analyzing data on every phase of the hiring process, companies can identify and fix issues for a better overall candidate experience.

Where it goes wrong

Candidate experience can derail in lots of different places in your applicant pipeline. Some of the reasons for derailment have to do with process, while others have to do with the realities of recruiting.

Process-related missteps are things like overly long applications and time-consuming assessment tests. Also, disorganized interviews, lengthy time of hiring processes (i.e., time spent in each phase of the process), and overall time-to-fill. 

One of the most common process-related missteps in the hiring process is communication breakdown. Maybe candidates have interviews but don’t get follow-up emails to let them know how the interviews went or whether there are next steps. Or they get a follow-up email but then nothing else for weeks. 

No one enjoys getting ghosted. Eventually, candidates don’t even know whether the hiring process is still ongoing. Meanwhile, a carefully crafted communication strategy with regular touchpoints ensures that candidates don’t feel left in the dark.

Here’s where the realities of recruiting come in. Regular touchpoints take time. But time isn’t something that recruiters have in abundance. Not with a long list of positions to fill and their company moving faster than ever through the hiring process. Besides, no one likes to give bad news. It’s understandable if a recruiter stalls before sending a rejection email or stumbles a little on regular touchpoints.

Ultimately, there are many ways communication between a hiring team and a candidate can break down. And, yet, communication is just one aspect of a complex hiring process. 

How to measure candidate experience

Measuring candidate experience isn’t actually all that complicated. But it does take careful tracking and analysis of every phase of your hiring process.

If you want to know whether your assessment test is confusing or too much work for busy job seekers, for example, look at your assessment completion rates. Same thing with any other phase of the hiring process. If candidates are dropping out, it’s a fair bet that there’s an issue. And once you know there’s an issue, you can figure it out and correct it.

Here are some of the more common candidate experience metrics to track:

  • Time of hiring processes
    • How long it takes to get through each phase
  • Time to fill
    • Duration from when a job post goes live to the day a candidate accepts
  • Time to inform
    • Duration from the last contact to an offer or rejection
  • Application completion rate
  • Applicants per opening
  • Assessment completion rate
  • Drop-out rate
    • Leaving at any point after submitting an application
  • Offer acceptance rate
  • Retention

By tracking and analyzing metrics for every phase of the hiring process, you can identify issues anywhere in your pipeline. Once you address the bottlenecks and miscues, you can offer candidates a good experience throughout the process.

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