Candidate Net Promoter Score

The Ultimate Guide

Simon Werner-Zankl
Oct 24, 2017 · 7 min read

A short background to NPS and CNPS (Candidate Net Promoter Score)

Talking to customers I often ask them: What do your customers think about you? They start chatting away about how satisfied their customers are 😃 or when someone actually wasn’t that happy ☹️. They then fixed something and got their unhappy customers back on track 👍. Most are proud of collecting feedback and measuring their customers NPS(Net promoter score). Some collect feedback for the sole purpose of collecting data, some act when customers are not satisfied, and others collect this every second month(that’s too often, isn't it?) or once a year.

The thing I want to high light here is that almost everyone I ask collects this feedback from customers. They ask their customers how happy they are and measure the number of customers that would recommend their products or services to others. The benchmark here is the Net Promoter Score question:

How likely is it that you would recommend X to a friend or colleague? You answer on a scale 0–10.

Talking to customers I also ask them: What do your candidates think about you? Interesting here is that no one knows. Or some tell a story when some candidate sent a mail to show appreciation but no one collects this feedback systematically, although this can be done automatically using e.g our tool

So the Net Promoter Score runs down to the single question stated above, and is, of course, applicable to HR and recruiting as well by using Candidate NPS. Let's continue and have a look at the birth of NPS. Spoiler alert: It will help you grow your business and that is a fact through research. Keep reading.

The research behind NPS —” The One Number You Need to Grow” 📈

Net Promoter Score is the outcome of an by author Frederick F. Reichheld. Reichheld has totally changed the way companies think and act when collecting feedback from customers largely due to this statement from Reichheld:

“It turned out that a single survey question can, in fact, serve as a useful predictor of growth.”

Powerful, no doubt about it. Reichheld continues and also states that:

“…the percentage of customers who were enthusiastic enough to refer a friend or colleague — perhaps the strongest sign of customer loyalty — correlated directly with differences in growth rates among competitors.”

The implications of this are that the Net Promoter Score is a relative measure to predict growth. So to master this you need to understand these fundamental principles:

  • a plumbers NPS score cannot be compared to the NPS of a real estate agent
  • a plumbers NPS score can be compared to other plumbers NPS scores
  • if compared correctly the ones with the highest NPS scores will have higher growth rates than its competitors

Of course, there are other factors concerning the growth rate of a company but in the extensive study by Reichheld he concludes that:

“customer loyalty is clearly one of the most important drivers of growth.”

If you're still not convinced that improving the NPS is one of the best ways to improve customer loyalty (which will give you a higher growth rate compared to competitors, please keep reading ).

If you see and accept the connection between customer loyalty and growth, through my short summary of an extensive study 😎. Then it’s time to keep reading.

Calculating the NPS ☹️😐🙂

The NPS score is a number from -100 to +100 calculated from the principle of Promoters minus Detractors. This is best explained using an example of Steve Jobs Inc.

Steve Jobs Inc sells phones to 1000 customers who all get the NPS question: “How likely are you to recommend a friend or colleague to buy a phone from Steve Jobs Inc?”

This is the numerical responses from those 1000 customers:

  • 0: 10%
  • 1: 2%
  • 2: 2%
  • 3: 2%
  • 4: 2%
  • 5: 2%
  • 6: 10%
  • 7: 10%
  • 8: 10%
  • 9: 20%
  • 10: 30%

Now we need to sum the Detractors(0–6), the Passives(7–8) and the Promoters(9–10) which gives us:

Detractors: 30%

Passives: 20%

Promoters: 50%

Let’s get back to the formula of Promoters minus Detractors= 50–30 =20. The Net Promoter Score for Steve Jobs Inc is 20. Is 20 a good or bad NPS? We cannot say. 20 is good and will indicate higher growth than competitors if competitors like Android Inc, Zuckerberg Inc(ok they don’t sell phones but someday maybe…) and Google Phone Inc have a lower NPS score.

That’s enough about the NPS. Let’s take a look at the CNPS(candidate net promoter score) and what HR/recruiting can learn from the NPS way of growing your company.

Our early conclusions from the CNPS research

It is to early to see any correlation between candidate loyalty and growth

The Reichheld study that ended up connecting the dots between customer loyalty and growth was conducted over the three year period from 1999–2002. Our study has been done with data from 201609–201709. Therefore the data is not valid to draw that type of conclusions from, yet. I promise you we will get there and I will definitely tell you when we get there( to receive it when we get there). Note: We are now in May 2019 collecting data from on average 31 000 candidates/month and growing. You can read more about how to work data-driven with the candidate experience !

The instant effect from starting to measure CNPS is that it goes up ☝️

Actually not that surprised that the instant effect is that it goes up when CNPS is measured after interviews. The CNPS is so closely connected to the experience of the recruiter you meet and the recruiter represents the company in interviews.

A customer told us that the first month after starting to collect CNPS from candidates the recruiters started discussing, working with improvements and internally making small changes that affected the CNPS in a positive direction. Just by starting to measure your recruiters will bring up your CNPS.

Recruiters want to work with improvements using CNPS

How will recruiters react if they get a bad CNPS or bad feedback from candidates? Will they deny the facts or will they take action? They will most certainly take action and roll up their sleeves to start improving!

If you, for example, use to collect feedback from candidates and to measure the CNPS all feedback is collected in the exact same way. The quality of the data collected systematically and the comparison made against the industry standard that we offer in Trustcruit gives the data validation and the ability to measure performance over time.

Note! The CNPS(Candidate net promoter score)measures how many promoters, passives, and detractors your brand has after candidates have gone through your recruitment process. Other things like quality in finding right talent, metrics for recruiters working in staffing and so on is not measured using the CNPS. CNPS tells you how many candidates you turn into promoters. A key metric for measuring the strength in your employer brand.

Candidates want recruiters to work with improvements

We’ve been touching this already but the best thing with recruiters is their willingness to work with improving the recruitment process and themselves! This stands out in our extensive interviews and the research we do every week at Trustcruit.

Our recommendations on how to use CNPS

Compare the CNPS within your teams

As I have mentioned the CNPS is a comparison score to measure the candidate experience by finding out the number of candidates you convert into promoters. Just measuring the CNPS gives you only a value which you can work to improve. Having a benchmark within the company is really good so you know which recruiters that are high performers — that turns most candidates into promoters.

Compare CNPS externally

So you compare within the company but how about comparing externally? If our recruiters range from a CNPS 20–40, how does that stand compared to other recruiters, working at other companies? If they score 0–20 you really stand out. If they score 40–60 you really need to improve your overall CNPS. I often get the question of how you get CNPS scores from other recruiters and one example is using a standard tool for collecting CNPS, or download a free report on .

Discuss in weekly/monthly meetings with your recruiters

Almost every one of our customers discusses the CNPS in weekly or monthly meetings just to get the mindset of continuously treating every candidate in the best possible way. Talking about the mindset and how that can help you and your recruiters to turn more candidates into promoters, I recommend reading . This article presents a small but powerful shift in mindset that will make you go from an old way of thinking about recruiting, to a new and modern way.

Ask for the recruiters CNPS score when recruiting

Did the recruiter measure CNPS before applying for this position? Ask for the recruiters personal CNPS score. If it is important to work with improving your employer brand and turning candidates into promoters, you will need recruiters that have this skill.

Why you should measure CNPS

A metric to help individual recruiters improve

This is so powerful! Working closely together with your recruiters and showing them their own CNPS and comparing them both internally and externally will give your brand more promoters 💪

More candidates choose you instead of competing employers

This could be compared with the word-of-mouth effect. Promoters are those that actively talk about your brand in a positive way to people they meet. So start turning every candidate into a promoter, it will give you a huge advantage 😎

Promoters help boost your employer brand

More promoters, more positive thoughts about you as an employer. Of course, you want to have the key to attracting great talent.


As always I am more than happy to discuss recruiting and the possibilities with CNPS further so feel free to comment, hook up with me on or send me an email: simon@trustcruit.com 👋

PS. If you found this helpful and want to read more like this article-please Clap 👇 or follow this blog “Data-driven HR”.

Candidate experience analytics

This is a resource center for articles about candidate experience

Simon Werner-Zankl

Written by

Passionate about data driven HR, startups and true believer that passion never fails.

Candidate experience analytics

This is a resource center for articles about candidate experience

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade