Almost two years ago, the Talent Acquisition Team (Technology) at Zalando began their work on Candidate Experience (CX) research. We were determined to learn our tech candidates’ needs and expectations, and identify the factors that influence their experience the most. This research allows us to identify how we can deliver a superb and meaningful candidate experience and thereby continue to strengthen our employer brand, securing a steady flow of strong candidates.
The Net Promoter Score
To quantify the candidate experience, we chose the Net Promoter Score (NPS) method. This method has been used for years by our colleagues in Marketing to measure the level of Zalando’s customer experience.
In the context of recruiting, we speak about the Candidate Net Promoter Score (cNPS). The candidate experience survey question we ask then is: “How likely are you to recommend your friends and acquaintances to apply at Zalando?” Respondents check their answer on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 is „I strongly do not recommend” and 10 is „I strongly recommend”.
Those who checked answers between 9 or 10 are referred to as “Promoters”, those who checked 7 or 8 as “Passives”, and those who checked between 0 and 6 as “Detractors”. An NPS score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of the Detractors from the percentage of Promoters.
We were quite satisfied with our first ever cNPS score. Candidates enjoyed the personal contact with our recruiters as well as their friendliness and professionalism.
For areas such as the interview process, interviewer interaction, and process speed, we received some critique. We embarked on the journey to action some of the improvement suggestions that were given to us. Here are a few of the initiatives that we’ve put into place.
First of all, we launched an online Coding Challenge as part of our recruitment process for Software Engineering roles. This way we could ensure a fair and consistent evaluation of the coding skills of candidates.
Second, we increased the number of tech interviewers, clustering them in the interviewer groups and thereby enabling a more efficient scheduling of interviews. This also allowed for a number of possible interviewer replacements. This resulted in fewer interview cancellations.
Third, we helped tech candidates better understand what we will be evaluating in interviews and help them prepare. We sent them a link to an inspiring article by Eric Bowman, our VP Engineering, while candidates for leadership positions received Leadership Interview Guidelines.
In order to improve interviewer interaction, we introduced interviewer training consisting of in-class courses and interview shadowing. Throughout this training, we discuss the impact of interviewers on the candidate experience, e.g. the importance of being on time, of asking relevant questions, and creating an environment enabling candidates to present themselves best.
To tackle the issue of process speed, we streamlined the coordination of the interviews and encouraged recruiters to have weekly alignment meetings with Hiring Managers to discuss each candidate and their recruitment progress. This way, most of our candidates could receive timely feedback and status updates.
Over time, the combination of our actions has led to an incredible improvement of the cNPS. Comparing Year on Year, the cNPS score improved by 19 points between end of HY1 2016 and HY1 2017.
Our goal for HY2 is to continue increasing the NPS score by listening to our tech candidates. They are the best source of ideas that are worth implementing.
Once you, as our candidate, receive the invitation to complete our candidate survey, please do not hesitate to provide us with your feedback. We value all responses, from satisfied to less satisfied tech candidates.
If you have any questions about our survey design and our further experiences with conducting CX research, feel free to get in contact via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, I would love to hear from you.