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How Citrix Used Net Promoter Score To Improve Their Candidate Experience

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If you’re a little unsure about what Net Promoter Score is or how it can be used to improve the candidate experience, have a read of our other blogs, What is Net Promoter Score and How Can It Be Used By Recruiters? and 6 Reasons Why Recruiters Are Using NPS.

Citrix is a US software company reaching up to around 10,000 employees and still growing.

It’s clear that there is a lot of work to do when it comes to recruitment and engaging with candidates to help keep staffing levels high.

Melissa Thompson, the Executive Director of Talent, wanted to better measure the candidate experience within the organisation so that they could paint a clear picture of what makes a great candidate experience.

Whilst Citrix had not used Net Promoter Score to measure the candidate experience before, Melissa decided that it would be perfect fit for their needs.

Not only is it a one-question survey, which would increase the chances of a candidate actually completing it compared to a more extensive survey, but it also gave Citrix one metric that they could use to measure the candidate experience across the entire company.

So, starting in Q4, 2014, her team began emailing every candidate who came to an on-site interview this question, asking them to answer it on a 1-10 scale;

Based on your candidate experience, how likely are you to recommend a friend or colleague to apply for a job at Citrix?”

Below the question, candidates could also write comments about the score they gave. Additionally, candidates were asked in the email if they’d be willing to talk more about their experience, with many candidates saying yes.

Recruiters later called those people to get more detail on what they liked or didn’t like.

Overall, the response rate was high: 58 percent of candidates who were sent the email took the survey. That number was much higher than any previous candidate experience survey Citrix had sent.

Melissa’s marketing team told her that anything above zero was a good score and after the first set of results came in, candidates had given Citrix an NPS of 28 for their candidate experience.

Whilst this was a great result, it helped Citrix identify substantial room for improvement.

To do this, Melissa and her team went through the comments looking for problems they could address. Three in particular stood out:

  • Some hiring managers weren’t as prepared or professional as they should have been, including one hiring manager who was texting during an interview
  • There were too many interviews consisting of too many people (one candidate complained about having 10 interviews without being successful)
  • Candidates wanted to get detailed feedback after their interview if they didn’t get the job.

Melissa worked to address the two biggest complaints candidates had; unprepared hiring managers and candidates enduring too many interviews with too many different people.

The latter was relatively easy to fix. She instituted a new rule that candidates could only be interviewed four times, at most.

Melissa also made it clear to hiring managers that they were the ones to make the final hiring decision, and therefore should have fewer people interviewing a single candidate so that the decision was streamlined.

The other challenge – candidates complaining that hiring managers weren’t as prepared as they could be – was harder to solve. Melissa took a two-pronged approach, one geared to recruiters and one geared to hiring managers.

For recruiters, she required they explain to the hiring manager their role in the process during the intake meeting. That meant everything from making sure the job description was strong, posting the job advertisement on their LinkedIn profile, the importance of interviewing to ensuring a smooth onboarding process.

For hiring managers, she brought in a third-party to do training which revolved around how a great candidate experience can lead to landing the best candidates.

As a result of these improvements, Citrix’s NPS for candidate experience improved 10 points in three quarters from 28 to 38.

Whilst Melissa is not resting on her laurels yet, she gave this advice for any company thinking of implementing a similar scheme;

  • The way the NPS survey email looks matters. Citrix was able to increase their response rate by sending candidates a more professional, branded survey emails
  • Just because a candidate accepts an offer, doesn’t mean they loved the process. There were hired candidates who still gave Citrix a low NPS for candidate experience
  • If you call a detractor to get more feedback about how to improve the candidate experience, listen instead of talk. Rather than being defensive, just hear their complaints and thank them for their time
  • Tally the NPS once every quarter. This way, you have enough data to see if there are changes without letting it go too long
  • Most importantly, don’t just read the bad comments. Read the good ones too, or else you’ll go crazy.


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