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What is CNPS | Candidate Net Promoter Score 101

Fasna Savad

18 June 2021

5 min read

“How likely are you to recommend our Company to other Candidates?”


Well, there goes all your efforts to round up potential candidates down the drain.

With candidates more educated than ever by their rights as an employee, a simple number like these would easily hinder your effort to attract bright talents to your company.

Coming back to the question above, does it sound familiar to you?

Can’t recall? Well, here’s a hint:

How likely are you to recommend this Pizza to your friends?

Does this ring any bell?

The first question is a part of the Candidate Net Promoter Score (CNPS) Survey, while the latter, a part of the Net Promoter Score (NPS) Survey.

So how are they related?

In simple words, the CNPS is a distant cousin of the NPS and is now gaining more attention than ever.

If your deep-seated FOMO is surging, this guide is for you. So let’s get to the crux real quick.

What Is CNPS

The Net Promoter Score, which started in 2003, is a pretty effective tool for gauging the effectiveness of various customer satisfaction strategies deployed by a company. Recently, the NPS ventured into the area of Candidate Experience, and thus, the concept of CNPS was born.

CNPS measures how satisfied the candidates are with your overall recruitment process. Right from the application stage to the final interview, the score gives an idea of how the whole company-candidate interaction went.

Since we survey both the hired and non-hired candidates, and the number of non-hired candidates exceeds the number of hired ones, it’s going to be quite tricky to maintain a high CNPS at all times.

How To Calculate CNPS

You can easily calculate the Candidate Net Promoter Score with the help of a CNPS survey. But you find it challenging to get the right questions to include in the survey.

Let me give you a jumpstart. Here’s a sample CNPS survey created using SurveySparrow.

You too can create such simple, yet engaging surveys.

Pro Tip #1:

Since the concept of CNPS is derived from NPS, you can take inspiration from NPS Survey questions.

You can roll out these surveys at any stage during the whole recruitment process and calculate the CNPS metric from the answers received.

While there’s a ton of questions you can think of to ask the candidates, this one below, the CNPS power question, is a must:

“On a scale of 1 to 10, How likely are you to recommend our company to a friend?”

Based on the answers received from the above question, the candidate responses are segregated into three groups:

CNPS three categories of responses


The candidates who answered 9 or 10 are considered promoters. This means the candidate had a good experience with your company and the whole process. They are definitely going to spread the word and encourage their friends to try for the role.


The candidates who answered 7 or 8 falls under the category of Passives. This means they are satisfied with the overall process but not wholly enthusiastic about how it all went. When a competitor offers a much better job offer, these candidates are highly likely to try for that.

It’s comparatively easy to turn passives to promoters. Finding out where the candidates are “just satisfied” from the survey questions and working on those areas can help make the switch.


Candidates who have opted for any score between 0 to 6 are considered detractors, which signifies that they are highly dissatisfied with the whole process. These candidates could potentially be the carriers of negative word-of-mouth. Therefore, your best efforts should be to ensure that the number of detractors is way less than promoters or passives.

The final step to calculating CNPS involves subtracting the percentage of detractors from promoters. The answer you get is your company’s CNPS value.

Pro Tip #2:

Ask the CNPS power question at the start of the survey, and then base your following questions on the rating the candidate gave. This way, you will get an idea of what stood out in the whole process and what needs immediate attention.

What’s A Good CNPS

There’s nothing like a good candidate net promoter score or a bad one. It’s all relative in nature. It depends on two factors:

  • Percentage of promoters and detractor
  • CNPS of your competitors.

Scenario 1:

For example, the percentage of detractors of your company is 30, while that of promoters is 50. This means your CNPS is 20.

You can’t just say if 20 is a good net promoter score or not.

When you compare it with your competitors, and if they have a CNPS of 15, your company is definitely the best among the lot.

Scenario 2:

Your CNPS score would still be 20 when the detractors’ percentage is at 20, and that of promoters is 40.

In this case, the passives’ percentage is nearly 40. Of course, you would still be better when compared to your competitors, but your passives and promoters are equal, and this isn’t a good sign.

Why Should Companies Worry About CNPS

It’s essential to understand the current candidate market scenario, and companies should give some thoughts about candidate experience as well. It provides HR an idea of what to expect, how would the potential candidates respond to the recruitment process, and how they can attract valuable talents to the company.

Here are four reasons why your company should start measuring the CNPS asap:

#1 Helps To Understand Candidate Perception

Ever wondered what your hiring process looks like from a candidate’s point of view?

Well, that’s precisely what CNPS tells you. When you measure CNPS, you get to know how a candidate perceives your whole recruitment process right from the application stage to the final interview.

Since most candidates don’t get hired, there is a high chance that they might spread the word about how hard the interview was or how tedious the whole process was. This can cause a negative domino effect which would affect the future recruitment process.

With the CNPS data in hand, you can carefully organize each stage of the recruitment process so that the whole experience turns out to be a pleasant one for the candidates. Of course, it may be hard to impress all the candidates, but at least you will have a scope to better the process so that it continues to attract new talents.

#2 Helps To Set A Standard And Attract New Candidates

Many a time, candidates do a thorough research of the company before considering the position. If your company has a good CNPS score, you can flaunt it on your career page and make sure that you get a good response for your job notification.

Nowadays, candidates are not only worried about the money involved but also the working space and the vibe it sets. So having a good CNPS score is like a guarantee that the workplace and the working condition will be great.

#3 Helps to Create A Better Experience Right From The Start

Imagine having to go through a rigorous recruitment process, only to land up in an environment that doesn’t recognize your talents or hard work?

Frustrating, isn’t it?

When you have the CNPS score in hand, you know how your candidates viewed the whole recruitment process. Work on it and improve the entire experience so that all candidates would have a positive overview of your company right from day 1.

#4 Helps To Find Good Recruiters

If your company doesn’t have an in-house recruiting team, you would probably have to hire externally. But how would you find the right recruiter for this?

Perhaps, CNPS can help. Ask the recruiters for their current CNPS and then compare it with the other options they have. If the recruiters have a low CNPS, they are less likely to attract skilled talents, and your options would be limited.

Wrapping Up…

Voila, there you have it all!

From what’s Candidate Net Promoter Score to why it matters, this is the ultimate CNPS guide you will ever need. Create an engaging CNPS survey and start rolling it out at relevant situations to measure the satisfaction rate of your candidates.

Here’s the simple workflow of how CNPS does good for your company:

Good candidates make for better employees. Better employees draw in the most loyal customers. And more loyal customers mean a successful company!

Get started with one of our conversational survey forms, create a CNPS survey that effectively assesses your whole recruitment process, and build your foundation right!

Fasna Savad

Full-time introvert with a dash of spontaneity and at times, A writer!


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