Talent Role Spotlight: Candidate Experience at Medallia

September 23, 2015

Medallia is the fastest growing customer experience company in the world - over 50% in each of the last two years. Encouraging organizations to “hardwire the customer into every decision,” Medallia helps companies gather meaningful insights that drive ongoing improvement to the customer experience. Its mission is to help create a world where brands are loved by their customers. The secret sauce is this: Medallia couples powerful technology with actionable guidance, acting as partners to ensure that they are always making the customer experience better.

It may come as no surprise, then, that this approach is reflected in the candidate experience at Medallia. Through systematized feedback and data, the Talent Operations team at Medallia is always thinking about ways it can improve the candidate’s journey.

The company is growing so fast - from 300 to 650 employees in the past year - that without a thoughtful approach to the candidate experience, the team knew that it would suffer. When a few negative reviews surfaced online, Medallia heeded its own advice and acted on this insight. As a result, the Talent Operations team expanded its scope to include improving the candidate experience and better enabling hiring managers and interviewers. Matt Frost joined the Talent Operations team to help lead these efforts.

At Medallia, the Talent Operations team's goal is to shape how Medallia recruits and hires-- through reporting and analytics, process improvement, and a differentiated Candidate Experience.

Matt Frost

Matt Frost


“We think about how we can improve. This includes hiring manager training, helping them own the process, as well as interviewer training, making sure we ask the right questions and look for the right competencies. It also includes thinking about the way we approach the candidate experience."

Like a customer journey, the candidate journey has many touchpoints. Mapping the end-to-end candidate journey helps the team identify what touchpoints are most critical to candidates, and the way the company wants to make them feel at each of those stages. It also brings less obvious touchpoints to light - such as a candidate’s experience at the front desk.

To start, Medallia’s Talent Acquisition team focused on final-stage candidates. Now, after a candidate completes a final interview round, he or she fills out a survey. The feedback from candidates has become an important tool for coaching, Matt says. Even the most minor changes can alleviate a candidate pain.

The survey has also catalyzed larger initiatives. One common complaint was the lack of transparent feedback toward rejected candidates. However, as most HR professionals know, feedback can be limited by legal constraints. So Matt partnered with the legal department to design a series of trainings, where the entire recruiting team was coached on how to give candidate feedback that is specific, actionable, and helpful, without putting the company at risk.

Finally, the team was able to clearly see the amount of time final-round candidates spend in the interview process, sometimes from four to ten weeks. Knowing that they have spent valuable time with the company, they often send handwritten notes or gifts to candidates who have been rejected at this stage.

Key to delivering a great candidate experience is hiring manager engagement. Talent Managers share feedback with Hiring Managers and Interviewers as survey responses come in.

On a monthly basis, the Talent Acquisition team sends a recap to the whole company with a summary of hires, candidate Net Promoter Score, and a summary of themes/quotes from candidates about their experience interviewing with Medallia.

On a weekly basis, the Talent Acquisition team holds a 30-minute stand up. Each meeting starts by discussing the candidate experience: what new responses came in? Did we get any new reviews on Glassdoor? What did we learn? If a great experience, why? If a bad experience, what happened? What can we experiment with moving forward?

Survey responses indicate that candidates are having a positive experience - but in true Medallia form, the Talent Acquisition team is continually looking for additional ways to improve. “The real power is putting this feedback, real-time, into our recruiter’s hands,” Matt says. “They can quickly make changes based on the feedback.”

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