Finding a new job is challenging, as is finding the perfect employee. Your senior hiring team, along with any potential candidates, need to go through different stages of the hiring process. The most pressing issue is, defining how this tailored candidate journey should look to ensure that you are attracting and selecting the right people?
The immediate impression you provide to any new candidate will be representative of your employer brand and the culture your organisation present. It is imperative that you provide a great candidate experience and hire the right person for the job, which essentially comes down to the hiring journey —from attracting candidates to onboarding them into their new position.
So, what exactly is the candidate journey is, why is it important, and how can you utilise it to pave the way for future employees.
What is a candidate journey?
A candidate journey is comparable to a customer stepping into a shop to buy something.
Before they decide to buy, a customer will think about if a product is right for them, make an effort to learn about the brand, read reviews of the product and the brand, and ultimately decide whether they want to buy.
The journey to purchasing a product mirrors the journey a candidate takes when they’re looking for a new job. A candidate will look for a job that’s right for them, research the company, and make a decision based on the treatment and actions towards them during the hiring process.
The candidate journey can be described as the experiences a candidate will encounter during the job-hunting process. For a candidate, the journey starts well before they apply for the job, and it doesn’t finish until after the company has made the hiring decision, and they have gone through their initial onboarding.
The simple fact is a candidate’s experience while going through your company’s recruitment process matters. The impact of a poor journey can have a detrimental effect on an employer’s reputation, “of candidates who have had a poor experience, 72% have shared that negative experience online or with someone directly.” – CareerArc
Touchpoints on a candidate’s journey
A candidate’s journey can be mapped out through touchpoints, which makes it easier for both job seekers and recruiters to envision how the process will work.
There are a number of online & offline company touchpoints a candidate will experience during their hiring journey, which includes:
- Viewing your job ads
- Visiting your career site
- Visiting your company social media pages
- Interactions they may have had as a customer
- Talking to a company representative at an event
- Proceeding with a job application
- Pre/Post-application emails
- Receiving feedback on their application, etc.
Every touchpoint on your candidate’s journey plays a crucial role in their decision on whether to proceed with their application. That is why your recruitment process must make sure every touchpoint gives candidates a positive experience.
The difference between active and passive candidates
Everyone you encounter could potentially be a future candidate for your company. However, these candidates can be divided into two categories—active and passive.
The majority of Executive level candidates are passive as they are not actively looking for a job, whilst active candidates are searching for a new employment opportunity.
The problem companies often face is, if they are only focused on attracting active candidates, they are missing out on a huge opportunity to attract the best people for the job.
Whilst passive candidates might not be actively applying for jobs, 91% of people in employment look at job opportunities at least a couple of times a year. Therefore, if recruiters don’t have a plan to capture passive recruits, they will likely miss out and it will work against them when they are looking to fill a position on their team.
The good news is, by building a more polished candidate journey for your company, you will not only capitalize on each touchpoint but also capture active and passive candidates.
Tips to ensure a smooth candidate journey:
Place the candidate in the centre of the process
The journey needs to be consistently candidate-centric at every stage, otherwise, you are at risk of alienating job seekers. To create a candidate-centric recruitment model, the focus needs to consistently be on the candidate’s needs and overall experience.
However, the goal of candidate-centric recruiting is not only to provide a great experience and make it easier to pick the right person for the job, but to build long-term relationships with them, so they continue to interact with your company, even if they aren’t hired.
Talent Management expert Dr. John Sullivan claims that creating a candidate-centric approach means altering the overall design of the recruiting processes, including the application process, interview scheduling, and the information provided to candidates, to put the applicant’s needs first.
Your application process should be short, engaging, should help manage your candidates’ expectations by offering them an authentic representation of the job, and should provide timely feedback to all parties involved.
Consider the pre-application stage
More often than not, the candidate journey begins long before they even apply for a role.
In reality, 3 in 4 job seekers take into account an employer’s brand before applying for a job. Unsurprisingly, recent studies have suggested that 69% of people would not consider taking a job with a company with a bad reputation, even if they were currently unemployed.
It is crucial to reflect on what candidates see in your company before they choose to look at whether or not they would want to work with you. An applicant’s journey begins as soon as they encounter one of your touchpoints, whether that’s viewing your company website, reading your reviews on Glassdoor, receiving an email, or browsing your social media channels.
To deliver an effortless candidate journey, you need to understand how people are interacting with your company and how you can rely on it to attract high-quality talent.
Each of your company’s touchpoints that a possible candidate interacts with may potentially turn them into active job seekers. Therefore, making a positive impression is the first step in attracting the right candidates.
That’s why building and managing strong employer branding is essential to ensuring a smooth candidate journey.
Identify Your Candidate’s Needs & Priorities
Hiring is much more than simply filling a position in your company. It involves deciphering what precisely your candidates are looking for in their ideal job role.
It is essential to be transparent and to consider what do your candidates need to know to help them engage with your company?
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs provides an insight into what some of your candidate’s needs and motivations may include, thus enabling you to communicate how your job position could fit into your candidate’s life and career goals, and further how it can fulfil their needs.
Recent studies have discovered that above all else, employees are looking for flexibility, work-life balance, a sense of purpose and opportunities in their job roles. By identifying and answering the needs early in the process, it creates a pathway for a smoother candidate journey.
Simplify your application process
How easy are you making it for candidates to apply for your job roles? The best way to understand this is to go through your own application process.
If you need to answer too many questions, make it difficult to apply on mobile, or can only upload necessary documents, such as a CV, in a specific format, your application process may ultimately be deterring candidates.
There are a number of actions which could be introduced to make the process more user friendly, such as minimizing the time it takes for candidates to apply for a job, cutting out unnecessary fields on your forms, and by offering control as possible to your candidate in steering their application process, such as introducing self-schedule interviews for candidates.
Visualise your ideal candidate journey
It is imperative that you have a visual of how your ideal candidate will engage with your company from the beginning of their journey.
Plot out what you consider to be the key stages that they will go through in their candidate journey, from brand awareness to onboarding, and create a chart.
Charting your candidate’s journey will enable you to see what touchpoints a candidate might be hitting on each stage of their journey, not to mention, it will support you in determining which factors most impact candidate behaviour, experience, and attitude.
By charting what the ideal candidate journey looks like, it makes it easier to build a plan to make it a reality.
Showcase what it’s like to work at your company
One of the key elements of any candidate’s journey is whether or not they can envision themselves working at a particular company.
A role may appear perfect on paper, but unless a candidate can get a realistic idea of what their day-to-day life will be like at the company, it’s hard for them to picture themselves in the role. The most effective way of achieving this is through realistic job previews or virtual job try-outs.
Besides giving candidates a clear picture of what the role entails, your company will be able to communicate what your core values are, what your team is like, and what your culture represents.
The simplest way of achieving this is by creating purpose-built career pages to channel the message to future candidates. There are some fantastic examples of career pages that clearly and effectively communicate core values, responsibilities, culture, and expectations from Global entertainment organisation Netflix to Northern Ireland founded software company Kainos.
These company careers pages provide an extensive amount of information on the company’s inclusion & diversity stance, work/life balance, and philosophies, through a range of Employee Generated Content, blogs, podcasts and videos.
Another example is McDonald’s, who partnered with Harver to create an engaging, fully digital candidate experience.
The application process incorporates a series of pre-employment assessments that help recruiters find the candidates with the right skills while showcasing the company culture and work environment.
Be Transparent and Always Deliver
Nothing is more deflating to a candidate during the job process than a lack of clarity and poor communication. Once a candidate has to begin chasing information, updates, feedback or experiences unprofessional processes, their overall perception of the company will be somewhat tarnished.
Each job listing should be considered as a marketing campaign rather than just a job ad, where your company is being represented. With 72% of job seekers airing their feelings about a company online on platforms such as Glassdoor, the consequences of providing a poor candidate experience can impact on your future applicants.
Automation can be a huge benefit to many companies when it comes to streamlining the application process, whereby actions will be automated based on candidate status or level of engagement, such as following up with candidates on your shortlist or after an interview
Don’t forget about Pre-boarding
It is essential to remember that a candidate’s journey does not end once they have accepted your job offer. This is the perfect stage of the candidate journey to get them excited about working for your organisation and start building their commitment to you.
This process is pre-boarding.
Start by building a relationship with your new hire, letting them know how excited you are that they are going to be joining your company. Building the foundations of these relationships can prevent you from losing an employee in just a couple of months after spending so much time, effort, and resources on the recruitment process.
LinkedIn’s Onboarding in a Box states that pre-boarding increases new hires’ excitement and fosters a relationship with them even before orientation. The guide recommends putting together a new hire checklist for your recruiter to complete, along with a welcome email with clear instructions to help candidates feel welcome and included.
The hiring process has changed significantly over the past 18 months. Providing a simple interview and job offer is no longer adequate for either candidate or employer. Hiring managers need to be thinking more about what their employees’ needs are, their impression of the company and channelling a message that goes beyond the salary.
Today’s employees are looking for the complete package. Outlining and planning the hiring process allows companies to see what a candidate is thinking and feeling at each stage of their journey, and how they can improve it every step of the way.
It is not just simply you interviewing your candidates. They are also interviewing you. Your obligation is to make sure you are providing a transparent and authentic representation of their expectations in each step of the candidate’s journey.
If you are looking for the perfect candidate to join your team, get in touch with Corvus for a no-obligation discussion to see how we can help.